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Church of St Mary

A Grade II* Listed Building in Brecon, Powys

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.947 / 51°56'49"N

Longitude: -3.3905 / 3°23'25"W

OS Eastings: 304525

OS Northings: 228525

OS Grid: SO045285

Mapcode National: GBR YP.MFMB

Mapcode Global: VH6BZ.5BY8

Entry Name: Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 16 January 1952

Last Amended: 4 November 2005

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 7015

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Prominently sited at centre of old town.

County: Powys

Town: Brecon

Community: Brecon (Aberhonddu)

Community: Brecon

Built-Up Area: Brecon

Traditional County: Brecknockshire

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Brecon

History

The building was a chapel of ease to the Benedictine Priory, and became the parish church only in 1923 when the Priory was elevated to cathedral status. A scalloped capital in the nave indicates C12 origins. Extensions and enlargements continued until the C14. The S porch is of late C15 date. In the early C16, Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham paid for the tower (cost £2000). The "Buildings of Wales" calls the tower "the finest in Powys", and remarks on its stylistic links to the Perpendicular towers of Somerset. There were repairs to the church in 1805, and 1831. In 1856/57, TH Wyatt carried out a restoration. In 1889 a new entrance was made from the High Street. From 1928, WD Caroe provided fixtures and fittings.

Exterior

Church with W tower, nave and chancel without division; side aisles with separate gabled roofs. The church is generally grey rubble stone with tiled roofs; the tower is in coursed red sandstone. Chancel window of five cinquefoil lights with transom and 4 lights above transom; each side wall has window of two cinquefoil headed lights. East end of S aisle with window of three trefoil headed lights; doorway to R. South wall of S aisle, from east to west, has restored window of two trefoil headed lights; restored window of three lancet-headed lights; two restored windows of two lancet-headed lights; a small gabled porch with stone arch and wood door with cover strips, studs and large hinges, with a square-headed window of two trefoil-headed lights above; a tall window of two trefoil headed lights and a similar window at west end of S aisle. West end of N aisle with two trefoil-headed lights. From west to east, N elevation of N aisle with gabled porch of 1889, and four windows of two trefoil-headed lights, some of them C19. East end of S aisle with a Decorated window of three lights. The battlemented W tower, of red sandstone, is of 3 stages with octagonal NW stair turret and diagonal buttresses; 3-light Perpendicular windows to upper 2 stages.

Interior

South porch has its C15 roof with arch-braces and quatrefoil ceiling. The church has mid C19 open-truss wagon roofs. Exposed stone walls. Nave and chancel in one, and aisles with arches of varied sizes and periods. One circular pier in N arcade has large scalloped C12 capital. Piscina in S aisle. Early C15 octagonal stoup with clustered shafts. Late C14 altar on W pilaster of S arcade. Near entrance from High Street, a coffin lid with foliate cross.

Reasons for Listing

Graded II* as medieval church at heart of historic centre of Brecon with particularly fine early C16 tower.

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