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Church of St. Mary Magdalene

A Grade I Listed Building in Llangunllo, Powys

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.3078 / 52°18'28"N

Longitude: -3.1652 / 3°9'54"W

OS Eastings: 320654

OS Northings: 268384

OS Grid: SO206683

Mapcode National: GBR 9Z.WPDX

Mapcode Global: VH69C.3815

Entry Name: Church of St. Mary Magdalene

Listing Date: 24 October 1951

Last Amended: 30 June 1992

Grade: I

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 9122

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Central position in small hamlet of Bleddfa. Nearly circular churchyard set back from triangular green on north side of A488. Ancient site, traditionally founded by the Irish saint Brendan in C6.

County: Powys

Community: Llangunllo (Llangynllo)

Community: Llangunllo

Locality: Bleddfa

Traditional County: Radnorshire

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Bleddfa

History

Early C13, extended to east in late C13, re-roofing in C15, bellcote of about 1711. Restoration by Ernest Collier of Carmarthen in 1907, further repairs by Capps and Capps in 1987.

Plan simple low nave with slightly higher and broader eastern extension, gabled south porch, square bellcote with pyramidal roof. Buttressing to eastern side walls by Collier. Substantial remains of rubble tower of probably C14, reputedly destroyed by Owain Glyndwr's troops before the Battle of Pilleth in 1402. Excavations by L Butler in 1960/63 revealed mural steps leading down to narrow doorway with crude cyclopean head. The east wall of the tower has been incorporated into the present west wall of the church.

Exterior

Coursed rubble shales with sandstone dressings, stone tiles to west end, slate to east, weatherboarded and stone-tiled bellcote, rubble and stone-tiled porch. The walls show evidence of many phases of rebuilding and patching. Four C13 lancets, the opposing two at the east end of nave and one in the north wall of chancel of later date than the slightly flattened one in SW wall of nave. All other windows by Collier, viz single lancets and opposing decorated windows in nave and triple lancet in east end.

Fine enclosed churchyard with nine chest tombs.

Interior

Typical plain Radnorshire interior but with fine open roof of predominantly C15 date. The west end of the nave is divided by a thin lath and plaster partition, it was once used as a schoolroom; the nave and chancel are undivided.

Earlier roof trusses to western portion of nave. Three arched brace trusses with chamfered tie beams and purlins and in one bay two quadruple cusped windbraces. Further to the west is plain tie beams truss with raking struts. There is clearly some re-use of older timber at this end. Later C15 roof over extended portion of nave and chancel of eight bays formed by alternate queen post and arch-braced trusses, the latter all chamfered. Three sets of trenched purlins and two tiers of chamfered quatrefoil windbraces. All the members were clearly at one time painted, fragments of red and white paint survive. The former rood beam tying one of the queen post trusses rests on modern corbels and has painted floral decoration. The paint is interrupted below the queen post and there are slots cut out of the tie beam indicating the position of various fixings for the rood and/or canopy. Major repairs to the roof timbers were carried out in 1987 and arcade work was introduced as a strengthening device between the tie beams and collars of two trusses at the west end.

Plain pointed arch entrance from porch, early heavily studded boarded door with very long wrought hinges. Former entrance to tower through triangular headed stone arch. C17 communion rails with scribed detailing and serpentine balusters. Piscina in north wall of chancel. Re-used Jacobean decorative panelling in pulpit. Octagonal font of possibly C13 date on new cement base and long plank-built muniments chest. Two bells cast in 1711.

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