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Latitude: 52.0875 / 52°5'15"N
Longitude: -4.1996 / 4°11'58"W
OS Eastings: 249389
OS Northings: 245526
OS Grid: SN493455
Mapcode National: GBR DL.BQXV
Mapcode Global: VH3KD.5S5K
Entry Name: St Gwenog Church
Listing Date: 3 June 1964
Last Amended: 25 April 1997
Source ID: 9817
Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Location: Situated on E side of minor lane connecting B4338 and A475 some 750m WSW of Drefach.
Traditional County: Cardiganshire
Medieval church, the only one dedicated to St Gwenog. Late C14 and late C15, the tower added after 1485 for Sir Rhys ap Thomas (d 1525) of Dinefwr and Carew, whose arms it bears. Repairs 1985 and 1993 by R. Clive-Powell. The interior has a C15 barrel roof exceptional in the county and much carved woodwork of high quality made between 1889 and 1924 by Colonel Herbert Davies-Evans of Highmead to designs by him and by his wife Mary. Col Davies-Evans was assisted by the vicar, the Rev John Morris, the curate the Rev. Henry Jones, and most notably, between 1914 and 1919, by an accomplished Belgian carver, Joseph Reubens of Bruges.
Rubble stone with slate roofs, and (1993) coped gables. W tower, nave, chancel, SE chapel and NE organ chamber. Tower is of larger squared stones than rest of church. High battered plinth with rounded string-course, slight batter to main wall, moulded course under battlements. NE stair tower, raised higher with corbelled battlements. Gargoyle faces at corners of tower and stair tower. Plain C15 flat-headed 2-light bell-openings with hoods, blocked to W. Small plain lancets mid-height on W and S. Moulded W door with carved head keystone and hood with head stops. Segmental pointed arch within to c1900 double panelled doors. Above plinth is a shield with carved portcullis. Above is small late C15 3-light W window, flat-headed with hood and carved stops, one with Tudor rose. Plaque with arms of Sir Rhys ap Thomas within Garter, deep hood or frame with carved rose and face. Nave straight joints suggest that it predates tower. S side traces of roughcast and fine later C14 2-light window with cusped ogee heads and ogee quatrefoil. N side has two late C19 copies of this window, made by Col Davies-Evans with the vicar and curate. SE chapel is separately roofed, blank W wall with 1913 plaque recording removal of Crucifixion carving now inside. S side has battered plinth, pointed doorway and 2-light window with pointed lights and C15 flat head. E end has massive SE corner stone and C15 single light, off centre. Chancel has SE stone rainwater spout, 1993. Late C15 3-light pointed E window, late Gothic tracery, and hood. N organ-chamber has mid C19 stone Y-tracery to the N window.
Tower: Rough stone pointed vault, flattened arch to stair door N. Medieval stoup S, reset 1922. Oak inner doorcase, c1900, with big ribbed coved top and paired octagonal side shafts.
Tower arch is cemented, 4 medieval small carved heads reset in sides. Five broad slate steps down into nave. Nave and chancel: Exceptional single late C15 oak plaster-panelled barrel roof in 72 squares, with deep moulded cornice. Plastered walls. Two late C17 or C18 black-letter panels on N wall, the Commandments and part of Creed in Welsh. A crest of Lloyd of Coedlannau said to have been found at the same time seems to have gone. Two broad pointed arches from nave and chancel to SE chapel. N organ chamber with roof panelled to match C15 roof. SE Chapel also has matching roof, probably late C19.
Fittings: Exceptional C12 or C13 font with 12 crudely carved faces right around broad bowl. Reredos, panelling, altar and rails, 1959 sub-classical, probably by A.D.R. Caroe. In the reredos, stone small Crucifixion oval panel, possibly C14, similar to roundel at Llanwnen. Very large and fine 5-bay screen with complex tracery and vaulting, deep coved cornice and sunburst cresting, carved by Reubens and Col. Davies-Evans, dated 1915. Pulpit carved by Col. Davies Evans, hexagonal with open pointed traceried panels and quatrefoil short legs. Lectern, Welsh dragon squatting on a large coronet, dated 1922. Handsome pews made by the estate carpenter, William Evans, Bryngwenog, with open backs and some 34 elaborately carved bench-ends, designed by Mary Davies-Evans and carved 1914-19 by Reubens.
Monuments: Nave N: Col Herbert Davies-Evans (1842-1928). Nave S: Herbert Evans of Highmead (d1787), and Anne Evans (d1807), marble plaque with sarcophagus 1807 by Foster & Co of Bristol. Lady Anne Griffies Williams, c1800, with finely carved Adamesque urn. Chancel S: Thomas Bowen of Waunifor, (d1805) and his wife (d1829), black and white marble framed plaque, by Foster & Co of Bristol.
Stained glass: W 3-light made by Col Davies-Evans at Highmead c1900. SE chapel S 2-light late C19 Baptism.
Listed as the most complete medieval church in Cardiganshire, with fine late C15 roof and tower.
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