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Latitude: 51.9059 / 51°54'21"N
Longitude: -3.7793 / 3°46'45"W
OS Eastings: 277694
OS Northings: 224533
OS Grid: SN776245
Mapcode National: GBR Y5.Q175
Mapcode Global: VH5FH.FCX9
Entry Name: Church of St Simon and St Jude
Listing Date: 8 July 1966
Last Amended: 10 November 1998
Source ID: 10914
Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Location: Situated on ridge above upper Sawdde valley some 2.5 km E of Twynllanan on road to Llyn y Fan Fach.
Traditional County: Carmarthenshire
Anglican parish church, probably of C14 origins, though no datable detail pre C15. Double nave plan with S aisle apparently added in C15 to an existing nave, and then a tower added at W end of the S aisle. The tower is unusually broad, not vaulted within, such that there must be some doubt as to whether it was ever full height; it is now gable-roofed only a little higher than the church roofs. The panelled C15 roofs are particularly fine, and rare in the county. The church was repaired in 1850 and restored 1883-5 by a London architect for Howel Gwyn of Neath, who owned the Blaensawdde estate. John Norton was Gwyn's favoured architect in Neath from the 1860s to the late 1880s and may have been employed here. There were repairs in 1913. The rounded churchyard suggests a Celtic site and it seems that the 2 saints of the parish name were Potolius and Notolius, sons of a local saint, rather than Simon and Jude.
Church, rubble stone, chiefly red sandstone, with slate roofs and coped gables.
Double-nave plan with added square SW block, said to be a truncated broad tower. N aisle (nave) apparently earlier, see straight joint and battered plinth, but all the detail C15 of the same type as on S aisle. Tower added last, see straight joint to S aisle. Tower has heavy cornerstones, segmental-pointed W door with hood, all C19, and signs that gable stonework is mostly renewed, C19 apex lancet with hoodmould and single bell. Gable has cross finial W while E gable has small chimney. Side walls have C19 lancet. S aisle has 2 original C15 2-light red sandstone flat-headed windows with depressed-arched heads and hoodmoulds, one C19 copy. C15 pointed doorway with hollow chamfer and broach stops. E end has small square chimney on gable (as on E gable of tower). E window is similar C15 2-light. N aisle (nave) has C15 3-light similar window, but longer, and E gable cross finial. N wall has 2 similar C15 2-light windows, blocked pointed C15 door and one C19 similar 2-light window. All original openings are hollow-chamfered. W wall has battered base and 3-light C15 W window, similar to E window.
Tower has C19 ceiling and C19 red sandstone arch into S aisle. Both aisles have fine C15 wagon roofs of plastered panels and moulded timber ribs (a thick bead mould run out at intersections). Each roof is of 6 by 12 panels. Moulded wallplates. Over arcade are curious baulks of timber projecting slightly, like corbels, through lowest plaster panels each side, some 37 in all. Four-bay arcade in red sandstone, the arches chamfered and continued down into chamfered piers. Cement rendered walls. Fittings: Medieval plain octagonal font in conglomerate stone, with later C19 limestone ashlar base. Later C19 pews with simple detail, slightly elaborated in stalls. Five-sided pine pulpit with open traceried top panels. Sanctuary rails on twisted brass standards. E window stained glass of 1885 to the Edwards of Blaensawdde, the Ascension. Marble plaque on E wall of 1885 detailing Edwards and Gwyn ancestry of Howel Gwyn. N wall oval plaque to John Lewes of Penycrug d1813, plaque to Lewis family of Panthowel 1745-1834 by Thomas & Son of Brecon. N wall stained glass 2-light Good Shepherd & Light of the World, by Robert Newbery, to J. Lewis of Nantgwynne d1896. At E end of S aisle and in last bay of arcade are later C19 vestry screens, panelled with incised floral roundels in top horizontal panels. Vestry has fireplace on right side of E wall and various reset memorials: Sarah Jeffreys of Llwynfron d1790; Catherine Hopkins of Blaensawdde d1786, eroded memorial to ? Edwards d 1720.
Graded II* as a largely late medieval church, notable for its fine panelled roofs and arcade.
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