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Church of St David

A Grade II* Listed Building in Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys

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Latitude: 52.1167 / 52°7'0"N

Longitude: -3.6611 / 3°39'39"W

OS Eastings: 286360

OS Northings: 247793

OS Grid: SN863477

Mapcode National: GBR YB.8SL5

Mapcode Global: VH5DL.H2D4

Entry Name: Church of St David

Listing Date: 19 January 2001

Last Amended: 19 January 2001

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 24525

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Located in an exceptional setting in the Irfon valley just above the confluence with the Nant Lletgwial. Set in a large circular churchyard with many monuments.

County: Powys

Town: Builth Wells

Community: Llanwrtyd Wells (Llanwrtyd)

Community: Llanwrtyd Wells

Locality: Llanwrtyd

Traditional County: Brecknockshire

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Llanwrtyd Wells


C14-15 church, probably on an ancient site. Work was undertaken in the C16 including the insertion of Tudor windows and possibly the rebuilding of the chancel. The hymn writer, William Williams of Pantycelyn (1717-91), was curate here from 1740-2 before leaving as a result of his non-conformist beliefs. He was under Rev Theophilus Evans (1693-1767) who discovered the healing properties of the waters at Llanwrtyd Wells. A notice inside the church records that the Incorporated Church Building Society made grants in 1861 and 1935 for the enlargement and repair of the church. The former restoration was undertaken by C Buckeridge. St David's was the parish church until a new church, St James, was built in Llanwrtyd Wells in 1896.


Nave, non-aligned chancel, W bellcote and S porch with Tudor-style windows. Constructed of rubble stone under slate roofs with slightly battered walls, quoins and cross finials to gables. Gabled porch to centre of nave with chamfered horse-shoe arch with filleted stops. Inside the porch is a flagstone floor, side benches, and a pointed arched doorway into the nave with hoodmould, containing a planked door with iron strapwork. The roof has closely-spaced collared rafters, probably C20. To the L of the porch is a C19 3-light window with flat head and hoodmould, each light with a trefoiled ogee head. Immediately L is evidence for an earlier reveal. To the far L are 2 straight joints, possibly of a former doorway. C16 Tudor window to R of porch containing 2 lights with hollow mouldings under a flat head and hoodmould. The wall is advanced slightly to the R to house a mural staircase, and has a tiny stairlight. The chancel is lower and narrower with raised kneelers and has no openings to the S or N sides. Three-light E window with pointed head and hoodmould. Trefoiled light to centre with rose above, flanked by cinquefoiled lights. The N side of the nave has 3 windows. C16 window to L, in same style as front but with 3 lights. The windows to the centre and R are C19 with 2- and 3-lights, respectively. Small gabled bellcote to W end, with arched opening for bell. At ground level is a blocked doorway with 4-centred arched head of stone voussoirs and chamfered jambs.

Fixed to the walls are a number of grave slabs. These include, to the S side of the nave and to the far L, a memorial to Margaret Jones of Abercyros, Llangammarch (d. 1783). It has a border of incised scrolls with angels to the corners, those at the top playing trumpets. It is signed David Davies, sculptist, of Llangammarch. Attached to the staircase bay is a round-headed tablet with urns, to Mary Davies of Llanafanfawr (d. 1787), by Evan Thomas, sculptor.


Simple interior. The nave has a 7-bay arch-braced roof, probably C19. Square recess to W wall aligned with former doorway, and low platform at this end of the nave. On the ground in front of the platform is a timber lintel inscribed 'TM 1698 WI 1848', which was brought from the porch in 1935. Plain round-headed chancel arch offset to the R, with narrow chamfer. To the L of the porch is a square-headed doorway to the mural staircase which led up to a rood loft. The surround is of large rough stones with monolithic lintel. Central aisle and pews, which have square bench ends with recessed trefoiled lancets. The floor is mainly of quarry tiles. Recut medieval font, octagonal and tapering towards the base, on an octagonal stem with broach stops which appears to be later, all on a 3-tier plinth. To the R of the entrance is an early medieval pillar stone with Celtic cross, which was brought to the church from a farmhouse in 1903. Octagonal wood panelled pulpit to NE with blind trefoiled arches and quatrefoils on a stone base. In front of it is a free-standing cast iron stove. A white marble tablet behind the pulpit is of particular interest. It is to John Lloyd, son of Rees Lloyd of Dinas, who was captain of the East India Company ship, 'Manship'. In 32 years of naval service he made 12 voyages to India, surviving 2 shipwrecks and imprisonment by Tippoo, Sultan of Mysore. He returned afterwards to promote the welfare of his native people, and died in 1818 aged 70. The chancel has a wooden altar rail with saw-tooth moulding and cusped brackets. The 2-bay roof is as nave. To the R of the E window is a stone tablet to Lieutenant John Joseph (d. 1826), which is decorated with Tudor flowers.

Reasons for Listing

Listed grade II* as a substantially medieval church in an exceptionally fine setting, and for its historic interest.

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Dinas
    Located on the S side of a narrow lane approx 0.3km W of the church of St David. In a raised position overlooking the valley to the S and backing on to the road.
  • II Former Pumphouse at Victoria Wells
    Located approx. 100m west of the end of Victoria Road at Victoria Wells. Victoria Road leaves Llanwrtyd Wells from the south-west and runs along the southern edge of the River Irfon.
  • II Dol y Coed Well-House
    Set in the grounds W of the Dol y Coed Hotel and approached by footpaths. Immediately N of the former Pump House.
  • II Former Dol y Coed Pump Room
    Set in the grounds W of the Dol y Coed Hotel and approached by footpaths. Immediately S of the Well-House.
  • II Alltwineu
    Located at the N end of a long narrow lane which runs parallel and E of the River Irfon. Approx 1.3 km NW of the church of St David.
  • II Dol y Coed
    Situated 0.5km NW of Llanwrtyd Wells between the River Irfon and the mountain road to Abergwesyn. Faces S; path to W leads to former spa buildings.
  • II Capel Bethel including attached vestries to rear and forecourt wall and railings
    In a prominent location near the centre of the town adjacent to the bridge over the River Irfon. The entrance faces the road (E) and the S side faces Victoria Square. To the W is an adjoining house,
  • II Pont Rhyd y Fferau
    The bridge carries the A483 over the River Irfon in the centre of Llanwrtyd Wells.

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