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Parish Church of St Mor

A Grade II Listed Building in Llandderfel, Gwynedd

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Latitude: 52.9172 / 52°55'2"N

Longitude: -3.5804 / 3°34'49"W

OS Eastings: 293831

OS Northings: 336703

OS Grid: SH938367

Mapcode National: GBR 6F.N6RD

Mapcode Global: WH66Z.ZX6Z

Entry Name: Parish Church of St Mor

Listing Date: 31 January 2001

Last Amended: 31 January 2001

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 24578

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Centrally-placed within the small village group, set in its own raised and partly revetted churchyard.

County: Gwynedd

Town: Bala

Community: Llandderfel

Community: Llandderfel

Locality: Llanfor

Traditional County: Merionethshire

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Parish church on an ancient Celtic Llan site, the raised circular plot of which forms the present churchyard; the original church is said to have been founded by the 5th century saint Mor ap Ceuneu. The present church was built in 1874 to replace the medieval church which was described in 1874 as being 'of considerable antiquity but in a poor and dilapidated condition'. The new church incorporated tomb monuments and the lower section of a late medieval Rood Screen, as well as various inscribed stones relating to the former Rhiwlas Chapel of 1599.


Mid-Victorian parish church in loose Early English style, though including Transitional and Decorated elements. Of rough-dressed, uncoursed granite blocks on a chamfered plinth with sandstone dressings; steeply-pitched slate roof with coped gables, stone ridges and eastern gable cross. The church consists of a continuous nave and chancel with a tall W tower and a lean-to vestry projection to the N, flush with the E end. The division between the 3-bay nave and the 2-bay chancel is expressed by narrow stepped buttresses to the N and S sides which break the eaves-line and terminate in sandstone gablets. The E and W ends also have flush stepped buttresses. The nave has 3 plate tracery windows, each having paired lancets with a small quatrefoil oculus above, the whole recessed within an overall pointed arch; returned and moulded labels.

The chancel has paired lancets with roll-moulded jambs and cusped heads, with moulded labels returned as stringcourses onto the sides and E end; simple foliate bosses at the springing above each pair of windows. Large 3-light pointed arched E window in Geometric Decorated style, with cusped lights and conjoined oculi in the tracery heads. The E end has a stringcourse which drops down below the window to form a sill-course to terminate at the R in a foliated stop.

The square W tower is of 3 storeys on a battered and chamfered plinth, and has a tall saddleback roof parapetted as before; iron gable cross to the W. The entrance is to the S face. Here there is a round-arched entrance with roll-moulded jambs and label, the latter with foliated stops. Deeply-recessed wire and wood bird doors. Slit light to the W face, first stage. The bell stage (third) has a sloping stringcourse returned onto each side and tall, paired lancets to each face, with roll-moulded jambs and shared, stopped and moulded labels; cusped and roll-moulded oculi to the E and W faces. The vestry has coped side walls and a triple cusped lancet group to the N. Its entrance is to the E: round-arched, chamfered opening with returned label; deeply-recessed boarded door with simple ironwork. The entrance is approached by 3 steps with low chamfered parapets.


Single chamber plan, with aisleless nave and vestry adjoining the chancel to the N. W entrance, via the tower. The nave has a barrel-vaulted, boarded roof, with pierced ribs of conjoined oculi dividing it into 12 compartments (6 to each side). Central pavement of small bricks and slate margins; plain flanking pine pews. At the W end is a simple cylindrical font of sandstone with a tooled, circular limestone plinth; moulded base and quatrefoil decoration to the bowl. The pulpit is similar, square with broad, hollow-chamfered sides, on a plinth as before; moulded rail and quatrefoil oculi to front. The medieval Rood Screen is incorporated in fragment in a C19 Perpendicular screen. The lower section, consisting of an 8-bay arcaded dado, is primary; round arches with ocular tracery headstand foliated spandrels. The C19 upper section has 4 open ogee arches to either side of a broader central entrance in the usual manner; cusped decoration and ocular tracery above ogees, moulded Rood beam with foliated bosses.

Large pointed chancel arch with roll-moulded inner arch springing from corbels. The chancel is stepped-up from the nave and has a simple polychromed tiled pavement of red, black, green and yellow tiles. Simple pine reading desks and choir stalls. The sanctuary and altar are similarly stepped-up with similar, though more elaborate pavements. Oak altar rails carried on pilasters with sunk panel decoration and moulded bosses and capitals; curved brackets. The Altar table incorporates part of an early C17 predecessor, and has been doubled in length; gadrooned frieze and turned legs. Sandstone retable of 3 sections with a slightly-projecting central section having a rectangular niche with relief-carved cross; roll-moulded decoration and flanking blind oculi on 2 tiers, with moulded stringcourses; moulded cornice with brattishing to central section.

The vestry leads off to the N from the chancel via a broad segmental arch; this has an arcaded panelled screen to its lower half and a door to the L.

Stained and Painted Glass: the chancel S wall windows has good quality C13-style glass with Apostle figures, 3 to a light; in memory of Jane, wife of the Rev. Morgan, rector, d.1873, installed c1874. The windows have shouldered inner arches with roll-moulded decoration. The E window shows scenes from the life of Christ; to the memory of the Jones family of Llaithgwm. The nave N window (E) has one light showing the Good Shepherd; in memory S R C Price, d.1923, by A Seward and Co., of Lancaster.

Monuments: early C19 hatchment of the Price family of Rhiwlas on W wall. In the chancel floor is the inset marble tombstone of R J Price, d.1842 (to whom the hatchment may relate).

Within the W tower are several funerary memorials to the Price family of Rhiwlas, removed from the earlier church and relocated here. On the N wall is a painted slatestone wall memorial with white marble inscription tablets; this takes the form of a shallow obelisk on plinth and commemorates William Price of Rhiwlas, Esq., d. 1774 and the Hon. Elizabeth, d.1778; polychromed heraldry in white marble above, with motto scroll plus winged cherub (fragments of finial lie adjacent). To the R of this is a large Baroque wall monument of white and grey figured marble: erected in 1718 to the Prices of Rhiwlas. The monument consists of 2 large inscription tablets with central and flanking Composite pilasters, having relief-carved and polychromed coronets and trumpets in the frieze; moulded cornice above.

Two further memorial tablets are visible, both with simple architectural frames, one with segmental moulded pediment and cherub heads to the apron. Re-used in the wall are inscribed stones, one Romano-British, and two reused from the former Price chapel. These have (in raised letters): KP A RH QC FECIT K 1599 P.

Reasons for Listing

Listed for its special interest as a well-composed Victorian parish church retaining some good C18 monuments from its medieval predecessor.

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