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Church of St Mabon

A Grade II Listed Building in Nelson, Caerphilly

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Latitude: 51.6363 / 51°38'10"N

Longitude: -3.2898 / 3°17'23"W

OS Eastings: 310837

OS Northings: 193843

OS Grid: ST108938

Mapcode National: GBR HS.8378

Mapcode Global: VH6DK.X4PF

Entry Name: Church of St Mabon

Listing Date: 23 February 2001

Last Amended: 23 February 2001

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 24825

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: On high ground below Mynydd Eglwysilan, at the junction of the two roads leading S from Nelson.

County: Caerphilly

Community: Nelson

Community: Nelson

Locality: Llanfabon

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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A medieval site, a church is shown here on Llanfabon Tithe Map 1842, but the rebuilding in 1847 by John Prichard appears to have been virtually complete. It was his first independent commission, having taken on responsibility for the restoration of Llandaff Cathedral Lady Chapel in 1845. The churchyard has been extended to N and then again as a cemetery on other side of lane.


Small church in Romanesque style. Built of partly snecked narrow-coursed rubble with ashlar dressings, some tooled, and Welsh slate roof with ashlar copings. Plan of single celled nave, relatively large S porch, small N vestry and small chancel. W front is surmounted by a bellcote with single bell within a Romanesque-style arch under a gable with cruciform finial. Tall round-arched W entrance doorway has 2 orders of Romanesque-style motifs, zigzag and pellet, bordered by voussoirs, wide imposts, piers with cushion capitals, plain surround to doorway; above is a small round-arched window with similar mouldings. Wide and flat corner buttresses with coping; tooled quoins, battered plinth. S side of nave has a 4-window range of small round-headed windows with simple Romanesque-style mouldings to the heads. Tall and wide gabled S porch with moulded kneelers; high round-arched doorway with billet mouldings and attached half-round shafts; tall iron double gates of railings with spear finials reach capital level with tympanum section above. Inside are a flag floor, stone benches and steps up to a shouldered doorway; wide splays and surrounds to small side lights. Two similar smaller windows to S chancel and a blocked shouldered doorway; deep plinth. E window of 3 longer lights with plain continuous hoodmould and roundel above; similar corner buttresses. Low vestry at NE with roof sweeping right down and 3 similar windows to N nave. Large old metal lantern set on SW corner. Set in a walled rectangular churchyard which contains many well-lettered C19 headstones in Welsh and English and some monuments retaining very decorative iron railings.


Interior is rendered with exposed dressings and is dominated by the wide Romanesque-style arch with attached shafts and moulded capitals with foliage interlace motif. Roofs are open with arch-braced trusses supported by corbels, 6 bays to nave and 3 to chancel. Windows have deep splays. Flag floor to nave central aisle. Mid C19 Thomas monument by E Davies of Caerphilly. Large font enriched with carvings of leaves, birds and stars, probably by Prichard. Stained glass by R J Newberry including 3-lights of E window.

Reasons for Listing

Listed as an interesting early church design by the important Welsh architect John Prichard on a historic site.

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Albion Colliery Disaster Memorial
    Situated on N side of graveyard to west of St Mabon's Church. The memorial backs on to the graveyard wall with Ty'r Eglwys/Church Hall beyond.
  • II Pen-y-waun
    Heol Fawr leads S from Nelson to the open mountain of Mynydd Eglwysilan, the track leading to the farm being about half-way along.

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