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Brecknockshire Churches Survey

Church of St David , Maesmynis

Maesmynis Church is in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in the community of Duhonw in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SO0280949761.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16906 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Maesmynis Church, CPAT copyright photo 95C0335.JPG


St David's church at Maesmynis occupies a ridge just over 4km south-west of Builth Wells. The church itself was completely rebuilt in the Victorian period, a single mural slab being the only survival from the earlier church, internally. It occupies a rectangular churchyard housing a few 18thC monuments.

Victorian with modern refurbishment.

Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1979 publication The Buildings of Wales: Powys by Richard Haslam


Nothing at Maesmynis points to an early medieval origin for the church. In 1291 it appeared in Pope Nicholas' Taxatio as 'Ecclesia de Maesmenus', coupled with 'Lan' (=?Llanynis or Llangynog) at a value of 5, and as 'Maesmynnys' in the Valor Ecclesiasticus of 1535 at 7 1s 3d.

Theophilus Jones records a building in a delapidated state at the beginning of the 19thC, but one with a particularly interesting decorated roof, now gone. By the later part of the century it was a ruin and in 1878 the whole edifice was rebuilt.

The sanctuary was refurbished in 1963 (using materials from nearby Llangynog Church).


Maesmynis church consists of a nave, chancel, a north porch near the north-west corner of nave, and a west bell-turret directly over the gable end. It is aligned west-south-west/east-north-east, but 'ecclesiastical east' is used throughout this report.

Fabric: grey shale blocks and slabs showing some coursing. Window and door dressings in yellow sandstone, as are quoins. Uniform masonry of 1878.

Roofs: reconstituted clay tiles with simple ridge tiles.

Drainage: 0.4m wide concrete capping around whole building suggests drainage, though contents of downpipes are channelled across it.


General. All cells of this building have battered base to c.0.8m. Windows are trefoiled lancets, generally single, but three stepped lancets at east end. Porch has two-centred archway and double wooden gates; a plaque above the arch records the rebuilding of 1878.

Propped against east wall of chancel are three mural tablets, one of the 18thC, two of the 19thC. Against the north wall of the chancel near the north-east angle is a grave slab of 1738 and above it a painted armorial plaque.


Porch. General. Tiled floor, roof of simple collars and rafters. Plastered and whitewashed walls. One wooden bench. Six mural tablets around walls of which the most northerly on east wall is of 18thC.

Main building. General. Floors carpetted throughout. Benches raised on wooden plinths. One step to chancel, one to sanctuary, one to altar. Plastered and whitewashed walls. Nave and chancel roofs have scissor trusses with intersecting collars.

Sanctuary "brightly refurbished in 1963 by George Pace and Ronald Sims. East window (Christ in a vesica of cherubs' wings) and the five painted reredos panels (Crucifixion, Annunciation, and Nativity), by Henry Harvey, were designed as a correlating group" (Haslam).


The church is centrally placed in what was a rectangular churchyard, until an irregular extension was added to the north-east during the present century. It is ridge sited, with gentle drops to valleys on the north and south and ultimately on the west, this foreshadowed by a slight slope in the churchyard at the east end.

The churchyard is tidy, with grass being allowed to grow over early graveslabs, and is used for modern burial.

Boundary: the original boundary may have been formed from a low rubble wall or perhaps just a bank. This certainly shows as a low bank where the churchyard has been extended on the north side, and there is evidence here that interior raised by perhaps 0.7m. West of main entrance, boundary is a wooden fence and hedge, probably indicating that original line erased to allow parking space beside the road. On the west the hedge appears to sit astride a bank, still visible externally, and this bank is more pronounced on the south and east. Throughout, the external ground level is lower though generally by no more than 0.5m.

Monuments: well spread throughout the churchyard except on the west side where there are few. It is this side that has many of the surviving 18thC monuments, though the earliest - of 1768 - is to the north of the church.

Furniture: none.

Earthworks: old boundary bank on north side (see above). The tithe survey of 1842 shows the north-eastern boundary as curvilinear but there is no convincing ground evidence of this.

Ancillary features: lychgate on north in same style as church, though the style of dressings is different. Its inscription is now partly illegible but it is known to have been constructed in 1903. A metal farm gate gives access from the south-west corner, and small double wooden gates lead into the new extension at the north-east. A tarmac path to the porch.

Vegetation: one yew tree of some age on north, and nearby a holly tree. Occasional pines on the west and east.

Sources consulted

CPAT Field Visit: 7 March 1996
Dawson 1909, 204
Haslam 1979, 361
Powys SMR
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Please note that many rural churches are closed to the public at certain times. It is advisable to check when the church will be open before visiting. Information about access, or how to contact parish clergy, can often be obtained from the relevant Diocesan Office which can be found through the Church in Wales website. Further information about Maesmynis Church may also be found on the Swansea and Brecon Diocese website.

The CPAT Brecknockshire Churches Survey Project was funded by Cadw as part of an all Wales survey of medieval parish churches.

This HTML page has been generated from the Cadw Churches Survey database & CPAT's Regional Historic Environment Record - 17/07/2007 ( 22:01:04 ).
Further information about this and other churches surveyed is available from the Regional Historic Environment Record, Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 7a Church Street, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 7DL tel - (01938) 553670, fax - (01938) 552179, email -, website -

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