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Montgomeryshire Churches Survey

Church of Holy Trinity , Penrhos

Penrhos Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Guilsfield in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ2367216591.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 15856 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Penrhos Church, CPAT copyright photo 702-14.JPG


Holy Trinity, Penrhos, lies about 6 miles to the north of Welshpool. Founded as a chapel of ease in 1625, the church was completely rebuilt in 1845, and the only fitting to survive is an 18thC memorial. The churchyard is flat and polygonal in shape.

Entirely rebuilt in 1845 in Early English style.

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


A chapelry was founded at Penrhos in 1625. The first structure was built on the common waste, partly at the expense of Hugh Derwas of Penrhos Hall. A memorial of 1753 in the church records the building of this chapel of ease by Hugh Derwas and its dedication to the Holy Trinity.

The 17thC building was wooden-framed with a south porch and a western bell turret with a pyramidal roof rising above the nave. It was a chapelry attached to Llandrinio and was also known as Deytheur School parish church.

In 1844, the patron, William Ormsby Gore, undertook to pay 500 for taking down and effectively rebuilding the chapel at Penrhos. The new church was built to the design of Sidney Smirke of London and was opened in 1845.

The parochial history is dealt with fully by Roger Brown (1996).


The church consists of a nave and slightly narrower chancel, a south porch, a towerlet off the north-west corner of the nave, and a north vestry. It is oriented west-south-west/east-north-east but 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted here for descriptive purposes.

Fabric: the single fabric is buff-coloured brick, regularly coursed, with yellow sandstone dressings.

Roofs: slates, ceramic ridge tiles and a cross finial at the east end of the chancel. Stone tiles on the tower.

Drainage: guttering and downspouts lead to soakaways. No visible evidence of a drainage trench around the church.

Note: this 19thC building is described only in outline.


Tower. An octagonal towerlet, with a basal plinth at 0.5m, and a string course at a higher level continuing that of the west wall of the nave; a doorway on the west with a headstone dated 1845, three slit windows to the stair, and a tiered belfry with eight pointed-arch openings. This is surmounted by an octagonal roof.

Nave. General. A plinth at c.0.5m and a stringcourse below window level, though this is interrupted by the buttresses. Lancet windows, slightly recessed and of uniform appearance except where stated: they have ringed terracotta shafts, arches of rounded bricks and freestone sills. The north wall has three stepped buttresses and four single lancets, and there is a vestry annex at the eastern end; the south wall, three stepped buttresses, diagonal buttresses at both ends, and three single lancets; and the west wall has two lancets with a continuous hoodmould, complete with three head stops, and in thegable above these is a trefoil light in a large roundel.

Chancel. General. Narrower than the nave, but with a similar string course and plinth. The lancet windows have hoodmoulds and head-stops, except on the north side. The north wall has one ordinary buttress and an angle buttress at the north-east corner. Between is a pair of lancets. The east wall has the angle buttresses and a three-light window of stepped lancets with the hoodmould having four head stops. The south wall has a single buttress and two pairs of lancets.

South porch. General. A two-centred entrance archway on the south with a hoodmould and head stops. Plain east and west walls.

Vestry. General. Adjoining the north wall of church and part of the original build. Plinth as nave and chancel, a north wall with a pair of lancets, an east wall with a shouldered-arch doorway. Against the west wall is a lean-to boiler house in rough red brick, not part of 1845 church.


Porch. General. Open porch. Tiled floor, benches along the sides, and a panelled roof. The south doorway of the church has a high two-centred arch.

Tower. General. Open to the belfry, the spiral staircase having been removed, though the joists are still visible in the walls. Red brick interior, and a stone slabbed floor. A pointed arch to the nave is bricked up.

Nave. General. Tiled floor, carpetted aisle, raised, boarded floors under benches. Plastered and painted walls, apertures narrowly splayed. Three arch-braced collar trusses with king posts and arcing struts, the braces springing from wall posts on wooden corbels; four bays with plastered ceiling above.

North wall: three lancets with diamond-leaded lights; two others behind the organ in the north-west corner, including one to the tower, are blocked.

East wall: has a high, two-centred arch with mouldings but no capitals; painted a deep blue. To the south of it a memorial tablet of 1817.

South wall: two-centred arch to the reveal of doorway.

West wall: has 19thC stained glass in the lancets.

Chancel. General. The same level as the nave but two steps up to the sanctuary. Tiled floor as nave, but sanctuary has some encaustic tiles in addition; raised boarding under choir stalls. Walls plastered and painted pale blue. Two arch-braced collar trusses with king posts, rising from wall posts on wooden corbels; three bays with plastered ceiling above.

North wall: vestry entrance through two-centred arch. Paired lancets with leaded lights, and two 19thC wall memorials.

East window: stained glass memorial windows inserted in 1900.

South wall: Two sets of paired lancets with leaded lights. One memorial of 1753.

Vestry. General. Red tiled floor, plastered walls and ceiling. Leaded lights in paired lancets.


A medium-sized polygonal enclosure, with the road curving around the north and west sides. A well kept graveyard.

Boundaries: fenced and hedged to the roadside boundary on north-west, and there is also a drainage ditch running along the west side of the churchyard. An old stone wall remains on the east and south sides, acting as a revetment wall on the south side.

Monuments: modern burials are located in the small graveyard extension on the east side. 19th and 20thC unmarked graves and stones laid flat are now grassed over in the main graveyard. The marked graves are well-spaced. A reasonable number of stones have been cleared to the southern boundary where they lean against the wall. The earliest recorded was 1747 and there are a number of other 18thC examples, including an interesting group of sandstone markers probably by a single mason. Also a pair of stones with 'Memento Mori' and skull and cross bones, and '... Sic Vita' and hour glass (cf Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain).

Furniture: the pillar of a former sundial, no longer with its plate and gnomon, is located outside the south porch.

Earthworks: churchyard is raised by about 0.4m on the south, south-west and east.

Ancillary features: lychgate at northern entrance erected in 1921; an open timber porch, constructed on stone plinths. On the north-west, a single wooden gate set within dressed sandstone posts appears to be the original entrance. Tarmac paths.

Vegetation: three yews located to the south-west side of the church, near early and mid-19thC graves, and others around the western edge. Fir and beech trees on north-west roadsides.

Sources consulted

Cadw Schedule of Listed Buildings 1994
CPAT Field Visit: 9 September 1995 and 5 March 1998
Brown 1996
Eisel 1986, 192
Haslam 1979, 183
Powys SMR
St Asaph Parish Records (NLW)
Click here to view full project bibliography

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 Penrhos Church may also be found on the St Asaph Diocese website.

The CPAT Montgomeryshire 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 ( 22:02:05 ).
Further information about this and other churches surveyed is available from the Regional Historic Environment Record, Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 41 Broad Street, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 7RR tel - (01938) 553670, fax - (01938) 552179, email -, website -

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