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Montgomeryshire Churches Survey

Church of St Cynyw , Llangynyw

Llangynyw Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Llangyniew in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ1271109097. At one time it was dedicated to All Saints.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16405 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llangynyw Church, CPAT copyright photo CS962117.JPG


A small, whitewashed single-chambered church of 15thC date, sited within what was once a curvilinear churchyard. It retains a 15thC timber porch with wooden seats and cobbled floor, several much renewed 15thC windows and much of the contemporary rood screen. There is also a late medieval font and 18thC furnishings and fittings including an altar table and benefaction board.

15thC rubblestone walls, rendered and painted white. No exposed stonework, but a Perpendicular east window and medieval, trefoil-headed lights in the south walls. The porch is also considered to be 15thC.

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


The church is dedicated to St Cynyw, a 6thC saint, although Thomas suggested that at some stage in the past its dedication was to All Saints.

It was recorded as 'Capella de Llankenwy' with a value of 5s in the Norwich Taxation of 1254 and appeared as 'Ecclesia de Llangenwyk' at 4 in Pope Nicholas' taxation of 1291.

The present church is thought to have been built sometime between 1450 and 1500 AD. The present porch, screen, font, south door and some of the windows date to this period.

Several alterations were made to the interior in the 19thC. John Parker drew the rood loft and screen in 1839, but the former was dismantled later in the 19thC. Parker's drawings also show pews up to the sanctuary and a pulpit and desk against the south wall.

Accommodation was increased in 1842 and the gallery was almost certainly added at this time.

The interior was re-arranged in 1858; the chancel was raised one step above the nave and the small north vestry was added. The pulpit was moved to the north-east corner of the nave and the church re-seated. The old box pews were used for dados and a new belfry was constructed.

Electricity and heating apparatus were installed in 1936 and further improved in 1955.


The church comprises a nave and chancel as a single unit, a north vestry and a south porch. There is a bellcote at the west end. The building is aligned north-east to south-west but for the purpose of description 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted.

Fabrics: the masonry is not discernible because the whole of the exterior is covered in a cement render.

Roofs: slates with plain, black ceramic ridge tiles. No finials.

Drainage: modern guttering and downspouts lead to soakaways. The possibility of a gully along the south and west sides cannot be dismissed, while the deep terracing on the north may also conceal a drain.


Nave and chancel. General. No differentiation between the elements.

North wall: features from the west are: i) a single Victorian trefoil-headed light without a frame. ii) and iii) square-headed, Victorian windows containing two round-headed lights with trefoiled tracery in buff-yellow freestone, weathering to grey; sunken spandrels. The heads of the lights in the more easterly window are in more weathered sandstone but still Victorian. iv) vestry at the extreme north-east corner.

East wall: Perpendicular window in worn grey sandstone, having a two-centred arch and three trefoiled, round-headed lights with foiled panel tracery above a transom; this is assumed to be largely original. A pink sandstone memorial set in the wall near the south corner records Henry Foulkes, a former rector from 1729 to 1745, and his family.

South wall: west of the porch is a square-headed window with two trefoiled, two-centred lights in worn grey sandstone and showing limewash residue; 15thC. To the east of the south porch are two windows. First a square-headed window with three trefoiled lights and two small tracery eyelets, in buff-yellow sandstone and dating from the 19thC restoration. Next a square-headed window lighting the chancel with two trefoiled, two-centred lights in worn grey sandstone, showing some limewash traces; 15thC, but some limited renewal to the?mullion.

West wall: a central multifoiled light set in a curvilinear-edged triangular aperture of buff-yellow sandstone.

The bellcote has a pitched roof surmounted by a wrought iron weathervane. The aperture for the single bell has a two-centred arch with chamfered dressings in buff-yellow sandstone.

Vestry. General. Adjoins north-east corner of the church. The north wall has a single lancet in buff-yellow sandstone. The other walls are plain.

Porch. General. 15thC timber-framed open porch, standing on a stone plinth which rises to a maximum of c.0.2m above ground level. Much of the original timber remains.

East and west walls: timber frames with two rows of closed oak panels with wooden pegs.

South wall: open entrance with a rounded wooden arch formed by a moulded tie-beam supported by curved braces off large corner posts, and above, short raking struts. Carved bargeboards are an addition to this ancient feature, and there is an overhanging wrought iron lantern.


Porch. General. Cobbled floor. Arch-braced roof with three trusses including that visible on the outside. The inner two are renewed although the central one imitates that outside; heavy through purlins and rafters, and a lower tier of cusped windbraces in the outer bay; considerable replacement of timberwork throughout.

North wall: Perpendicular south doorway into the church; two-centred arch of two orders, both chamfered, though the inner is slightly hollowed; sharpening marks on one jamb stone; the arch stones may have been replaced. Supports for the innermost roof truss disguise the wall into which the door is set. Two steps up into the nave.

East and west walls: oak benches, that to the west resting on a stone riser, that to the east on a large block of timber.

Nave. General. Continuous nave and chancel. The nave has a central aisle with red and black 19thC tiles; carpet down the aisle and heating grilles beneath this. Under the benches is patched, wooden flooring, flush with the aisle on the north side but raised above it on the south. The oak benches have carved heads. Walls plastered and painted; and a plastered coved ceiling above both the nave and chancel, which is raised at the west end over the gallery. A single tie-beam is exposed against the west wall.

North wall: dado along wall to a height of c.1m; windows set in segmental-headed recesses with sloping sills. Painted fleur-de-lys frieze runs the full length of the church above window level. One marble memorial of 1797.

East wall: three-bay screen surmounted by four pinnacles; north and south bays extend across the width of the benches and the shorter third bay spans the aisle.

South wall: dado, windows and frieze as north wall, though two of the dado panels bear a scalloped pattern. Square-headed reveal to main door.

West wall: an alcove contains the font, and a dog-leg staircase in the south-west angle leads up to the gallery which is supported by two wooden piers spanning the centre aisle with a pierced tracery head (derived from the rood screen) between them. The tiered gallery, probably of 1842, has a 12-panelled front somewhat similar to the plain dados along the north and south walls

Chancel. General. One step up from the nave and one step to the sanctuary. Completely carpetted. Walls and roof as nave.

North wall: this has a wooden return of the screen on which is 'Te Deum Laudamus' above the entrance to the open vestry and organ.

East wall: the window carries 20thC stained glass and to either side are paintings: to the north a Nativity in memory of Thomas Richards, Rector between 1826-1856 and on the south a Resurrection to M. Myrddin Jones, Rector between 1856-1862. 'A.D. Majorem Dei Gloriam' in a painted blue scroll above the window.

Vestry/Organ Recess. General. The organ is set into a recess to the vestry which was opened up as part of the 19thC restoration work. Wooden planked floor, slightly raised; plastered walls and ceiling. Cast iron grate in north-west corner.

East wall: Benefactions board.


This medium-sized churchyard comprises an originally curvilinear enclosure with a later rectangular extension of 1925 at a higher level on the west.

Boundary: a stone wall revetment on the south and south-east side, and a hedge and old railings on the north-east against the grounds of the old rectory; the western portion of the churchyard has a railed boundary.

Monuments: a mix of slabs, crosses and chests of mainly 18thC and 19thC date, with more recent burials in the northern extension. The earliest graves are to the south-east of the church; many are grassed-over and some are re-sited. A 1768 slab is laid flat near the porch, two slabs of 1799 lie under the yew in the south-east corner and a small worn slab of 1790 is under the yew in the south-west. Four chest tombs and one slab are sited directly below the east window of the church; one carries the date 1727, another 1736.

Furniture: sundial, complete with plate and gnomon, on a modern baluster-shaped stem on a circular plinth and base. The plate bears the date 1616 and has a central 'sun face' with 'Sunny Tyme Only' inscribed and Roman numerals.

Earthworks: churchyard is raised by up to 1.2m on east and south-east, and less elsewhere. The old churchyard boundary on the north shows as a scarp dropping into the old churchyard.

Ancillary features: a pair of iron gates set in the east wall form the entrance to the churchyard. A gravel path to the south porch and continues west to a single gate at the south-west corner where the stone wall meets the more recent railed boundary.

Vegetation: seven yew trees of considerable age form a ring around the early enclosure.

Sources consulted

CPAT Field Visit 29 March 1996 and 29 July 1998
Crossley and Ridgway 1947, 194
Eisel 1986, 185
Haslam 1979, 138
Faculty St. Asaph 1925 (NLW): churchyard extension
Nadfas Survey: NA/GEN/93/109C
NMR Aberystwyth
Powys SMR
Thomas 1908, 481
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 Llangynyw 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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