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Montgomeryshire Churches Survey

Church of St Cadfan , Llangadfan

Llangadfan Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Banwy in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ0110910334.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16678 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llangadfan Church, CPAT copyright photo CS962121.JPG


St Cadfan's church, 14 miles to the west of Welshpool, is a small single-chambered structure perhaps dating from the 15thC on the evidence of its roof and Perpendicular east window, but restored in 1868. Few furnishings and fittings survived the restoration other than a stoup. It is set within a small, raised circular churchyard.

Walls have been claimed as 15thC; though completely rendered the irregularities in the faces and a disconformity in alignment on the north side do suggest that they are of some considerable age. However, around the south door there has been some rebuilding, and the porch, vestry and bell turret are all 19thC.

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


The church is believed to have been founded by St Cadfan, a Breton missionary who became the first abbot of the monastery on Bardsey Island in c.604. Certainly this dedication together with the churchyard morphology and perhaps its siting indicate an early medieval origin.

It is recorded as 'Capella de Llankaduan' in the Norwich Taxation of 1254 and in the Lincoln Taxation of AD 1291 as 'Ecclia de Llangadvan' with a total value of 6 10s.

The medieval church was restored in 1867-8 at a cost of 500. The Perpendicular east window was retained and the roof was ceiled, hiding what are reputedly 15thC arch-braced timbers with cusped struts and windbraces. Woodwork from the old gallery which was taken down, was used in the chancel roof.

Glynne visited the church in 1869 just after it had been renovated. He noted the east window, similar to that at Manafon, the newly installed chancel arch, new windows which were rather too large, and the general neatness of the building.


The church comprises a nave and chancel as a single chamber, a south porch, a north vestry, and a western bell turret over the nave. It is oriented almost exactly east to west.

Fabrics: these cannot be determined because the whole exterior has been heavily rendered and none of the stonework is visible. The exception is the 19thC masonry used for the porch, the vestry and the bell turret which consists of squared blocks of greyish shaley siltstone (or similar); irregularly coursed.

Roofs: slate tiles with black ceramic ridge tiles. Cross finial to chancel.

The bell turret rises above the west end of the nave. Plinthed on the north and south sides about 0.5m above roof level through two courses of masonry laid proud of wall face. North and south sides each have a pair of peaked arches with louvre boards, the west wall a single, two-centred, chamfered arch also louvred; two tie rods through each side. Gabled roof to east and west.

Drainage: there are no obvious gullies though it is conceivable that there may be one along the north side.


Nave and chancel. General. No external differentiation between the two elements. No exposed stonework.

North wall: three windows from the 1868 restoration, two to the nave, one to the chancel; each has a two-centred arch with two trefoiled two-centred lights of grey freestone; and continuous hoodmoulds ending in head stops and having a central stop as well. East of the chancel window, there is a disconformity at the base of the wall - to the east the wall is faintly battered and appears to be on a fractionally different alignment to that further west.

East wall: window in Perpendicular panelled style; consists of three trefoiled, two-centred lights, a transom, and four panel tracery lights and smaller lights, all under a two-centred arch; in grey freestone, some possibly original, but certainly some renewal and patching; a window difficult to decipher. Several slabs lean against the base of the wall.

South wall: west of the porch is a two-light window of similar design to those in the north wall. East of the porch is another two-light window and, lighting the chancel, a single trefoiled light with a standard hoodmould. The windows are thus of a consistent design.

West wall: gable end without any features. The bell turret is set on a corbel-table.

Vestry. General. 1867 addition to the north wall at its east end; unrendered and in 'A' masonry. Base of the wall has a plinth at c.0.5m on all sides and continues around the stepped buttresses at the north-east and north-west corners. Set into the west wall is a modern slate memorial slab in Welsh to William Jones (1726-1795). Doorway with pointed arch composed of stone voussoirs and chamfered jambs with broach stops in the east wall, and in the north wall paired windows with shouldered arches and a hoodmould with head stops. Above these a small slit aperture in the gable.

South Porch. General. Open-fronted porch built in 1868 in 'A'; unrendered. Plain side walls and in the south wall a two-centred doorway with stopped chamfers; similar in design to the vestry door.


Porch. General. Red and black tiled floor; unplastered walls show masonry and single plank benches against the east and west walls. Planked ceiling above collar braces.

North wall. = South wall of church. The doorway has a pointed arch in blue brick, and chamfered stone jambs, all 19thC. The surrounding stonework is unrendered and is of regular appearance, almost certainly from the 1868 restoration, though there are signs of insertion to the west of the doorway.

Nave. General. Floored with red and black tiles, with matting down the aisles but no obvious grilles; benches on raised planking. Walls plastered and painted. Nave is ceiled over, again in 1868, and with the moulded corniche, is painted. It is known to disguise a timber roof of presumed 15thC construction with five or six cusped trusses with windbraces.

North wall: three splayed window embrasures, but no disconformities to match those on the outside.

East wall: a wide, four-centred chancel arch, resting on short wall posts with capitals.

South wall: splayed window embrasures; a stoup consisting of a shallow bowl in grey sandstone, very worn, set in the wall on the east side of the south door.

West wall: a masonry projection protruding about 1m into the nave acts as a ringing space, and is accessible through a 19thC doorway with pointed arch and chamfered jambs. There is a small opening also with a pointed head and chamfered jambs, above the doorway, and a small rectangular light in its north wall. The interior of this turret is clad in a bluish-red brick. A benefactions board hangs on the wall to the north.

Chancel - two steps up to the chancel and one to the sanctuary; encaustic tiled floor in the sanctuary but a wooden floor beneath the altar. Walls as nave. Ceiling of 15 panels with ribs and carved cornices; the ceiling contains carved oak salvaged from the front of the old gallery.

North wall: two-centred arch doorway to vestry.

East wall: window embrasure, the dressings painted over.

Vestry. General. Tiled floor; plastered walls and ceiling.


The original raised sub-circular churchyard enclosure was extended westwards in 1910.

Boundary: a stone wall acts as a revetment around the whole yard except on the west where the churchyard has been extended.

Monuments: some clearance and levelling in 1979. Remaining monuments are primarily slate slabs of 19thC date. The earliest noted was a much broken chest tomb slab of 1802.

Earthworks: a curving bank west of the church, and up to 1m high, denotes the extent of the earlier churchyard boundary, and incorporates the lychgate. The churchyard is raised by up to 1.5m on the north, east and south.

Furniture: a carved wooden baluster pedestal with a much damaged circular top is now located under a yew tree near the south wall - probably the support for a sundial?

Ancillary features: a stone lychgate of early 19thC date has rounded arches with long stone voussoirs in its west and east walls, and plain north and south walls; slate roof with red ridge tiles and a wooden finial. The interior has a cobblestone floor, a timber roof with exposed rafters and purlins, and wooden benches on stone plinths along the north and south walls. The main entrance to the church is through a pair of wrought iron gates set in stone pillars in the north-west wall, all part of the 1910 extension; a gravel path leads via the lychgate to the south porch. Stone steps in the south wall led to Tyn-llan, once a public house. A graveslab of 1803 now lies across the top of the steps.

Vegetation: three mature yews to the south of the church; several younger yews around the boundary. The sycamores and ashes that line the west boundary are said to date from 1732.

Well: St. Cadfan's Well sited under an arch by the roadway, about 100m to the north of the church.

Sources consulted

CPAT Field Visit: 22 February 1996 and 29 July 1998
Crossley and Ridgway 1947, 192
Edwards 1869
Eisel 1986, 184
Faculty St Asaph 1910 (NLW): addition to churchyard
Faculty St Asaph 1979 (NLW): removal of churchyard stones and levelling
Glynne 1885, 45
Haslam 1979, 136
NMR Aberystwyth
Powys SMR
Thomas 1908, 478
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 Llangadfan 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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