Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Church of St Cawrdaf  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
The parish church stands in the large churchyard well furnished with slate tombstones, including some C18 ledger stones at the E, at the W end of Abererch village.  


Broad Class
Religious, Ritual and Funerary  

The parish church for Abererch, a village mostly in Dinllaen Hundred, but the E part in Eifionydd, stands on a site of an earlier building. The church, dedicated to a little-known C6 royal saint, Cawrdaf, from St Illtud's college, probably a missionary to these parts as a disciple of St Seriol, was first recorded in the Norwich Taxatio of 1254, and belonged to the Priory of Beddgelert. The present building was built in the C14, and had dedicated pews for the Bryngolla and Cromlech families. Of the medieval church the W end survives, extended to the E in the late C15, and with a N aisle added in the early C16. It was restored in the C19. Stones in the W end of the nave floor are said to be footings of a C13 church.  

The church is built with irregular rubble stonework with large quoins, and has sandstone dressings to the openings. It comprises a nave and chancel in one cell, with a large added N aisle, shorter at the W end, added c1520 by comparison of the detail with that of Llangwnadl Church. Small unmoulded pointed W door set in the coped W gable, which rises to a tall gabled bellcote carried on a corbel table. The nave has two 3-light trefoil headed windows under label moulds, and similar 2-light W window to the chancel. The E end has a large 5-light window with casement jambs and panel tracery. A large raking buttress obscures the junction with the N aisle, and incorporates some reused tracery at its head. The N aisle has a similar 3-light panel tracery window, but the jambs simply chamfered. A small door, inserted c1600 is central to the N side.  

Nave with chancel of 10 roof bays, defined by C11, C15 or early C16 arch-braced collar beam trusses rising from stone corbels. Cusped raking struts to all but the two most easterly trusses, where an original ceiling is assumed. Two tiers of purlins and exposed rafters. A single step up defines the chancel, with a further step into the sanctuary, both having C19 encaustic floor tiles. The 4-bay arcade opens to the 8-bay N aisle. Octagonal columns with recessed angle on each face, and ovolo capitals carrying the depressed arches of 2 chamfered orders, all characteristic of the area. The 8 similar trusses of the aisle are without cusped upper parts and corbels exist on the arcade side only. The W bay is partitioned off as a vestry. An additional corbel carved with the letters RE above the E pier, corresponding to a similar corbel on the chancel side with the date 1615, and stubs of others suggest an earlier roofing system. Fittings: altar rail, softwood, side cusped panels; pulpit, C19 octagonal, with a ballflower enriched cornice, set up on a stone base; readers desk, two sided, also C19. The lectern is free standing. The pews in the nave are C19, but in the N aisle, a very fine C15 group of 5 stalls with miserecords carved with roses and lilies, and the arms carved with upturned masks. Also a corresponding book desk, 3 stalls long, with a carved frontal and carved pew end in the form of two clerics standing back to back, each displaying a shield. It has been claimed that the stalls came from either the pilgrimage church at Clynnog, or from Bardsey. Font: a small octagonal bowl, probably medieval but remounted in the C19. Glass: E window, Our Lord and 4 Evangelists, c1880, in memory of Margaret Evans of Broom Hall; S side, eastern window, 1924, 2nd window to Rev David Jones, vicar, d.1926, donated by his children. The E window of the N aisle, Faith Hope and Charity, 1885, to Margaret Casson, Blaidd Bwll (Mer); E window of N side, interesting glass of c1894, in memory of Rhoda Carreg of Carreg. Monuments: S wall, from E, (a) white classical aedicule against a black field, with scroll and husks in pilasters and pediment, stag crest below, probably by Hale of London, to William Jones of Broom Hall, d.1857; (b) similar and contemporary, signed by W T Hale, Baker Street, London, commemorating Rowland Jones of Broom Hall, d.1773; (c) Carrara marble war memorial on black to 1 soldier killed in the Great War, and seven in the 2nd world war. In the chancel, ledger slabs, on the N; (d) an important C13 slab bearing a Celtic stepped cross over a shield with a diagonal sword, mullets on each side below; (e) Ledger to Griffith Jones of Tanialld (sic) d.1695, John Jones, d.1776, Katherine Jones, d.1777 and others added; (f) ledger to Maurice Williams of Bryn Gule, d.1692, John Lloyd, d.1692 and Margaret Owen, d.1764.  

Reason for designation
Included at Grade I as a fine example of late medieval work which is so characteristic of the Lleyn, incorporating earlier fabric, but with an exceptionally fine late medieval roof structure, and for the rare surviving medieval choir stalls.  

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