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 Cadfan  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
Near the E end of the modern town, in a walled churchyard on the W side of Corbet Square.  


Broad Class
Religious, Ritual and Funerary  

An early medieval clas, and a substantial C12 church. It was enlarged in the late C15 or early C16, by which time it was a cruciform building with crossing tower. In 1692 the tower fell. It was replaced by a new W tower, occupying the site of one bay of the C12 nave, and at the same time piers on the N side of the nave were supported by a arched buttresses in the N aisle. In 1884 the church was rebuilt by John Prichard, architect of Llandaf.  

A cruciform church in C19 Gothic style built around the core of a C12 church, with central tower, aisled nave and S porch. Nave, aisles, N transept and tower are of rubble stone. The S transept is of snecked stone, as is the chancel in its E and S walls. Roofs are slate, mostly behind coped gables on moulded kneelers. Windows have mainly Bath stone dressings. The war-memorial S porch, lower than the S aisle, is of snecked rock-faced stone, battered at the base. It has a round arch with later recessed glazed doors and overlight. The L side wall has a single narrow window and the R side wall 2 windows. The lean-to S aisle has a small square-headed window immediately R of the porch and an inserted or enlarged window further R. The clerestorey has 4 small round-headed C12 windows. The S transept has a window of 3 main lights but no tracery lights, under a segmental pointed head and hood mould with head stops. On the E side of the transept is a shallow projection in the angle with the chancel, under a hipped lean-to stone roof. It has a boarded door with strap hinges under a shouldered head, leading to the stair turret of the tower. A narrow barred window is in the splayed angle between transept and chancel. The chancel has a 2-light geometrical S window under a hood mould with head stops. The E window is 3 stepped lights under a linked hood and head stops. The chancel has diagonal E buttresses. On the N side, set back from the E end, is a lean-to vestry. It has a single pointed light in the E wall, and pointed door and window in the N wall. The late medieval N transept has diagonal buttresses and a 3-light window inserted in 1884 similar to the S transept, beneath the relieving arch of an earlier window. The N aisle has a boiler room at the E end, under a catslide roof, with stone steps and railings to a boarded door in its W wall, slightly below ground level. Further R is a stepped buttress, a 3-light wood-framed domestic style window with diamond leaded glazing, and a small window further R. The clerestorey has 4 small C12 round-headed windows, of which the easternmost has been renewed in a heavy Bath stone surround. On the W side the nave has a stepped battered plinth projecting in front of the remainder of the elevation, all that remains of the early C18 tower, but otherwise there is no structural break between nave and aisle W walls. The nave has 3 round-headed W windows and a bullseye window in the gable. The S aisle has an inserted mid C20 W window. The 2-stage tower has a higher octagonal SE turret. In the E and W walls the lower stage has 2 narrow shoulder-headed lights. The belfry has pairs of pointed bell openings with louvres. The parapet, on a corbel table, has stepped battlements and blind arrow loops.  

Inside the porch are war-memorial tablets above window level, and an added 1939-45 memorial tablet in the W wall. The roof has closely spaced rafters. The S aisle S doorway is segmental-headed with prominent voussoirs. It has a C20 boarded door, but on the inner side are battens and strap hinges from the previous door. The main church has plastered interior walls. The nave has C12 3-bay N and S arcades with low round plastered piers with simple capitals, and round arches. The responds at the E end are square. Round piers at the W end demonstrate that the nave was originally at least one bay longer before the tower was built at the end of the C17. Clerestorey windows have round rere arches, except for the end windows in the S wall, which have square heads. The 5-bay late-medieval nave roof has corbelled arched braces, windbraces, and added tie beams. In the N aisle 3 of the piers have arched buttresses, and trusses that survive the restoration of 1884. Likewise the S transept has trusses earlier than 1884, which are also supported on unusual arched struts supported on the capitals of the piers. The C19 crossing arches, in C13 style, have an outer continuous order, and an inner order on shafts with head corbels. Beneath the tower is a heavy framed ceiling. Transepts have roofs of closely spaced arched braces, and plastered round arches at the ends of the aisles. The N transept also has a pointed window and a pointed boarded door to the vestry. The chancel has a boarded wagon roof with moulded ribs and embattled cornice. Wood panelling around the walls, incorporating blind Gothic arches with delicate tracery, is partly dated 1910, and an integral reredos, which also incorporates shields bearing Passion symbols, is dated 1908. The E window has rere arches with ringed shafts. The square font is chamfered at the angles, stands on a squat octagonal stem and square base, and is late medieval. Late C19 pews have shaped ends. The polygonal wooden pulpit has open Gothic panels. The altar rail has a moulded wooden rail on iron uprights with scrolled brackets. There are 3 medieval memorials. In the N aisle is a tall early Christian stone with Latin cross and an inscription in Welsh (one of the earliest recorded uses of the Welsh language in a Christian context). Two effigies are in the N wall of the chancel, probably placed there following the restoration in 1884. The early C14 effigy of a priest has his head beneath a gabled canopy and feet on mutilated lions. The effigy of a knight, of c1350, has feet resting a headless animal, probably a dog. The shield is too mutilated to identify the knight, although the effigy has traditionally been identified as Gruffydd ab Adda of Dolgoch. Other memorials are wall tablets, mostly salvaged from the previous church and reinstated after its restoration. In the chancel N wall is a classical marble memorial to Vincent Corbet (d 1723). The inscription panel has an apron with foliage and winged cherub, an open pediment and an achievement with garland. Further R is a simple classical memorial to Anne Maurice (d 1767) and family. It has an inscription panel, apron, entablature with painted coat of arms and a shallow cambered moulded cornice. In the S wall is Gothic style wall tablet to Lewis Vaughan (d 1877), under a cinquefoiled arch and gabled canopy, with a classically dressed woman in high relief. Next to it is a plain marble tablet to the Rev William Lewis and his wife (d 1716, 1698). Further R is a rococo tablet to Atheluston Owen (d 1731), by Sir Henry Cheere. It has a corbelled inscription panel over a running-dog frieze, and apron bearing an inscription to his wife Anne (d 1766). It is surmounted by an urn against a roundel under a scrolled pediment with achievement. Scrolled wings are further enriched with husk garlands. In the S transept is a simpler tablet with cornice and apron, to Richard Edwards (d 1785) and family by John Carline of Shrewsbury. Below it is a small brass to Rupert Kettle (d 1908). In the N transept the W wall has a simple brass to William Kettle (d 1930), and in the N wall is a brass panel in a stone pedimented surround to Louis de Saumese (d 1788). In the S wall, a severe classical tablet to Edward Scott (d 1842) has an inscription panel and pediment. Below it is a plain brass to Griffith Evans (d 1923). To its L is a plain small brass to Ann Dafydd (d 1785) with inscription in Welsh. Several windows have stained glass. The chancel and transept windows form a set and are probably therefore by the same glassmaker. The E window shows Christ in Majesty and scenes from the Passion. The S transept shows the Nativity and the N transept shows the Virgin Mary and SS Peter and Cadfan (all of whom had altars dedicated to them in the medieval church). The chancel S window, post 1944, shows the Adoration of the Magi in conservative style. The W window shows SS Matthew, David and Cadfan, dated 1883. In the S aisle the W window depicts the child Christ, post 1941 by Wippell & Co of Exeter. In the S aisle the small window shows Mary and Jesus, the larger window probably the death of the Virgin.  

Reason for designation
Listed grade I for its exceptional interest as a parish church retaining a substantial part of its C12 building, a rare early-medieval survival in Wales of such scale and quality, with late medieval and C19 additions. The church also makes a strong contribution to the historical integrity of the old town centre.  

Cadw : Full Report for Listed Buildings [ Records 1 of 1 ]