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 Celynin  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
To the W of and below the A493 in Llangelynin hamlet. The church stands in a rectangular churchyard, and is set into the steeply sloping ground above the railway and sea.  


Broad Class
Religious, Ritual and Funerary  

The first documented reference to a church here is the Valuation of Norwich of 1254, but the character of the present fabric suggests a building of the late C15 or early C16. Dendrochronology has provided a date range 1502-30 for the felling of timber for the roof trusses, and 1497-1533 for re-used panels in the chancel screen. Although the church retains considerable consistency in its construction, the masonry of the W and E walls differs in character from that of the N and S: the W wall has a pronounced battered plinth capped by a distinctive band of projecting stone, and it is therefore likely that this wall was at some time rebuilt. The masonry of the E wall also suggesst a different building date, and its window is probably early C19. With only minor changes to the fenestration in the early C19, and again in 1917 when the church was restored by Harold Hughes, the building strongly retains the character of a late medieval church.  

A parish church with nave and chancel under a single roof of notably wide plan, with S porch incorporating a bellcote. Of local coursed stone, roughly dressed, with distinctive large stones visible in the upper courses, particularly in the S wall. It has also been suggested that the stonework in the lower courses may be a survival from the earlier church on the site. A raised band is below the eaves in the N and S walls. The slate roof has tiled cresting, and is behind coped gables. The S porch, possibly C17, has a coped gable surmounted by a gabled bellcote that houses a single bell dated 1842. An accompanying inscription commemorates the construction of a new church in Llangelynin. The round-headed entrance has a simple projecting hood mould. In the E wall is a narrow window. Inside the porch is a corbelled stoup and pointed S doorway with a boarded door. In the S wall, the chancel has a 2-light square-headed late-medieval window, with cusped lights, sunk spandrels and a hood mould. An inserted 2-light wood-framed window is set high towards the centre of the S wall. The E wall has a simple round-headed window with splayed voussoir head and drip mould. The 3 windows in the N wall are probably C19 insertions and are simple wooden framed windows. The westermost window is immediately below the eaves. The N doorway is said to be a C19 insertion, and comprises a simple arch with voussoirs, and a boarded door with vertical ribs. There is also a blocked narrow window set very low towards the E end of the N wall. The W wall, where the ground level is lower, has a distinctive battered plinth and a single narrow round-headed window.  

The nave and chancel are structurally undivided, separated only by a low screen, and has stone flagged floors and whitewashed walls. The C16 5-bay roof has king- and queen-post trusses, sprung from wall posts carried on rough stone and wood corbels and braced to the tie beams. Wall-posts, braces and tie beams are moulded in all of the trusses, but the 3 easternmost trusses are more richly worked. This might indicate that the original division between nave and chancel was set further W. Only the wall posts and tie of the western truss are original. The roof also has a distinctive flat ridge beam and moulded wall-plates, except in the westernmost bay. Later boarding is behind the rafters. The sanctuary has a later boarded ceiling with a decorative ridge panel. Shallow segmental-pointed recesses in the N and S chancel walls were probably originally tomb recesses. There are fragments of 3 wall paintings, all post Reformation. In the W wall is a Memento Mori, discovered in 2003, the upper portion of which was probably lost when a W gallery was inserted. In the nave N wall is a fragmentary inscription 'yn gwneuthur', part of the second Commandment, and part of Psalm 26 in English. They were uncovered by Harold Hughes during restoration in 1917. The chancel screen is probably C18 in its present form but may be assembled from pieces of an earlier screen. The lower panels on the N side have pierced decoration and are C16, possibly from a former rood screen. The lower panels to the S side are simpler and more recent. Both sides have turned rails to the upper section, and there are central gates of similar character. The polygonal wooden pulpit, possibly also C18, is in a more refined idiom and incorporates panels with reed-moulded decoration. The church has a remarkable, virtually complete set of benches said to date from 1823. These simple benches record the names and addresses of their occupants, and include a complete hierarchy from vicar and gentry to servants' benches against the W wall. Other fittings include the late medieval font, comprising a simple octagonal bowl on a rectangular plinth. A chandelier is dated 1843. In the N wall is a Decalogue board in Welsh with, painted on the frame, 'Robert Pughe, Wiliam ... 1796'. There are 2 memorial tablets in the E wall. A plain marble tablet commemorates Mary Thomas (d 1785). An oval tablet has a scrolled surrounded, and is surmounted by a Bible and winged cherub, but the painted inscription has worn away.  

Reason for designation
Listed grade I for its outstanding architectural interest as a substantially unaltered late-medival church of great simplicity and historical integrity. Its later fittings reflect the essentially traditional, vernacular character of the locality, and the virtually complete set of named pews gives a rare and remarkable insight into C19 social history.  

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