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 Saint David  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
In a prominent position in Llanddew, in the churchyard just W of the crossroads in the centre of the village.  


Broad Class
Religious, Ritual and Funerary  

Anglican parish church, C13 with later additions and alterations, restored 1883-4 and 1900 to plans by Ewan Christian. Cross plan with simple lancet windows in a consistent Early English style, noted by the C19 historian E. A. Freeman as 'unsurpassed for the combination of perfect plainness with perfect excellence' and a good C13 trefoil-headed chancel S door. Internally the round arches of the crossing tower W and E are C12-13, possibly also the S small round arched doorway. The N tall pointed door looks post-medieval. It is suggested from the way that the external batter of the nave N wall follows through in the inside of the N transept that the transept was added, but the corner to the nave may suggest that the nave is added. The very narrow E lancet of the transept set within a pointed big recess is C13. The detail of the nave however dates from the 1900 restoration, its original date uncertain, the porch of 1900. The tower was rebuilt simply in 1629. It is said that there was a refurbishment of the nave in the 1620s and that the tower roof dates from c. 1780. A C19 drawing of the church shows all the roofs thatched and a modern S transept S window. Sir Stephen Glynne in 1860 noted that the church was whitewashed, the S transept had been a schoolroom, then closed, and mentions four round arches at the crossing (now three), modern windows and roof to the nave, and that the roof of the chancel was vaulted in stone (no other evidence for this found). The church was called mostly in ruins in 1875, only the nave was in use. During the restoration of 1883-4 the eastern parts were made into the church, with porch in the S transept, baptistery in the N transept and pews in the crossing and chancel. Some black letter texts were found in the chancel, probably C17, and a faded angel fresco, but not preserved. The 1884 work cost £1,121, the nave was left until 1900, when it was restored for £500. Among the detached pieces of stone at the church are two massive pieces possibly of a single long stone carved mostly with incised diamonds but also a Maltese cross, possibly a C10-11 cross shaft reused as building stones. There is also an eroded sandstone slab with lightly incised Celtic cross and Gothic letters, possibly a name. Unusual small C12 piscina with rope mould and eroded scroll decoration on a quatrefoil shaft, also with eroded decoration. A bowl with two ear handles found in 1859 may be a stoup, or a mortar. The church is historically notable for the association with Giraldus Cambrensis, who as Archdeacon of Brecon lived at Llanddew Castle 1175-1203. The S transept was known as Capel y Cochiaid, or of the red-haired men, it was used as a schoolroom in the earlier C19 and was the main entrance from 1884-1900.  

Anglican parish church, purple and grey rubble stone with stone-tiled roofs and C19 gable copings and cross finials. Shaped ends to rafters. Cruciform plan with crossing tower, S porch of 1900. Tower of 1629 has plain rectangular openings under eaves with timber louvres, and stone-tiled pyramid roof with swept eaves. Small slit window low on W face. Stone dripcourses on tower sides parallel to the roof slopes. Lancet windows of C13 type. Nave W end wall and windows renewed: three long 1900 lancets, N side is windowless with high batter, S side has slight battered base, one 1900 lancet to left of porch and two to right. Porch is stone tiled, pointed arch with cut stone voussoirs. S door within is cambered-headed with C19 stone voussoirs but medieval red sandstone jambs. 1900 plank door with cover strips. S transept has renewed lancets, one to W and one to S, battered base to S and W walls, these walls much rebuilt. Coped S gable has a chimney of 1884, and E wall has large pointed door with stone voussoirs, the former door to the schoolroom and entrance from 1884-1900. Earlier C20 oak door. Chancel has low battered base to walls, three lancets to S, with some surviving medieval stonework, set higher, and door between first and second. C13 S door has a much-renewed unmoulded trefoiled head with hoodmould. E end has three widely-separated lancets with renewed heads, the centre one broader and taller, and three pointed hoods linked at impost level. Three similar lancets to N wall, renewed with some old stones. N transept has very narrow C13 lancet on E wall, high batter walls, highest on N, and renewed lancet to both N and W walls.  

Nave exposed rubble stone walls, later C19 roof has two tie-beam trusses with crown posts up to collars and axial collar-purlin, the crown posts with arched braces on all four sides. Stone voussoirs to splayed window reveals: three lancets to W, none to N, three to S with segmental-pointed head to door surround. Nave E wall is battered at base and crossing arch is off-centre, N wall appears to abut to E wall. Crossing has round arches with stone voussoirs on square piers to W and E, walling to S and N, pierced on S by a low round-arched doorway with keystone, and on N by a tall pointed doorway with stone voussoirs and C19 baize-covered doors. Later C19 beams and corbels to bell-floor, one corbel possibly ancient. S transept has plastered walls, and plain collar-rafters to roof, one pegged original, possibly C18. Taller segmental pointed reveal on N wall backing onto entry from crossing, but taller than crossing round arch. E wall late C19 or C20 large pointed door. Squint at NE corner into chancel. N transept has plastered walls, C19 windbraced roof with two collar trusses, one with heavy tie-beam. On S wall is 1884 gallery providing access to bell-floor of crossing tower. Pointed altar recess on E wall, framing very narrow pointed light. Squint at SE corner into chancel. Battered base to S wall. One step into chancel, which has similar roof to nave with two tie beams. Plastered walls with three lancets each side, C19 flush sills, and stepped triplet to E, the sills deeply sloped down to moulded course. Corbel on opposite sides of chancel, either for a rood-beam or statue. Chancel W wall has two crude shields said to relate to the inscription stone 'This steeple was newly erected and made in Apriel anno dom 1629 William Havard Gent and William Griffith Gent then churchwardens EW'. Cambered head to S door. Pointed stone piscina on S wall, renewed in C19. Two steps to sanctuary with C19 tiled pavement. Fittings: Massive and crude bowl font of tooled stone set on ashlar pedestal, possibly from elsewhere, but medieval. Pedestal is square with sides splayed inwards towards foot, and with big angle chamfers, stopped before top corners. Modern plinth. C19 hardwood pews of good quality with simply moulded bench ends. Large oak pulpit of 1905 with ornate pierced tracery to panels, inscribed as memorial to Giraldus. Oak eagle lectern 1903. C19 chancel stalls with band of pierced cusped squares along frontals. C19 altar rails on twisted brass standards. Memorials: Crossing S wall: Thomas Morgans of Felin Newydd, Llandevalle, died 1814, painted marbling with two oval plaques side-by-side, and obelisk top with urn, signed Hughes; David Williams of Llanfrynach, died 1823, oval with painted marbling and shield plaque, by T. Phillips of Talgarth. S transept E wall John Williams of Upper Penwain died 1855 with urn above; S wall Roger Williams of Penwain Uchaf died 1833, painted marbling with reeded pilasters, signed ?Giles; W wall Thomas Jones of Gwarcae died 1864 and Ann Davies died 1848. Inscribed stones: In S porch are the two C10-11 carved pieces retrieved from the fabric of the church in the restoration, said to be possibly parts of the same cross shaft. Also here is the Celtic-cross inscribed stone with incised Gothic letters. In the N transept is preserved the rough 2-handled bowl found in 1859, possibly a stoup, also here is the C12 piscina with rope-moulded square bowl on quatrefoil stem, retrieved from the chancel E gable.  

Reason for designation
Graded I as a substantial medieval church of consistent early Gothic form and with strong historical associations with Giraldus Cambrensis.  

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