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 Bilo  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
In a prominent position in the centre of the village of Llanfilo.  


Broad Class
Religious, Ritual and Funerary  

Anglican parish church, C12 to C15 with W tower of 1881. Restored conservatively by W. D. Caroe, from 1913 with additional works through to 1951, retaining remarkable pre-Victorian quality of the interior. The nave may be C12-13, but with little surviving evidence except the very thick wall between nave and chancel. The two rough diaper-patterned lintel stones, in the porch, and over the N door, may be pre-Norman c1100, similar to stones at Llanddew. Norman crude bowl font. Nave and chancel panelled roofs are C15 as also the S porch roof. Outstanding C15 screen, restored by Caroe 1926-30. C17 window in the nave S and some C17 fittings including some pews of 1630, altar rails of c1630 and pulpit of 1680. Long leaded timber window lighting pulpit late C17 or early C18, early C18 chancel plaster ceiling, c.1709. A sketch of 1822 shows no E window. When Sir Stephen Glynne visited in 1861 he noted a low and coarse tower as never finished, a closed-off Norman N doorway with semi-circular arch and ornamented lintel, traces of a lancet on the N, a wretched modern E window, a S two-light with Perpendicular style square head. Inside there was a 'rude semi-circular' chancel arch, coved ribbed roof, a 'pretty fair' rood loft and screen, and a circular bowl font on square base. The tower was rebuilt in 1881. In 1913 W. D. Caroe added the E window and nave N window, restored the screen and carried out careful repairs.  

Anglican parish church, rubble stone with stone tiled roofs. C19 W tower, medieval nave and chancel, with S porch. W tower of rock-faced coursed squared grey stone with regular quoins is broad and square with battered plinth and squat slated broach spire with weathercock. Two small rectangular bell-openings each side under eaves, with timber louvres. W wall has single C19 cusped lancet. Nave of rough rubble stone, of red to grey colour, with extensive remnant of limewashed render. S side has two windows to left of porch, one to right. To left, rectangular C18-style window of three lights, oak mullions, diamond leading and cambered head with stone voussoirs and keystone, and tooled stone sill (the disturbed stone suggests that it might be an early C20 insertion), then flat-headed C17 two-light stone-mullion window with arched heads to lights, hollow mouldings, and large hoodmould. Porch has stone tiled roof with ornate arch-braced collar truss, the broad arch ovolo-moulded, king post above collar, whitewashed rubble stone plain side walls, each with single chamfered rectangular light. Stone seats recessed within, and C15 panelled roof with arched trusses and moulded axial members. Three trusses (including front one) are ovolo-moulded, three unmoulded, some renewed. Broad medieval chamfered pointed S doorway with C18 plank door inscribed 'R Price I. Evans Churchwardens 1767'. Recess to right of doorway, splayed reveals to side windows. To right is large late C17 or early C18 rectangular pulpit window extending up to eaves. Oak plain square mullions, three long lights with diamond-leaded glazing. Below this, reset at ground level is grey stone chamfered pointed head of a small lancet, possibly C13. Five plaques on wall to right: to Ann Travers of Glasbory died 1801, by Games; Edward and Walter Vaughan of Tredomen died 1813 and 1820, with twin oval plaques and low relief drapery, by Hughes; Martha Prosser died 1777 by T. Hughes; eroded plaque by Games; Mary Vaughan died 1779, oval with low relief. Lower chancel built on ground sloping to E. S wall has plaque in left corner to John Watkin died 1788. Medieval flat-headed 2-light window with roll-moulding and deep spandrels to left and centre long opening with oak lintel over studded oak plank early C20 door . Three plaques to centre right: William Harvard of Hillis died 1836 by Hughes; William Jones died 1838 by T. H.; John Williams, schoolteacher, died 1857, by D. H. East end has long early C20 red sandstone 3-light window with hoodmould, flat headed with panel tracery. Two plaques to left: Martha Davies of Penyrallt died 1837 by T. H.; Mary Williams died 1849. One plaque to right to William Vaughan Jones died 1844, and two eroded plaques low down, one to Charles Vaughan, 1820s. Windowless N wall. Tall stone square early C20 chimney against E wall of nave with red sandstone quoins. Nave N has big projection for rood stair to left with one fixed wooden 2-light window with timber lintel and leaded lights. Main wall to right has square headed door with massive c1100 lintel stone. Two rows of 4-pointed stars in squares, with row of lozenges each side. Early C20 red sandstone big 4-light flat headed window with hoodmould. Buttress with red sandstone quoins and sloping stone-tiled top, probably early C20. To left, on eaves, is leaning rubble stone square chimney with cornice. Nave NW and SW corners are rebuilt with C19 quoins.  

Plastered walls, stone flagged floors, with one step up towards W end and another in tower arch. C19 pointed chamfered arch to tower, which has whitewashed walls, renewed timber ceiling and grey stone splayed reveal to W window. Nave has fine C15 plastered panelled roof of 6x9 panels with moulded ribs, and one big ovolo-moulded tie beam. Stepped sills to square headed nave S window reveals, segmental arch to S door, seat in recess to long pulpit window. N wall has long timber lintel to early C20 window and red sandstone quoins and sill. N door to rood stair, oak, 1925, carved with names of dead of Great War. Stone stairs in wall thickness up to rood loft door. Round arched chancel arch infilled above rood loft (see below). One step down into chancel. Flagged floor with incised memorial to Rev. G. I. Prys Jones, rector responsible for the early C20 restoration. C18 coved plaster chancel ceiling with coved cornice, deep coved sides and centre rectangle with triple-roll border. S wall has square-headed early C20 door and 2-light window, oak lintel and red sandstone quoins to early C20 E window. One step to sanctuary with altar rails, stone flags to sanctuary, with one eroded incised slab. Fittings. Massive and crude C12 bowl-shaped grey stone font with rough roll-mould below rim and short round shaft in yellow limestone. Monolith square pedestal. Outstanding C15 screen and rood loft, the screen infilling the chancel arch and the rood loft extending full-width. Much restored 1926-30, by W. D. Caroe, the Rood with two figures affixed to the wall above of 1925, carved by N. Hitch. Screen has three narrow bays each side of centre with square-headed openings infilled with ornate cusped ogee heads with pierced quatrefoils in spandrels. Plain panels below. Centre square-headed opening with traceried corner brackets, pierced with quatrefoils. Undercut vine-scroll frieze above and delicate cresting under rood loft soffit. Rood loft projects far with panelled boarded soffit, slightly coved in 3x11 panels with moulded ribs, renewed carved bosses and leafs in corners of each panel. Rood loft front has much renewed ornament: delicate double row at bottom, probably early C20, then two bands of pierced oak carving interrupted by triangular bases of the dividing piers of the 5-bay front. Piers are diagonally-set with carved blind tracery and carved capitals interrupting top cornice. Each bay has three long panels with 1926-30 relief carvings by Hitch of saints under canopies in middle panel. Two bands of carving in top cornice, the narrower lower one with trefoils in roundels, the upper one with undercut wave design and flowers. Rear of screen is plainer with coved panelled soffit to loft. Timber panelled four-sided 1680 pulpit with fielded panels, large below, smaller above to each side and deep sloping top board. Early C20 timber base and steps. Altar in front of screen right side, medieval stone slab on C20 wooden base. Later C17 altar rails with thick turned balusters and moulded rail. Oak C17 Jacobean style altar table, extended out in early C20 in matching style to carry very long medieval stone slab. Simple late C18 to early C19 panelled pews with panelled ends. C17 pews, said to date from 1630, one by font, four to E of S door and one at front of N pews, with panelled backs. Iron stove in nave NW by Portway & Son of Halstead. Painted earlier C19 board on W wall with Biblical texts in Welsh. Memorials: Nave S plaque to Vaughan family to 1776, by Games; Walter Vaughan of Penishapentre died 1800, and widow died 1811, by Games; William Vaughan of Penishapentre died 1808; Margaret Williams of Tredomen, died 1759 by T. Games; Thomas Vaughan of Glandwr died 1792 by D. H. Nave N wall: children of David Williams died 1769-79; William and Catherine Price died 1791 and 1793, with remarkable low relief rustic decoration, and border text, by D. H.; marble plaque to Ann Stanton died 1846; neo-Grec marble plaque to William Havard of Penygoyffordd died 1773 and descendants, by William Williams of Brecon; marble memorial to Henry Vaughan of Penymaes died 1861, by J. Phillips of Talgarth; ornate Gothic carved memorial to Rev. Thomas Vaughan of Penymaes, died 1855, and his wife, erected by H. G. Vaughan of Cynghordy, signed by Williams & Sons, Brecon; Ann Havard died 1792, oval plaque by D. H; Alica Jones of Tylecrwn died 1782, plain plaque. Chancel S C14 stone with low relief cross and fleur-de-lys border, raised on a plastered base. Chancel E wall: James Parry of Trostre died 1779; William Vaughan of Penymaes died 1803, his wife died 1821 and daughter died 1838, painted with low relief neo-classical rustic decoration, by Hughes of Felinfach. S wall: Jane Jones died 1832, painted with rustic Adam style decoration, by T. Phillips; W. Gwynne Vaughan of Penymaes died 1841, marble with mourning female and plant-draped sarcophagus, by Jennings of Hereford; J. Havard of Hillis, died 1766 and T. Havard died 1793, by Games; Alice Williams of Tredomen and Tredustan died 1825, painted rustic Adam-style, by Hughes; Elizabeth Vaughan of Tredomen, died 1774, by Games; Margaret Williams of Tredomen Court died 1789, oval plaque. Chancel N: Rees Lloyd of Pencoedcae died 1795 and family to 1840, by Jones; Mary Havard died 1852, with heavy lettering, by C. & J. D.; Margaret Williams of Ty Uchaf Tredomen died 1807 and John Williams died 1817, painted Adam-style with draped urn, by Hughes; John Williams of Tredomen and later Tredustan Court died 1801, painted Adam-style; Rev M. W. Williams died 1811, painted with urn and marbling, by Hughes; Elizabeth Bowen died 1852, and Rev. W. Bowcott, died 1865, marble neo-Grec by Thomas of Brecon; double framed plaques, one with winged cherub head, to daughters of Rev Thomas James and to Henry Powell, all died 1731-2, by T. Brute.  

Reason for designation
Included at Grade I as an exceptional church with medieval screen and roofs, relatively unrestored interior with good surviving post-medieval features, and good collection of monuments illustrating the local memorial tradition.  

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