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 Cynog  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
Situated in large churchyard in the centre of Defynnog village.  


Broad Class
Religious, Ritual and Funerary  

Anglican parish church, mostly late C15 with tall tower, nave and NE chapel, and S porch. The chancel and NE chapel seem to be of one build, but there is evidence of alterations on the nave N and of a building joint between nave and chancel on S. A church is recorded in 1254 and 1291. When Sir Stephen Glynne visited the W end of the nave was partitioned with a gallery, removed when the church was restored 1888-90 for £1,793, including three replaced windows, some rebuilding of walls and new roofs. There was minor work in 1905 including work on the partitions at the W end of the nave. The incised stone now in the porch was at the SW angle of the tower, upside down. The font and stoup are of early date C12, possibly pre-Norman. The W end of the nave and the tower were used in the early C19 as a schoolroom.  

Parish church, rubble stone with slate roofs. Nave with chancel under single roof and parallel-roofed NE chapel or chancel aisle, S porch and large W tower. Tower has high sloping base with bull-nosed stringcourse over, another similar stringcourse at mid-height and a coved stringcourse above, under embattled parapet. Slated pyramid roof with wrought-iron finial and weather-cock. Big SE stair turret with similar string courses but higher battlements and no plinth. Small C15 two-light bell openings in red stone with arched lights and sunk spandrels. Rainwater spout on S and also one small light in second stage. W side has larger single-light at ground floor and smaller one under mid string course, and two rainwater spouts. Unusual 3-light late Gothic windows with segmental pointed heads and two mullions with very slight cusping, except at nave W end, former schoolroom. Nave S side has joint to tower suggesting that tower is earlier. Flat eaves to W section, which has two earlier C19 segmental-pointed windows with cut grey stone voussoirs, wooden Y-tracery and leaded glazing. Big porch has later C19 fretted bargeboards, pointed arch with chamfered medieval long stones to jambs and medieval arch stones, but with C19 inserted jamb stones to raise arch. Inner pointed chamfered doorway and painted grained door with cover strips. Early stoup with square raised panel on three sides of canted front. Two right of porch are three three-light windows, the first one a C19 copy, the last one lighting the chancel, with a segmental-pointed chamfered priest's door to its left. Twin E gables with overhanging verges, each with 4-light Perp E window with ogee heads to lights and panel tracery. No structural joint between. N side of nave has rebuilt right end with blocked square-headed window of possibly ancient date, tooled stone lintel far overlapping tooled stone jambs, the lintel slightly cut-into for the head. Straight joint to piece of older wall with sloping base under a C17 or C18 two-light oak window with leaded lights and timber lintel, then a three-light segmental pointed window like those on S wall. In angle to NE chapel is a hipped C19 low building of squared stone with W door and small N single light. NE chapel has W gable overhanging at verge, similar medieval 3-light W window, and a plain later C19 pointed sandstone doorway to left. N wall has two similar 3-light windows, to centre and left, the centre one C19, the left one medieval.  

Within porch is C5 or C6 incised stone 'Rugniatio Livendoni' (the second word possibly an eroded Fili Vendoni) with two equal armed crosses one above the other, one encircled, probably added in C7 to C9. Possible Ogam marks on edge. Porch gives access to an earlier C19 whitewashed plastered passage with nave to right and former schoolroom now vestry to left. Stone flagged floor, six-panel door to left. Schoolroom and tower base not inspected: tower is said to have a stone with ring-cross incised over door and tall blocked tower arch. Schoolroom is said to have wood floor and flat ceiling, N wall blocked fireplace and a tablet of 1758. Double fielded-panelled 6-panel doors to nave. Fielded panels to corner cupboard. Nave has fine oak panelled roof in 12x25 small panels with moulded timbers. Green baize W door. N arcade to chapel of three bays, C15 octagonal piers and responds, with caps and bases, chamfered pointed arches. The N respond may be earlier. No chancel arch, one step to chancel, one step after chancel stalls, one step to sanctuary. Victorian encaustic tiles. NE chapel has similar roof of 10 x 18 panels. Two steps. Font: possibly C11, small bowl with band of raised crude quatrefoils divided by oval pellets, under a band of oval pellets. The rim has eroded zig-zags with an inscription in Runic letters, the only Welsh example, the Runic letters repeated in Lombardic 'Siwurd + Gwlmer'. Bowl is on a massive bell-shaped base with ring moulding at mid height, standing on a finely detailed square base, the coved top moulding with trefoil or fleur-de-lys ornament at corners. Ornate reredos and E end panelling of 1907 with carved vine-scroll cornice and cresting, the side panels with carved lily and passion-flower motifs, the reredos with wheat and vine flanking a cross with canopy. Pulpit, C18 on stone base of c 1904, pine fielded panelled three-sided front. Steps with turned balusters and panelled newels. Rails are wrought-iron with twisted standards and leaf scrolls. Stalls made up from old panelling. Pews have fielded panelled ends, with buttresses, fielded panelled backs and wall-panelling. Oil lamps on turned wooden standards, three on S, four on N. Metal boards with painted texts of Commandments at E end. Stained glass: E window of four lights to the Rev David Parry died 1877, Nativity, Presentation, Crucifixion and Ascension, and N aisle E window similar. Nave 3-light window c. 1930, by Powell of Whitefriars, Virgin Mary with SS Luke & John. Nave N window to Anne Jordan of Abersenny died 1962, St Mary, by Luxford Studios of New Barnet; N aisle N has two 3-light windows by Taylor & Clifton, one to Thomas family of Abersenny, 1906. Chancel S window, late C19 by Mayer of Munich to AM Story Maskelyne, the Sermon on the Mount. Nave S three-light to W. and M. Davies of Cwmwysg, 1925, by Jones & Willis, Light of the World with SS David and Cynog. Memorials: Above arcade, draped urn over neo-Grec plaque to Rev Walter Williams of Bayllia, died 1818. Nave memorials to Lewis Howell of Baylie died 1762; Mary Powell of Bailiae died 1739, signed by John William, with painted winged head; Gwellian Havard gent., died 1692. Aisle S wall plaque with three ovals and tiny relief Last Judgment figures to Watkin David Price of Neuadd died 1772, Ann Jones died 1777 and Evan David Price died 1764. Numerous incised floor slabs. N wall plaque to L.M. Downes of Gellybant, Llanddetty, and family from 1837; Jeffrey Williams died 1637 and two other C17 plaques; Jenkin Watkins of Bedwlwyn died 1767; alabaster and marble plaque of 1907 to Rev P Morgan died 1868, and family. E wall Thomas Probert, died 1744, with angle-heads, signed T, Brute; well-lettered plaque to Bridgett Debettot of Stoke Burford Salop died 1738; S wall oval plaque to Anne Hooton died 1746, signed by J. Gwyn. Chancel S marble Gothic memorial to Morgan family 1895; memorial with urn on grey marble, to Rev Thomas Williams of Trephilip died 1856. Neo-Grec memorial to Rev. D. Reynell died 1852 by Jennings of Hereford. Trapezoid neo-Grec memorial to Rev Thomas Williams died 1832; Rebecca and Jane Williams of Trephilip died 1869 and 1871, by king of Hereford; Samuel Jones saddler died 1855 and children to 1899.  

Reason for designation
Graded I as a complete late medieval parish church with remarkable ancient incised stone and early font.  

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