St Beuno's Church, Trefdraeth
|St Beuno's Church, Trefdraeth|
The south side of the church, with the transept and porch
|OS grid reference||SH 408 704|
|Country||Wales, United Kingdom|
|Denomination||Church in Wales|
|Founded||First church reportedly established 616; earliest parts of present building from 13th century|
|Heritage designation||Grade II*|
|Designated||30 January 1968|
|Length||59 feet (18 m)|
|Width||15 feet (4.6 m)|
|Materials||Rubble masonry and squared stones; slate roof|
|Parish||Trefdraeth with Aberffraw with Llangadwaladr with Cerrigceinwen|
|Diocese||Diocese of Bangor|
|Province||Province of Wales|
|Rector||Vacant since July 2010|
St Beuno's Church, Trefdraeth is a medieval parish church, in Anglesey, north Wales. Although one 19th-century historian stated that the first church on this location was established in 616, no part of any structure from that time survives; the oldest parts of the present building date from the 13th century. Alterations were made over the succeeding centuries, but few of them during the 19th century, a time when many other churches in Anglesey were being rebuilt or restored.
The church is still used for worship by the Church in Wales, one of four in a group of parishes, although as of 2012 there is no parish priest. It is a Grade II* listed building, a national designation given to "particularly important buildings of more than special interest", in particular because it is regarded as "an important example of a late Medieval rural church" with an unaltered simple design.
History and location
St Beuno's Church is in the centre of Trefdraeth, a hamlet in the south-west of Anglesey by Malltraeth Marsh, about 5 miles (8.0 km) to the south-west of the county town of Llangefni. It is set within a roughly circular llan (the Welsh term for an enclosed piece of land, particularly around a church) to the north of the road between Trefdraeth and Bethel.Beuno, a 7th-century Welsh saint, has several churches in north Wales dedicated to him.
According to Angharad Llwyd (a 19th-century historian of Anglesey), the first church on this site was reportedly established in 616. No part of any building from that period survives, and restoration over the years has removed much of the historical evidence for the church's development. The earliest parts of the present structure, the nave and the chancel, can be dated to the 13th century. The church shows signs of alterations and additions over the succeeding centuries. A transept or chapel was added to the south side of the chancel in the late 13th or early 14th century; the arch between them was once the archway between the chancel and the nave but was later moved. The bellcote at the west end of the roof was added in the 14th century; the porch on the south side of the nave was built in about 1500 (although its roof has a date of 1725); a doorway in the north wall of the nave, which is from the late 15th or early 16th century, now leads into a vestry added in the 19th century; and the roof is largely from the 17th century. Some repairs were carried out in the 1840s, with further repairs in 1854 under the supervision of Henry Kennedy (the diocesan architect).
St Beuno's is still used for worship by the Church in Wales. It is one of four churches in the group benefice (parishes combined under one priest) of Trefdraeth with Aberffraw with Llangadwaladr with Cerrigceinwen. Other churches in the benefice include St Beuno's Church, Aberffraw and St Cadwaladr's Church, Llangadwaladr. The church is within the deanery of Malltraeth, the archdeaconry of Bangor and the Diocese of Bangor. As of 2012, the parishes have been without an incumbent priest since 22 July 2010.
People associated with the church during its history include Henry Perry (a scholar of rhetoric, appointed priest in 1606);Griffith Williams (appointed rector in 1626 and Dean of Bangor in 1634);David Lloyd (rector during the late 1630s / early 1640s, and thereafter Dean of St Asaph);Robert Morgan (rector before and after the English Civil War, and Bishop of Bangor 1666–1673); and John Pryce (rector 1880–1902, Dean of Bangor 1902–1903).Henry Rowlands, Bishop of Bangor 1598–1616, was also rector of Trefdraeth during this time, as the income from the parish was attached to the bishopric.
Architecture and fittings
St Beuno's, which is built in the Decorated style, is mainly constructed with rubble masonry, although squared stones have been used to create courses in the nave's south wall and the lower part of the west wall. There are external buttresses at the west and east ends, the south porch and the south transept. The roof, which is made from hexagonal slates, has a stone bellcote at the west end. Internally, there is no structural division between the nave and the chancel except for the step up into the chancel. The nave and chancel together are 59 feet (18 m) long, and the church is 15 feet (4.6 m) wide. Near the eastern end of the church, there is a transept or chapel on the southern side of the chancel, from which it is separated by a step down and an arch. The transept measures 13 feet 9 inches (4.2 m) by 14 feet 6 inches (4.4 m).
The windows range in age from the late 14th or early 15th century to the 19th century. The oldest is the east window, in the chancel, which is in the form of a pointed arch with three lights (sections of window separated by mullions). It has stained glass of the crucifixion, installed as a memorial in 1907. The window, which dates from the late 14th or early 15th century, uses an 18th-century inscribed slate slab as its sill. The north wall of the nave has a window dating from about 1500, which was originally in the south wall. The west window is rectangular, again from about 1500. On the south side of the nave there are two early 19th-century windows set in square frames, one single light and one double light. The transept has a 19th-century arched window with two lights in its south wall, which contains the oldest stained glass in the church: 15th-century fragments of a crucifixion scene. It also has a pointed arched doorway in its west wall, from the late 13th or early 14th century.
The church is entered through the porch to the western end of the south wall of the nave, which leads to an arched doorway. The internal timbers of the roof, some of which are old, are exposed, although there is a decorated panelled barrel-vaulted ceiling above the sanctuary at the east end of the church. The transept roof largely dates from the 17th century. The cylindrical font, from the 12th century, is at the west end of the church. Four of its six panels are decorated with saltires; a fifth has a Celtic cross in knotwork with a ring; the sixth is blank. One author has pointed out the similarities with the fonts of St Cristiolus's Church, Llangristiolus, which is about 2 miles (3.2 km) away, and of St Beuno's Church, Pistyll, in the nearby county of Gwynedd. There are two slate plaques on the walls by the south door commemorating those who made donations to the poor of the parish; one has names from 1761, the other from 1766. On the opposite wall, a 17th-century slate plaque commemorates Hugh ap Richard Lewis and his wife Jane (died 1660 and 1661 respectively). The 1920 pulpit is in Arts and Crafts Movement style.
A survey by the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire in 1937 also noted the early 18th-century communion rails, a plain oak communion table dated 1731, and a wooden font cover dated 1714. Other memorials, including parts of an early 14th-century inscribed slab, were also recorded. Three items of church silver were included in the survey: a cup (dated 1610–1611), a paten (1719) and a flagon (1743). Externally, an 18th-century brass sundial on a slate pedestal was noted, as was a weathered decorated stone on the lych gate, thought to be from the 10th century.
The church has national recognition and statutory protection from alteration as it has been designated a Grade II* listed building – the second-highest of the three grades of listing, designating "particularly important buildings of more than special interest". It was given this status on 30 January 1968, and has been listed because it is "an important example of a late Medieval rural church". Cadw (the Welsh Assembly Government body responsible for the built heritage of Wales and the inclusion of Welsh buildings on the statutory lists) also notes that the church's "simple design [remained] unaltered during the extensive programme of church re-building and restoration on Anglesey in the 19th century."
Angharad Llwyd described the church in 1833 as "a small neat edifice", with "an east window of modern date and of good design". She noted that the parish registers, legible from 1550 onwards, were the second oldest in north Wales. In similar vein, the 19th-century writer Samuel Lewis said that the church was a "small plain edifice" that could hold nearly 300 people.
Writing in 1846, the clergyman and antiquarian Harry Longueville Jones said that the church "has been lately repaired in a judicious manner, but without any restoration of importance being attempted, and is in good condition". He added that with its "good condition this ranks as one of the better churches of the island." The Welsh politician and church historian Sir Stephen Glynne visited the church in October 1849. He said that the chapel on the south side resembled several others in Anglesey and Caernarfonshire. He also noted the new slate roof, the "mostly open and plain" seats, and the "very large cemetery ... commanding an extensive view".
A 2006 guide to the churches of Anglesey describes St Beuno's as being in "a pleasant and quiet rural location". It adds that the church was "fairly small" and the roof had "unusual ornately-shaped slates". A 2009 guide to the buildings of the region comments that "for once" Kennedy had repaired rather than replaced the church. It notes that "strangely" the chancel arch had been reset in the transept, and says that the nave roof was of "unusual construction".
- St Beuno's Church, Penmorfa – a church near Porthmadog on a site said to have been used by Beuno
- "Church in Wales: Benefices". Church in Wales. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- What is listing? (PDF). Cadw. 2005. p. 6. ISBN 1-85760-222-6.
- Cadw (2009). "Church of St. Beuno (Eglwys Beuno Sant)". Historic Wales. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Haslam, Richard; Orbach, Julian; Voelcker, Adam (2009). "Anglesey". The Buildings of Wales: Gwynedd. Yale University Press. pp. 224–225. ISBN 978-0-300-14169-6.
- Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire (1968) . "Trefdraeth". An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Anglesey. Her Majesty's Stationery Office. p. 147.
- Lloyd, John Edward (2009). "Beuno". Welsh Biography Online. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Llwyd, Angharad (2007) . A History of the Island of Mona. Llansadwrn, Anglesey: Llyfrau Magma. p. 171. ISBN 1-872773-73-7.
- "Deanery of Malltraeth: St Beuno, Trefdraeth". Church in Wales. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Hughes, Garfield Hopkin (2009). "Henry Perri". Welsh Biography Online. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Roberts, Griffith Thomas (2009). "Griffith Williams". Welsh Biography Online. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Jones, John James (2009). "David Lloyd". Welsh Biography Online. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Dodd, Arthur Herbert (2009). "Robert Morgan". Welsh Biography Online. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Jenkins, Robert Thomas (2009). "John Pryce". Welsh Biography Online. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Roberts, Glyn (2009). "Henry Rowland". Welsh Biography Online. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Rees, Elizabeth (2003). An essential guide to Celtic sites and their saints. Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-86012-318-7.
- Lewis, Samuel (1849). "Trêvdraeth (Trêf-Draeth)". A Topographical Dictionary of Wales. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Longueville Jones, Harry (July 1846). "Mona Mediaeva No. III". Archaeologia Cambrensis (Cambrian Archaeological Association) III: 297–298. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Glynne, Sir Stephen (1900). "Notes on the Older Churches of the Four Welsh Dioceses". Archaeologia Cambrensis. 5th (Cambrian Archaeological Association) XVII: 109. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
- Jones, Geraint I. L. (2006). Anglesey Churches. Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. pp. 126–127. ISBN 1-84527-089-4.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: St Beuno's Church, Trefdraeth|