Begelly – St Mary’s Church

History

   The church at Begelly was erected in the 13th century, initially dedicated to Saint Bugail, which in Celtic means “shepherd” and was probably honoring of a founder or Christ. Presumably still in the Middle Ages church was expanded and enlarged. In 1886 it was supposed to be in a very bad condition, so it underwent a thorough restoration, during which the roofs were repaired and the damaged door and window portals were reconstructed.

Architecture

   The church consists of a longitudinal, rectangular nave and a shorter chancel finished on the eastern side with a straight wall. The western side is occupied by a towering tower with a height of 21.5 meters and three floors, topped with a battlement. In the north – east corner, it has a turret with a staircase with 105 stairs. From the south, two annexes were added, one being the porch and the other sacristy. On the northern side, at the height of the chancel and partly nave, a second aisle was added on a rectangular plan. It was opened to the nave with one arcade, and to the chancel with two arcades. The chancel arch separating the presbytery from the nave is high and pointed. To the west of it are two corbels which formerly supported the rood loft. There are also five corbels on the southern wall which formerly supported the roof truss.

Current state

   The preserved to this day church, apart from the tower, has undergone a thorough Victorian renovation, so now it has largely medieval walls, but most of the architectural details have been replaced or renovated. A dozen or so carved stones, probably from the 15th century (dismantled tracery, stones with six-petal flower motifs) have been placed on shelves in the church.

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bibliography:
Salter M., The old parish churches of South-West Wales, Malvern 2003.

Website coflein.gov.uk, St Mary’s church, Begelly.
Website stmaryschurchbegelly.org.uk, History.