Coychurch – St Crallo’s Church

History

   Church of St. Crallo in Coychurch was erected in the 13th century, the first mention of it dates back to 1254. From the Middle Ages to 1877, it did not undergo any major modernizations. Only in the second half of the nineteenth century, renovation was necessary due to the collapse of the tower, which at the time destroyed the southern and partly northern transept. The reconstruction, based on the preserved church illustrations, was carried out by Welsh architect John Prichard.

Architecture

   The church was erected as a three-aisle, four-bay basilica on a cross plan, with a rectangular chancel on the eastern side, not large in relation to the nave, northern and southern transepts and a four-sided tower at the crossing. From the south, the entrance to the nave was preceded by a porch. The windows of the central nave in the clerestory had the form of a cinquefoil, but only on the south side, because the northern wall was left without openings. The windows of the aisles, transept and the chancel were narrow, quite high, topped with trefoils. The west façade was decorated with a large ogival window with a three-light tracery and a Gothic entrance portal, flanked by two rare quatrefoil windows. A large Gothic window with a tracery was also placed in the eastern wall of the chancel. Inside the open roof truss of the aisles and the wooden wagon roof of the central nave were based on moulded, pointed arcades falling onto octagonal pillars. The presbytery was also not vaulted, but only covered with an open, wooden truss.

Current state

   The church in Coychurch is called today the “cathedral of the Vale” because of its impressive and extensive form. It has retained the original layout to this day without any modern extensions, although the tower and the southern transept required reconstruction after the construction disaster. Inside the nave, the 15th-century roof truss and the late-medieval font have been preserved, while in the northern arm of the transept you can see the 14th-century effigy of the priest.

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bibliography:
Salter M., The old parish churches of Gwent, Glamorgan & Gower, Wolverhampton 2002.

Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.
Website britishlistedbuildings.co.uk, Church of St Crallo A Grade I Listed Building in Coychurch Lower (Llangrallo Isaf), Bridgend.