Llanddew – St David’s Church


   Llanddew church was built in the thirteenth, or perhaps even in the twelfth century. According to a local legend, Saint Eluned, daughter of Brychan, escaped here from an unwanted competitor around 500 and led the life of a nun until rejected competitor found her and cut off her head. The head of the saint was supposed to roll down the slope and stop by the yew, next to which a miraculous spring appeared, which became a place of pilgrimage. This well exists to this day.
   The church was rebuilt in the first half of the seventeenth century, then a tower was erected or rebuilt at the intersection of naves. After two hundred years it was mostly in ruins, only the nave was used. Renovation combined with a partial reconstruction, which mainly affected the western façade, was carried out in the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time a porch was raised on the south side.


   Originally, the church was probably a small, simple aisleless building on a rectangular plan without chancel. As a result of the expansion carried out in the 13th century, the building received the shape of a Latin cross with an older nave, two arms of the transept and a four-sided chancel on the eastern side. The original windows were narrow, pointed, with trefoils at the top. A triad of windows stood out, pierced in the eastern wall of the chancel, topped with pointed arcades connected to each other.

Current state

   St. David’s church in Llanddew is today considered the oldest sacral building in Brecknockshire. Its earliest part is probably the nave, pierced, like the chancel and transept, with narrow, pointed-arched windows, mostly from the 13th century. The tower at the crossing was added or significantly rebuilt in 1629, but it matches the style of the rest of the building. The porch in front of the southern entrance to the nave is also early modern. Inside, two stoups, a baptismal font and two carved lintels have been preserved from the medieval furnishings.

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Salter M., The old parish churches of Mid-Wales, Malvern 1997.

Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.
Website britainexpress.com, Llanddew, St David.