The church of St. Teilo was built in the twelfth or thirteenth century, originally in the bend of the river near Pontardawe in Glamorgan. It performed sacral functions regularly until 1850, and then was used only in the summer months. In 1970 it was abandoned, and after fourteen years it was dismantled and transferred to St Fagans. Its appearance from the 16th century was carefully reconstructed, including the 15th-century paintings discovered just before the transfer.
The oldest element of the church was a rectangular nave and a slightly narrower, short, four-sided chancel on the eastern side. In the 14th century, chapels were added on the north and south sides of the chancel, and at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries, the church was enlarged from the south by adding a new aisle, only slightly shorter than the entire nave of the church with the presbytery. The original southern wall of the nave was then replaced with two arcades, with the third arcade opened towards the chancel. A porch was also added at the entrance portal to the southern aisle. In the 15th century, the interior of the church was decorated with wall frescoes.
Today the church is in a new location in the St Fagans open-air museum, where it has been carefully restored using original elements. Even the wall polychromes, reflecting the decor of the late medieval temple, have been reconstructed. The oldest preserved element of the church’s furnishings is a stone baptismal font, which probably dates back to the 13th century. The wooden ceiling is a typical example of a 15th-century roof truss with horizontal collar beams.
Salter M., The old parish churches of Gwent, Glamorgan & Gower, Malvern 2002.
Website museum.wales, St Teilo’s Church.
Website wikipedia.org, St Teilo’s Church, Llandeilo Tal-y-bont.