Llansteffan – St Stephen’s Church

History

   The first church in Llansteffan was probably built around 650 by Saint Ystyffan. In Norman times, around 1112, it was rebuilt and around 1170 granted to the Order of Knights Chospitaller in Slebech by Geoffrey Marmion. The donation included a fishery and ferry across the river and was confirmed in 1231-1247, 1328. After the dissolution of the order, the church passed into the hands of the Crown, and then under the private patronage. In 1700, the northern chapel of Lloyds of Lacques was added, stylistically referring to the rest of the building. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the church was renovated. Subsequent repairs were carried out in 1995-1997, when all roofs were replaced.

Architecture

   Built of erratic limestone, the church originally consisted of a thirteenth-century rectangular nave with three bays in length, enlarged in the fourteenth century by a rectangular chancel with two bays and a piscina in the southern wall, the northern and southern arms of the transept, and a porch on the southern side, attached to the southern arm of the transept. At the end of the fifteenth or early sixteenth century, a three-storey four-sided tower was erected on the west side of the nave. It was crowned with a parapet on corbels and a battlement, and on the north-eastern side it received a protruding turret with a staircase. The northern chapel was added the latest, of length equal to that of the chancel (dated to the 16th or late 17th century). The interior of the church was originally covered with wall polychromes, of which only small fragments remain.

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

Website coflein.gov.uk, St Stephen’s church, Llansteffan.