Partrishow – St Ishow’s Church


   According to tradition, in the 6th century, in the area of the later Partrishow, the hermitage was founded by Saint Ishow (Issui). He also had a well, powered by the water of a nearby stream, which became a place of pilgrimage after being murdered by an random traveler. In the middle of the 11th century, the first stone church was erected from pilgrims’ donations, completely rebuilt in the 13th and enlarged at the end of the 15th century. Apparently, in the temple preached in 1188, a well-known chronicler, monk and writer Gerald (Giraldus Cambrensis), during his trip around Wales. The church survived the reformation without damage, its double altars were spared from the order of Edward VI in 1550. The church also successfully escaped Victorian reconstruction and was carefully restored in 1908-1909.


   The church, situated on the slope of the hill, was originally a small, aisleless building on a rectangular plan. In the thirteenth century, a small chapel was asymmetrically added to the west wall, supposedly located above the tomb of St. Ishow. In the 16th century, the church was enlarged by a four-sided chancel on the eastern side and a porch located in front of the entrance, at the southern wall of the nave. The chancel received a slightly narrower spacing of the longitudinal walls and a shorter length. It opened onto the nave with a slightly pointed arcade, preceded by a wooden rood screen. To get to the loft of the latter, the north-eastern part of the nave walls was rebuilt. It were bolded to accommodate  stairs.

Current state

   The present nave of the picturesque church comes from the 13th century, although its windows on the south side were made in the Parpendicular Gothic style in the 16th century. The northern side of the nave has no windows. A porch from the 15th century adjoins the nave from the south, the barrel roof truss of the nave comes from the 16th century, while the chancel is separated from the nave by a magnificent oak rood screen from 1500, decorated with elaborate woodcarving. In addition, the 11th-century baptismal font and fragments of wall polychromes have been preserved in the church. On the west wall is a painting depicting biblical Day of Judgment. Even more impressive is the striking personification of Time, in the form of a skeleton holding a scythe, an hourglass, and a shovel.

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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, St Ishow’s church, Partrishow.
Website, St Issui’s Church, Partrishow.