Runston – St Keyna’s Church

History

   The church was built in the 12th century in the village, which first appeared in written sources in 1245 under the name Runston and in 1262 under the name Ryngeston. This name indicates that it had to be founded by a certain Rhuna or Runa whose descendants (or himself) founded a local church. It is not known when the settlement depopulated and why. This could be due to climate change or an epidemic. In the mid-16th century, only nine houses (of about 25 previously functioning) were inhabited in Runston. However, the church was used for funeral ceremonies until the 18th century. The last person was buried at the local cemetery in 1770, and in 1798 the entire village was described as completely abandoned.

Architecture

   The church was located in the now disappeared village of Runston on a small hill. It consisted of a rectangular nave and a narrower square chancel. In the next, but probably still medieval phase, a four-sided tower was added on the west side. Later, it was demolished, and a much smaller, partly embedded belfry was erected in its place.
   The chancel was originally illuminated by a pair of narrow windows in semi-circular niches, pierced in the north and south walls, and through a third window on the east facade axis. A small niche was placed in the southern wall, probably a piscina, and on the west side of the nave a narrow arcade with chamfered imposts and a semi-circular crown of carefully worked stone blocks. The nave, like the chancel, was illuminated by two narrow windows in semi-circular niches and pierced with portals on the north and south. Both entrances could be equipped with romanesque tympanums.

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bibliography:
Turner R., Chepstow Castle, Cardiff 2007.