Church of St. Dunwyd was erected in the 12th century as a building consisting of nave and chancel. At the beginning of the fourteenth century, a tower was added, and at the end of that century the Lady Chapel. In the fifteenth century, the presbytery was rebuilt, in the next century nave was remodeled. In 1878, the nave of the building was renovated and in 1907 the tower was reconstructed.
The church was situated in a deep valley at the foot of the castle. Originally it consisted of a rectangular nave and a rectangular but narrower chancel on the eastern side. In the 14th century, a four-sided tower was attached to the nave on the west side. Initially, it was not buttressed, but was crowned with a parapet, typical for late-medieval Wales, mounted on corbels and a battlement. A much more rare was to place a similar parapet on corbels along the longer sides of the nave. In addition to the tower, at the end of the fourteenth century, a rectangular chapel was added to the north-west side of the chancel. In the 16th century, the northern entrance to the nave was preceded by a porch.
The elevations of the church were originally divided by small, probably lancee window openings. In the 14th century, they were replaced by large pointed windows filled with traceries (eastern wall of the chancel), and in the 15th century, large by three-light windows in four-sided frames with traceries topped with cinquefoils (southern wall of the nave). A unique window with a reticulated, three-light tracery in a four-sided jamb was set in the eastern wall of the chapel. The entrance portals were placed in the nave from both the north and south. A single portal also leads from the south to the chancel.
The church is such an important monument that it has been graded into the highest rank of the three-tier list of Welsh monuments. It owes it to the walls dating back to the Romanesque period, numerous Gothic architectural details, the fine preserved chapel at the presbytery, and associations with the located nearby castle.
Salter M., The old parish churches of Gwent, Glamorgan & Gower, Wolverhampton 2002.
Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.
Website britishlistedbuildings.co.uk, Church of St Donat A Grade I Listed Building in St Donat’s, Vale of Glamorgan.
Website coflein.gov.uk, St Dunwyd, St Donat’s church.