St David’s Old Church, Llanwrtyd has received funding boost in time for Christmas in the shape of a £20,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent repairs to stonework and gutters which are allowing water into the church and damage to the nave floor.
The church is one of 93 churches and chapels in England, Wales and Scotland set to benefit from rescue funding of £680,230 from the National Churches Trust, the UK’s church support charity.
Huw Edwards, broadcaster and journalist and vice-president of the National Churches Trust, said: “At the heart of communities in cities, towns and villages, churches are a treasure trove of architecture, history and faith.
“I’m delighted that St David’s Old Church, Llanwrtyd is to be saved for the future with the help of a £20,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant.
“This will help ensure the future of this historic Welsh church, which is just 1.5 miles from Llanwrtyd Wells, and is extremely popular with local people and by victors from all over the world.”
Expert surveys have highlighted continuing water penetration problems to the church, causing deterioration of the fabric, particularly to the wooden floors. The presence of cement pointing to external walls has contributed to the problem. The repair project will help preserve this lovely church for many years.
At the same time the profile of the church will be improved through the provision of new display boards, production of brochures and creation of a new church web site depicting the rich history of the church, the local area and its famous incumbents.
The present church has a recorded history spanning more than 1,000 years. The site was reputed to have been chosen much earlier by St David himself for the promulgation of the Christian faith founded after the hugely significant synod at Llanddewibrefi in the year 519 A.D.
St David’s Church sits in idyllic isolation, positioned above the River Irfon some 1.5 miles from Llanwrtyd Wells – exuding peace and tranquillity. The church is on a popular tourist, walking, running and biking route, attracting visitors from all over the world.
The hymn writer, William Williams of Pantycelyn, was curate here from 1740-2 before leaving as a result of his non-conformist beliefs. He was under Rev Theophilus Evans (1693-1767) who discovered the healing properties of the waters at Llanwrtyd Wells.
Blaenau Irfon Benefice Parochial Church Council said: “The work when completed at St David’s Old Parish Church will ensure its continuance as a place of worship based its rich and esteemed history. It is also important to note that on completion of the works the church is set to attract many more visitors nationally and internationally by opening its doors to the wider secular community. We must say that the local community support for the project has been immense and is ongoing. Many generations of the ‘smallest town in the UK inhabitants’ have been interned in the old church’s cemetery.”