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Church of St. Mary the Virgin

A Grade I Listed Building in Llanover, Monmouthshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.7731 / 51°46'23"N

Longitude: -2.9349 / 2°56'5"W

OS Eastings: 335587

OS Northings: 208684

OS Grid: SO355086

Mapcode National: GBR F9.ZDM6

Mapcode Global: VH79G.2PSL

Entry Name: Church of St. Mary the Virgin

Location: In a remote location close to the river Usk just over 1.5km north-east of the hamlet at Pant-y-goitre and reached along a by-road. Fine open churchyard, with beside the path, four later C19 headstones

County: Monmouthshire

Town: Abergavenny

Community: Llanover

Locality: Llanfair Kilgeddin

Traditional County: Monmouthshire

Listing Date: 9 January 1956

Last Amended: 9 December 2005

Grade: I

Source: Cadw

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Source ID: 2782

History

Simple medieval church, possibly mid to late C14, probably partly re-windowed in the C15, repaired in the C17, and largely rebuilt in 1873-6 by J D Sedding, the distinguished Arts and Crafts architect of London. Scheme of interior decoration 1888-90 by Heywood Sumner of the Art Workers' Guild, who executed the large and colourful sgraffito panels inside. The church was made redundant in 1982 and was in a state of decay when listed in 1986. It has since been repaired 1986-8, engineer Brian Morton, and taken into care by the Friends of Friendless Churches.

Exterior

Built with coursed and squared red sandstone rubble facings, ashlar dressings, natural slate roofs with ridge tiles. Nave with south porch and bellcote on west gable; lower chancel with north vestry.
The nave has a strong batter to the base of the walls. The external masonry is largely post-medieval above cill level on the south side, three bays with the added porch with moulded arch and pitched roof in the first bay; two Victorian 3-light windows with cusped heads and dripmoulds; small 2-light south window of c1875, date of pulpit within, which it lights. Steeply pitched roof with stone coped gables with crucifix finial and twin west bellcote with weathervane and cusped oculi. North nave windows and walling are largely late medieval; a 3-light and two 2-light Perpendicular ones with traceried heads and dripmoulds, the westerly one is Victorian. West gable front and bellcote, with south-west quoins dated 1634 and 1664, largely rebuilt by Sedding, in red sandstone ashlar with paler banding. Plain pointed west door with chamfered frame; pointed 2-light Decorated style window above with cusped heads and dripmould.
The chancel has on the south side a small priest's door with moulded jambs and a large 4-light Perpendicular window with recessed moulded frame. This seems partly old but is in largely rebuilt walling. East gable mainly rebuilt with Decorated style 3-light window by Sedding; this has quatrefoils in the head and a dripmould. The 2-light plate tracery north window of the chancel is medieval; gabled north vestry with ashlar chimney in Sedding style and 3-light cusped headed window with dripmould.

Interior

The interior retains a probably late medieval pointed timber wagon roof with a net of ribs and bosses to chancel; Victorian 4-bay arched brace nave roof with wall plates, two tiers of purlins and secondary rafters with ashlars; low chancel arch. Furnishings include medieval stained-glass fragments in the north chancel window; good mural tablets (incorporated into sgraffito panels); timber pulpit of 1875; chancel screen with some medieval woodwork and early C20 crucifix on rood beam; Victorian chancel tiles, reredos, stained-glass etc. Late medieval hexagonal font with cover, second font possibly Norman, the other furnishings and the tiled pavements are Sedding.
The remarkable feature of the church is the complete scheme of coloured sgraffito panels of extremely rare technique and of exceptionally bold quality commissioned by the Revd. Williams J C Lindsay in memory of his wife (died 1885). The cycle of subjects illustrates the 'Benedicte' with mountain and pastoral images, ploughed fields, all green things, the fowls of the air, beasts and cattle, the children of men, winged winds, winter and summer, the heavens etc. The west wall has figures representing the child authors of the 'Benedicte' with Gloria Patri figures over the west door. Over the chancel arch is a figure of Christ in Glory in a Mandorla. The chancel has Evangelist figures and angels combined with the Adoration and the Annunciation in stained-glass.

Reasons for Listing

Listed grade I for its special interest as a medieval church sensitively restored by J.D.Sedding, which has a remarkable series of sgraffito panels by Heywood Sumner. This complete decorative scheme is exceptionally important as one of a very small number of examples in the UK of a technique derived ultimately from Roman antiquity via the Renaissance, and revived in the 1870s.

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