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Latitude: 51.8616 / 51°51'41"N
Longitude: -4.1297 / 4°7'47"W
OS Eastings: 253442
OS Northings: 220262
OS Grid: SN534202
Mapcode National: GBR DP.SY0Q
Mapcode Global: VH4J1.CGMQ
Entry Name: Church of St David (also known as Church of St Arthneu or St Arthney).
Listing Date: 30 November 1966
Last Amended: 19 May 1999
Source ID: 9390
Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Location: In centre of the village of Llanarthney. Stone-walled graveyard with lychgate [separately listed]. Graveyard extended to W. Numerous tombstones of a locally favoured tapering obelisk type; several enc
Locality: Llanarthney village
Traditional County: Carmarthenshire
The church is thought to have taken the place of an earlier one nearer to the Towy River, where the name Hên Llan is recorded. The tower, nave and chancel are perhaps of C13 origin; the primitive character and considerable projection of the tower gargoyles suggest the C13. The church was much enlarged in the late C15 or the C16 by the addition of a south aisle, which was given a separate doorway in its west wall. In the north face of the nave externally there is an inscribed stone dated 1682, apparently recording some extensive rebuild or repair; it displays the initials of six persons (W[alter] T[homas], C[hristopher] M[iddleton], CW, SR, TI and IH.) The arcade separating the nave and south aisle was removed in 1826 and a single roof spanning from north wall to south wall was formed, with a flat ceiling overall; this created a pre-ecclesiological conventicle type of interior (as at Llannon church). In later restorations the windows of the nave and the east window were restored; the stained glass of the east window is dated 1865. The interior was re-pewed. The rainwater heads of the chancel are dated 1873. A cross of the C10 or C11, which had been found in a field in the parish and subsequently used as a stile in the churchyard wall, was brought into the porch for preservation and display.
A church consisting of a nave and aisle under one roof, with west tower, chancel and vestry. Local sandstone rubble with original door and window dressings in red sandstone; restored C19 windows in oolitic limestone. The common masonry immediately around the latter openings is the only coursed work. Slate roofs with stone coped gables to east and west of nave and aisle and to east of chancel. Stone cross over the chancel gable. Cast-iron rainwater goods. There are extensive but very weathered traces of an accretion of limewash, especially on the north and south faces of the body of the church and on the east face of the vestry. The tower is unbuttressed and has large restored crenellations topped with roofing slates. The string course at the base of the parapet incorporates two carved grotesque gargoyles, discharging to south and west. The belfry lights to the north and west are paired, but the central mullion of the latter is now missing. Segmental belfry-light to south, probably C19. The east light has a late mediaeval four-centred arch. Minimal slit lights to the middle storey. The base storey has a high-level string course, raised to form a square label over the west doorway. The doorway has a plain-chamfered single-order two-centred arch. The lowest two metres of the tower, beneath the string course, are strongly battered. In places the tower masonry has been roughly rendered and scored with lines. Late-mediaeval doorway in the aisle west wall, with a two-centred chamfered arch set in a slight square-headed recess. Three windows each side, all C19, all consisting of two trefoiled lights with a quatrefoil toplight; simple label moulds. A similar window in the east wall of the vestry. The east window of the chancel is similar but of three lights, with a hexafoil top-light. Fixed to the south wall is a monument to three sons of Phillip Pryce Lloyd, all of whom died in infancy, 1779-84.
The porch is the base of the tower. The springing of the first-floor vault remains on all sides, but the crown is absent and replaced by a timber floor. In the porch the ancient Caercastell Cross is displayed, named from the field in which it was found: a shallowly carved wheel-head cross now in two pieces, with an inscription recording Elmon, or Elmat, 'fecit hanc crucem'; remainder of reading disputed.
The interior is remarkable for the lack of architectural division between nave and aisle; plain overall flat ceiling simply divided into two by a slight lateral rib, with another rib around the perimeter. There are pine pews in four ranges. Low plain-chamfered chancel arch, and a similar arch, blocked, which formerly led to the space which is now the vestry. The chancel is one step down from the nave, and its axis is noticeably inclined to the right of the nave axis; barrel-vault ceiling divided by ribs into square panels. The east window is dated 1865, in memory of David Williams of Abercothi, and depicts Christ between St Peter and St John. In the toplight is Moses with the tablets. The central south window is in memory of John Thomas Davies, 1913, who was the donor of the four bells. The window depicts the Resurrection and the Ascension. The body of the church has a small number of fine C18/C19 wall monuments. At north, a marble monument to William Rees of Capel Dewi, d.1759: broken pediment with urn; thin brackets and dark pilaster strips; ornamental apron beneath shelf. To its right is a Gothick monument to E H Adams of Middleton Hall, carved by E Griffin of Regent Street, 1843: figured cream marble with trefoiled inscription panel; side buttresses; small shield of arms on centre finial. Against the east wall is a monument dated 1848 to Mary Williams of Glasgoedfawr, sculpted by J Jones of Llanddarog; broken pediment with bust. At south, a monument, dated 1847, to Sir William and Dame Ann Paxton, died 1824 and 1846: broken round pediment with crested shield of arms and motto; Ionic pilasters; large consoles; inscription within an arch below the entablature; low relief portraits in the apron beneath.
Octagonal font in one stone, of hollowed profile. Organ c1900 by Nicholson of Worcester.
Listed at II* as a church retaining substantial mediaeval fabric in the body and tower, interestingly adapted in the early C19 in pre-ecclesiological manner, and possessing fine funerary monuments and an early cross.
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