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Latitude: 51.7707 / 51°46'14"N
Longitude: -4.3926 / 4°23'33"W
OS Eastings: 235009
OS Northings: 210708
OS Grid: SN350107
Mapcode National: GBR DB.ZR2J
Mapcode Global: VH3LT.TR4G
Entry Name: Church of St Ystyffan
Listing Date: 30 November 1966
Last Amended: 5 November 2002
Source ID: 9404
Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Location: Within a stone walled cemetery, on the SW corner of the junction of High Street and Church Street.
Traditional County: Carmarthenshire
The first church here was probably founded c650, possibly by St Ystyffan. The Normans rebuilt the church soon after c1112. The dedication was changed to St Stephen, and remained so until the 1960s. In the 1170s the church was granted to the Knights Hospitaller of the Order of St John at Slebech. The present nave was built in the C13. The transepts were added in the mid to late C15. Porch added c1550. A chapel was added to the N Transept c1700 for the Lloyd family of Lacques. In 1710, the same chapel was described as roofless and in danger of falling down. In 1829 the medieval windows were enlarged and a new oak pulpit and reredos installed to plans by David Morgan. In 1844 the church was re-roofed and a gallery inserted by J L Collard. In 1869, Miss Lloyd of Lacques paid Mr Griff Davies for making a new freestone font. The church was extensively renovated, at the expense of Henry Parnall, in 1872, with the arch between the nave and tower blocked and new open pews installed. Two new windows were placed in the transepts at this time. A tablet commemorating this work was unveiled in 1874. A peal of 8 church bells were donated by Parnall in 1875. Further renovations were carried out in 1884-5. In 1887, Ann Parnall donated a 2-manual organ by Redlake of London, and further alterations to the building were conducted at a cost of £400, these included the clock for the tower. In 1894, E. Collier, architect, had repairs undertaken to the tower. Stained glass windows by John Petts, resident in Llansteffan, were installed in 1974, 1980 and 1982.
Medieval parish church with C19 restorations, on a cruciform plan. W tower, nave, lower chancel, N and S transepts, S porch and NE and S chapels. All bar tower in whitewashed rubble stone with pitched slate roofs, shouldered gables with stone coping. Ashlar square-headed 2-light long windows with trefoil heads and hoodmoulds. C15 tower in coursed rubble, tapered but unbuttressed, with battered plinth beneath raised string course level with arch springs to W door. Projecting embattled parapet on stone corbels with higher stair turret to NE angle. Single trefoiled louvred bell openings to N, E and S faces, with smaller arched headed opening to W. Vent loops to turret and blocked 2nd storey ogee-headed opening to N with later small arched headed opening with stone sill immediately above. W side has broad pointed arched-headed ground floor door with recessed stone voussoirs and slate hood over. Paired boarded timber doors. Above is flat-headed 3-light traceried window dated '1869' with arched heads and incised spandrels. Stone voussoir relieving arch over, beneath offset slate gabled hood.
N side has two window nave with earlier voussoir arches above present openings, N Transept has one window to N. Similar window to N side of NE Lacques chapel. E end has one window to Laques Chapel and one to chancel, equally sized in matching style. S chancel wall has arched-headed deeply-recessed 4-panel timber door with arched heads to upper panels. Chamfered sandstone dressings and hoodmould. Jambs rise from plinth blocks. Single light to left. S transept, E side has blocked window with stone voussoirs over, with small slate inset datestone '1807'. S end 2-light window. S porch to left. Arched head with stone voussoirs above later C20 boarded timber double door with coloured glazing to upper panels forming a circle to centre. Stone above set into wall 'Notice. All the sittings in this church are free. Rev B Evans Vicar. John Davies, Henry Parnall Churchwardens. 1873'. One 2-light window with stone voussoirs visible above to left of porch. Painted cast-iron rainwater goods throughout.
Rendered aiseless interior, with broad curved ribbed plaster ceilings of 1844-5 and crude plastered pointed arches without mouldings, splays or capitals. In N transept is a hagioscope or "squint" to altar. N transept ceiling has small stucco rose with margins and light foliate design to centre, late C17 to early C18. Lloyd Chapel to NE added mid C16 has 2-bay arcade of roughly 4-centred arches on large square pier, with simple cap and earlier C19 roof of bolted timber trusses and double purlins. Large stone corbels above arcade to chancel. Porch contains place for stoup and niche above inner door, formerly for image of the Virgin Mary. Plain arched stone piscina to chancel. C12 font with large, square scalloped bowl, and later rounded shaft on C15 base reused from an old tomb, decorated with square rosettes. 1869 scalloped freestone font imitates original. Pitch pine pews with lightly carved terminals. Large 1887 pipe organ by Redlake of London, with gilded decoration to pipes and timber panelling. Carved 3-sided later C19 timber pulpit, with 2-light and quatrefoil blind tracery to panels, and carved cornice.
Stained Glass - Nave NW of c.1885, Empty Tomb; Nave N. - Faith and Charity, c.1886; Nave SW, Life of Christ, c.1884. All richly coloured with some elaborate canopy work. Makers unknown. S. Transept S - Good Samaritan, 1881; Chancel E - John Petts of Llansteffan, 1980 - a swirl of symbols and monograms in pink and orange hues. Decorative glass by Petts also in S porch, 1974. Aisle E - Christ and Mary Magdelene, 1953, Celtic Studios. Chancel S of 1956.
Monuments - Lacques Chapel - 2 hatchments - Rice Lloyd, 1622 within chancel arcade, inside C19 railings. Flat stone slab with marginal inscription and large incised shield. Rev. William Lloyd, 1706, with partly Latin inscription, on floor in Lacques Chapel. Lloyd memorials in the same location, dated 1670, 1718 and 1795. Chancel S - Richard Howell, 1820, vast tablet framing an oval inscription; tall draped urn - signed by D. Hewett & Co., Bristol. Anne Lloyd, 1831, Greek carved detail to pediment, by H. Wood, Bristol. Chancel N - Commander Henry Lloyd, drowned at sea, 1832 - large tablet with naval equipment above. Mary Morris, 1835 - large Neoclassical tablet by Daniel Mainwaring, with fluted pilasters, tapering downwards and fluted frieze with side urns flanking larger central urn. Chancel N - William Lloyd, 1840 - Large, framed marble tablet, open book to pediment, by H. Wood. Chancel S - Captain Henry Davidson, 1842 - large scene depicting weeping woman before a sarcophagus bearing urns with drooping palm fronds, by Bedford of London. Mary Charles, 1873 - tall tablet with simple Greek detail, signed by T. Tyley, Bristol. Nave S - Rev. Benjamin Evans, 1885 - Gothic and gabled, with crockets. Nave N - Robert Parnall, 1885 - very elaborate Gothic piece, having Alabaster cusped frame with coloured colonettes. Marble tablet in porch with mosaic surround and Bathstone frame commemorates 1874 restoration at the expense of Henry Parnall.
Wall Paintings - in the S Transept, a few traces of a black-lettered Welsh inscription survive - perhaps the Welsh Apostle's Creed of either 1567 or 1621. In the N Transept, further traces of paintings, including a representation of a harp.
Included at II* as an exceptionally good restored medieval church, retaining many medieval features including chancel N arcade. Good monuments and interesting C19 and C20 stained glass.
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