Church of St Crallo, Coychurch Lower
Description: Church of St Crallo
Date Listed: 26 July 1963
Cadw Building ID: 11252
OS Grid Coordinates: 293962, 179693
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5057, -3.5280
Location: Coychurch, Bridgend, Bridgend CF35 5EH
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There is also a scheduled monument, Coychurch Celtic Cross-Shaft in Church, at the same location as this building or very close to it. This may be related in some way or possibly a different name for the same structure.
Situated in the heart of Coychurch village.
Mid to late C13 collegiate church, the site of the collegiate buildings to S. Restored by J Prichard 1871. Crossing tower fell 1877 and also destroyed N transept; both rebuilt 1888 by F R Kempson. Known as the Cathedral of the Vale of Glamorgan.
Nave of 4 bays is high and narrow and has N and S arcades of octagonal piers with plain moulded capitals and bases standing on rectangular plinths and 2 order arches with plain hood moulds, one foliage stop only; E ends die into wall with a face stop on N side. Cinquefoil S clerestory lights are in segmental pointed arched splays; quatrefoil W aisle windows are in deep diamond shaped splays; aisle lancets all have deep splays; S door has higher segmental pointed arched surround. Engraved glass 1963 by Frank Roper to all W windows; aisle windows have mid C20 stained glass by Celtic Studios; memorial to Thomas Richards lexicographer died 1790 by Ieuan Rees 1990; early C19 stone benefaction tablet by S door; late medieval font is octagonal with shaft broached to a rectangular base; wooden pulpit by Prichard 1871 . Open medieval wagon roof to nave has 9 panels, wooden foliage bosses at intersections and a shield-bearing angel restored C19 at the base of each rib. E end of nave has 2 bay ceilure over former rood loft, with high square headed doorway in N wall and corner gallery at NE between 2 pointed arched doorways from stairs to tower; ground floor entrance is in wall behind pulpit. Crossing is symmetrical and comprises four 2 ordered pointed arches with hoodmoulds terminating in face stops, the arches dying into the walls; 9 panelled roof is supported on plain corbels with moulded beams and bosses.
N transept has against N wall a C14 effigy of praying monk with fine detail on a plain tomb chest, probably from St Crallo's College; effigy to Sir Thomas Evan clerk of Coychurch d 1591, in flat relief and with surrounding inscription; C18 memento mori tablet to Richard Howell on W wall; C18-19 marble wall monuments to Thomas family including large tablet with Doric entablature and crest to Edward Thomas and neo-classical tablet to Morgan Thomas signed E Morgan of Canton. Deep splay to N window; C19 wooden screen. S transept has green and white quarries to windows. Timber roofing to transepts and chancel is C19 from Prichard's restoration.
Chancel and sanctuary have N and S windows with deep splays with segmental arched heads defined with continuous hood mould; closely set they form an arcade; exposed stone dressings; one low set face stop; on N side below continuous sill, which accommodates it, is a small pointed arched recess probably an aumbry; to S side is an arcade of piscina and sedilia, consisting of 4 pointed chamfered arches under steep saddleback ridged hoods. Chancel and sanctuary have decorative quarry tiled floor; C20 wooden furnishings to sanctuary.
Two important early Christian crosses are housed in the church, reported in 1887 as in the churchyard. Formerly E of church now in S aisle is the lower part of a cross shaft with key and interlace pattern believed to be inscribed Ebissar founder of church rests here (trans. Latin); name known at nearby foundation of Llantwit Major. Formerly S of church, reputedly marking burial place of St Crallo founder of church, now in N aisle is shaft with interlace and Maltese cross head, C10-C11, replica in National Museum of Wales.
Cruciform plan of 4 bay nave, N and S lean-to aisles, S porch, crossing tower and N and S transepts, chancel. Early work of roughly coursed rubble, Victorian rebuilding in coursed or snecked rockfaced stone, with ashlar dressings; mostly Welsh slate roof though thick slates to porch; ashlar coping and gable finials.
West gabled frontage has 3 mullioned lancets within a deeply splayed arched surround with hoodmould; below is the W pointed arched doorway of 2 orders with hoodmould, single detached shafts with shaft rings; 2 tall flanking buttresses with saddleback hoods and single offset reach aisle roof height at division of nave and aisles; each aisle has a quatrefoil window under segmental pointed arched voussoirs; continuous roll moulding to battered plinth; angle buttresses N and S with offsets and splayed bases.
S nave has a range of cinquefoil clerestory windows under segmental pointed arched roll mouldings except for E which is a post-medieval 2 light square headed window with chamfered mullion; bracket corbels at wallplate level carry gutters. S aisle has 3 simple lancets with lightly cusped heads under heavy pointed arched roll mouldings and a moulded stone channel at gutter level. Gabled S porch has a two ordered pointed arched doorway with roll moulded hood with foliage stops, no piers, the arches dying out at impost level; bracket corbels similar to nave, stone ridge; pointed arched inner doorway of 2 orders of roll mouldings, hoodmould and face stops, repaired timber arch braced roof with moulded principals and purlins, stone seats to sides. S transept, C19 rebuild, has steep pitched roof, closely bracketed eaves, angle buttresses with battered plinth and roll moulded stringcourse; continuous stringcourse at top of buttresses becomes a hoodmould over 3 light S window with intersecting tracery and 2 trefoil headed lancets to E.
S chancel, masonry part medieval part C19, has hoodmould continuing over 4 close set trefoil headed lancets with chamfered surrounds; pointed chamfered arched priests' door; closely bracketed eaves; at SE and NE unusual heavy splayed buttresses across the angle with divided offsets. E window is large with 3 trefoil headed lights with intersecting tracery under a hood mould, similar to S transept; kneelers and string course at top of buttresses.
Tower, C19 rebuild, is battlemented with corbelled string beneath ending in large corner gargoyles; 2 light trefoil headed openings under square hood mould and relieving arch to ringing chamber and 2 light square headed chamfered mullioned windows below.
N chancel similar to S, though largely medieval masonry, with added boilerhouse and no E windows; splayed buttresses similar to chancel across NE and NW angles; N window has triple trefoil headed lancets under a relieving arch. N aisle has a range of 4 windows similar to S aisle, blocked central doorway, moulded eaves channel. N nave has bracketed eaves, no clerestory lights, rectangular staircase tower projection with 2 light mullioned square headed window at NE.
Churchyard is surrounded by a rubble wall with saddleback coping in places, a high opening with later brick arch to Rectory S, the site of former College; main entrance to N with high gate piers of coursed stone with finials and iron double gates; further entrance W with rockfaced stone piers and iron gate.
Reason for Listing
Listed Grade I as a building of outstanding architectural quality with the design and much of the fabric of C13 intact and for group value with the churchyard cross, a group of 3 table tombs by S door and the tomb of Thomas Richards SE.
Newman J, Glamorgan, Buildings of Wales series, 1995, p 333;
Lapidarium Walliae, 1887.
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.Notes:
Situated in the heart of Coychurch village.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.