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
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.
Situated in the heart of Coychurch village.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.