Description: Church of St Jerome, Llangwm Uchaf
Date Listed: 19 August 1955
Cadw Building ID: 2028
OS Grid Coordinates: 343290, 200557
Latitude/Longitude: 51.7004, -2.8207
Situated some 500m E of Llangwm Isaf church, in isolated site at end of lane.
Anglican parish church first recorded in 1128; surviving fabric C13 to late C15, external masonry may be C13, but all detail restored, NE tower is C15. Late C15 or early C16 screen, one of the finest in Britain, though much restored. The church was ruinous in the C19 according to J. P. Seddon who carried out the main restoration from 1863-71 (a rainwater head is dated 1869). Seddon thought the small windows and 2-light W window with circle suggested a C13 date. The chancel was restored in 1871 also, but apparently by Ewan Christian, though the fittings are all by Seddon, and of exceptional quality, notably the High Victorian pulpit and font, the chancel pavement and the E window glass. Seddon exhibited his drawing of the screen at the Royal Academy and Architectural Association in 1878. There had been minor repairs for £20/8s/3d (£20.42) in 1848 and the main restoration was proposed in 1858 but not started until 1863. By 1869 the nave walls and the porch had been rebuilt. The church was re-opened 19/10/1871.
The noted Puritan the Rev. Walter Cradoc c1610-59 who was born at Trevella in the parish, returned as vicar in 1655 and is buried in the church.
Plastered and whitewashed interior with C19 stone reveals, segmental pointed arches with stone voussoirs. C19 open rafter roof to nave with arch-braced rafters and brattished wall-plate. Three pink stone steps up from nave and single marble step under screen (see below) which extends right across nave E end. Fine chancel arch behind of 4 chamfers, similar E and W sides, dying into chamfered piers and carried each side on remarkable carved 'green man' corbels. Chancel has scissor-rafter C19 roof, plastered walls except on N side where a broad segmental pointed moulded arch opens into the tower base, the inner mouldings dying into the side piers. Wave mouldings and diagonal stops. Small squint cut through right pier. Tower base has segmental-pointed reveal to window each side, and C19 flat 9-panel timber ceiling. Original stair tower door on W side, Tudor-arched. One step into tower base, 3 bull-nosed steps up to sanctuary. Chancel S window has C19 half-round stone seat in embrasure and small pointed piscina to left.
Screen of exceptional richness and complexity, much restored by Seddon, who added the colouring. Some 19' width, the lower screen itself 18-panel, 7 panels each side of 2x2-panel doors. Linenfold and traceried lower panels, carved band, and traceried open upper panels. Carved and moulded head beam over with 3 bands of ornament, then deep cove (all renewed) of 3x18 square panels with bosses. Above, an intricately carved massive bressumer under loft, nearly 2' deep with 5 bands of undercut moulding. The leaf-carved valance beneath is continued around the curves of 2 fine traceried side brackets on corbels, the tracery restored by Seddon. The loft front has delicate cresting below 18-panel front with intricate tracery in all the panels. The upper beam, some 1'4" deep, is intricately moulded in 3 bands with carved enrichments above and below. The rear of the screen is much plainer, panelled with coved beam at loft level and rough plank panelling in arch pierced with tiny lancets.
Ornate High Victorian font of unusual design, hexagonal bowl, chamfered rim with raised rosettes, underside deeply splayed in to squat marble hexagonal shaft ringed by six ornate columns with highly carved foliate round capitals, marble shafts and moulded round bases. The bases spring from sides of a steeply chamfered hexagonal plinth which carries the base of the centre shaft. Ornate High Victorian round ashlar pulpit on 5 marble columns ringing a sixth, with moulded caps and bases, on 10-sided ashlar plinth. Five trefoil-cusped panels open above small curved panels with brattishing above square rosette. Heavy moulded top cornice. Stone steps up from E. Oak lectern with gabled rotating top, bookrests on 2 sides. In chancel exceptional C19 tiled pavement designed by Seddon made by Godwin to cross pattern overall with panels of encaustic tiles to Gothic designs including the Lamb of God. Other tile panels here and in tower base and sanctuary depict 7 virtues, cherubim, a kneeling priest, and triple lamp. Tiles also to fronts of sanctuary steps. High Victorian wrought iron standards to communion rail. Pink marble pointed cusped niche on chancel N wall. E window by Seddon, Gabriel and Mary, in browns and blues on turquoise ground.
On S wall plaque perhaps from C18 repair: `John Gwin Esq. Robert Wilson Churchwardens 1721 AD'. By chancel arch brass plaque to Rev. William Price d1890 who 'restored both churches, built the school and renovated the screen'. Chancel S plaque to Richard Creed d 1690, son-in-law of the noted Puritan minister and vicar of Llangwm, the Rev. Walter Cradoc, secretary to Admirals Blake and Montagu and later schoolmaster at Llangwm.
Parish church, purple rubble stone with stone tiled roof to nave, small slates to chancel, and coped gables. Large scale, nave and chancel with S porch and NE tower. All the detail is apparently C19, though where purple sandstone dressings are used, considerably eroded. W end has C19 cornerstones, renewed plate traceried W window of 2 cusped lights and roundel with stone voussoirs, and chamfered pointed W door with gabled stone hood. Small quatrefoil vent in gable apex, eroded corbel or head above. Nave S side walling looks mostly rebuilt, pair of cusped lancets to left of large C19 porch with battered side walls, stone tiles, coped gable and broad chamfered slightly pointed entry with stone voussoirs. Rafter roof within and stone seats. Late medieval pointed chamfered S door with barred rounded stops and C19 plank door. To right of porch, cusped lancet, and large renewed flat-headed 4-light Perpendicular style window with ogee heads to lights. Chancel S has C19 lancet each side of C19 narrow pointed door. E end small pair of renewed cusped lancets. N side to left of tower is windowless with cast-iron rainwater head dated 1869. Nave N has battered wall-base and possibly medieval stonework. Severely plain with 3 small C19 cusped lancets and larger pair to left. Fine 2-stage NE tower in eroded squared stone. Polygonal SW stair turret, raised plinth and embattled parapets. Plinth is battered with coved moulding, lower stage has recessed small ogee-traceried single lights and small rectangular light higher up under string course. Upper stage has small chamfered flat-headed paired bell-lights, with C19 pierced ashlar infill. Coved cornice under parapets. W side has stair turret projecting to right, so openings are all left of centre. Datestone on NE corner 'AMDG restored 1918'.
Reason for Listing
Graded I as a medieval church with large and unusually positioned NE tower, outstanding carved late medieval screen and for the outstanding quality of the restoration work by J.P. Seddon.
Sir J. Bradney, History of Monmouthshire, 3, 1923 161;
J.P. Seddon, Llangwm Uchaf church and rood screen, 1884;
M. Darby, J.P. Seddon, 1983, p 74;
Howell & Beazley, Companion Guide to S. Wales, 1977, p 187;
The Ecclesiologist, 1858, p 203;
The Builder 12/6/1858: Advertisement for tenders;
Archaeologia Cambrensis, 1877, p 40;
Building News, 1/9/1871, p 1507;
The Church Builder, 1876, pp 30-5;
Lambeth Palace: ICBS plans, 5240;
Victoria & Albert Museum, D 2045-1896 plan of chancel pavement, U3/1 design for lectern;
Royal Institute of British Architects, Drawings Collection: design for lectern;
Cardiff Naturalists Society, Vol 15-17, 1883-5, pp 53-55.
Situated some 500m E of Llangwm Isaf church, in isolated site at end of lane.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.