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Church of St Dingat

A Grade II* Listed Building in Llandovery, Carmarthenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.9914 / 51°59'29"N

Longitude: -3.8018 / 3°48'6"W

OS Eastings: 276376

OS Northings: 234086

OS Grid: SN763340

Mapcode National: GBR Y4.JMMB

Mapcode Global: VH5F3.16ZQ

Entry Name: Church of St Dingat

Listing Date: 8 March 1966

Last Amended: 18 June 2004

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 10991

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Situated in large churchyard towards SW edge of town.

County: Carmarthenshire

Community: Llandovery

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire

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Llandovery

History

Anglican parish church, late medieval with nave and lower-roofed chancel of same width, possibly C14, long parallel-roofed C15 S aisle with lower roofed E end of same width, C15 W tower and C19 N porch. Timber plain roofs of c1700 in nave and aisle, much altered in early C20. Fenton in 1804 describes a very old door with 2 carved escutcheons, one with the arms of Sir Rhys ap Thomas (died 1525). Repairs to the tower were proposed in 1827 and in 1842 2 large windows were put on the N side in place of 2 small ones and another in the tower to light an organ gallery recently inserted. Glynne in 1851, writing before the main restoration, described the church as having mostly modern windows on the N side, square-headed and rather poor windows on the S, small square-headed 3-light E window, and a N porch with a parvis lighted by a slit. The 2 new N windows may have been given new tracery in the restoration of 1850-4 by Fuller & Gingell of Bristol (architects of Llandovery College). Gingell appears to have been the partner involved. He rebuilt the arcade thinking the original late and mean, copying the S chancel arch. He also rewindowed the chancel, and refurnished the church resiting the organ and vestry in the E end of the S aisle. He may have added the N porch also.
George Borrow in 1854 thought it all 'sadly modernised'. A plaque in the S aisle records a reroofing in 1867, the organ was replaced 1874, a rainwater head dated 1882 records another restoration for £582, the tower top was rebuilt in 1899 for £600. Restored extensively by W D Caroe in 1904-6, who removed a W gallery, embellished the plain roofs and added new S aisle W window and doors, for £2,591, as a memorial to Vicar Prichard. Pulpit given 1908.
Caroe in 1904 thought the church tower possibly late C14, though the tower top and bell-windows particularly badly restored. He thought C14 also the chancel arch but dating features otherwise were lost in 'unscholarly, tasteless and injudicious restorations'. He dated the chancel 2 surviving windows to the C15, the S chancel aisle however not of the same date, though the aisle windows are C15. He found traces of a priest's door and low-side window in the aisle and marks of a door further W.

Exterior

Anglican parish church, rubble stone with red sandstone dressings to original windows, some C19 Bath stone tracery and some early C20 openings in red sandstone. Slate roofs and coped gables. Large W tower, nave, N porch, chancel, and parallel roofed S aisle with SE chapel.
Tower has deep splayed base with chamfered top moulding and pointed W door in red conglomerate stone, hollow moulded with double C19 boarded panelled doors. Stone voussoirs over, C19 sandstone small window with hoodmould. Two-light red stone Perp bell-opening with hoodmoulds, renewed on W and E, N original 2-light cusped with quatrefoil and no hood, S small medieval single light. Rough stone corbels to rebuilt parapet in rock-faced grey stone. N stair tower with 3 small loops in red stone and rebuilt parapet. N side also has medieval 2-light window with cusping and hoodmould and S side has cusped medieval single light, both at mid height.
Nave N has 3 large Bath stone C19 3-light Perp style windows with buttresses between and large C19 porch between first and second windows. First and third windows are in pink stone flush surrounds, second has pink stone jambs and stone voussoirs. Porch has plinth with large moulded top course, pointed arch with red stone jambs and pyramid stops to chamfers. Long narrow blank cusped panel in gable. Two trefoil small side windows. Inside porch is C19 2-bay roof, and deep chamfered surround to pointed N door. Double framed doors with diagonal boarding. Tiny chamfered pointed medieval light to left end of nave N wall.
Chancel N has medieval dark stone flat-headed 2-light window with cusping. Chancel N and E end walls have battered base, but on E end not extended as far as straight joint to S aisle E. 1882 cast-iron rainwater head between E gables. Small dark red stone late medieval 3-light pointed E window, stone similar to chancel N. Tiny C19 cusped lancet above in apex.
S aisle has early C20 4-light W window, voussoirs of blocked small opening to left. Early C20 boiler chamber sunk in front. S wall has late medieval 3-light window in red and grey stone surround with ogee panel tracery, early C20 S door in pointed surround recessed in cambered-headed frame. Panelled door with studs and good metal work. Second window is C19 copy also 3-light, second early C20 door with hoodmould, and third 3-light window is late medieval like first. E wall has battered base and C19 3-light grey stone window.

Interior

Plastered walls. Pointed plastered W tower arch to cambered tower ceiling, possibly a stone vault. Narrow pointed door to tower stair, hollow-moulded, painted grained board door. Winding stone stair with red stone newel and rubble steps. Nave has stone flags to broad centre aisle, C19 Bath stone 3-bay pointed arcade with octagonal piers, moulded caps and bases and broad chamfered arches. Medieval chamfered pointed broad high chancel arch with stone piers and arch, minimal imposts to chamfered piers with curved stepped stops, raised bracket on N pier. Nave roof has 9 collar trusses with wishbone struts and 4 purlins, some of timbers c1700 much embellished by Caroe with arched braces and traceried spandrels to the cambered collars, added brattishing to collars and corresponding purlins. N door is chamfered and pointed. N wall has square recess with chamfered jambs and renewed lintel. Tiny lancet to right is set in deep reveal. Chancel has 2 dark stone steps and flagstones including incised memorial slabs. Broad curved boarded C19 roof with brattished cornice and 2 tie-beam trusses with curved wishbone struts and added mouldings and brattishing. Encaustic tiles to sanctuary floor. Medieval broad S chancel arch on 2 octagonal piers with moulded caps and bases.
S aisle has divided E end chapel now with large C19 organ in front of vestry. Medieval stone segmental-pointed arch, shallow-curved panelled and boarded roof, C19 altered 1906-7. E window has Perpendicular tracery and inscription recording renewal in 1833. S window is late medieval, S door by Caroe in pink stone surround with moulded cambered head. S aisle has roof similar to nave, 8 collar-trusses with struts above, embellished with arched braces and spandrel tracery and brattishing to collars and some purlins, as on nave roof. Square recess to extreme left, S door by Caroe with moulded cambered head.
Fittings: Bowl font in conglomerate stone of uncertain date, possibly medieval, on octagonal limestone shaft, wholly covered in early C20 green-grey stone massive tapering square casing on 4 carved piers, each side with blind tracery and carved panel. Ornate Caen stone and marble pulpit given by E. Lewis of Llandingat 1908 with brass rails to stone steps, marble shafted base, and cusped ogee panels with carved figures of Evangelists and Good Shepherd, marble shafts at angles. Brass eagle lectern 1906. Brass standards to sanctuary rails. Oak stalls with pierced front band. Pine C19 W tower screen with Perpendicular style tracery. C19 pine pews.
Stained Glass: Nave N second 1908 by Jones & Willis; N third by Mayer of Munich to Walters family 1892; N tiny lancet has glass of c1930 monogrammed JWK. Chancel N window 1924 by Leonard Walker, fine quality Arts & Crafts style. Patterned glass of c1870 in E wall apex lancet. Deeply coloured E window of Crucifixion with SS Mary and John presumably also by Mayer to Maj G W Rice and Decima Vaughan Pryse (d 1893). S aisle second window by Mayer, highly coloured, 1886.
Memorials: W wall alabaster Gothic war memorial, possibly by Caroe c 1920. N wall bi-colour marble plaque with urn by J Thomas & Son of Brecon to Lt Col D Williams of Henllys, (d 1819); plaque to W Gwynne (d 1889); plaque to William Jones of Nantyrhogfen 1844 by D Beynon of Cilycwm; Capt V L T Lewes of St Mary's Cottage (d 1867) by Wood of Bristol; plaque to Rev W W Poole Hughes of Llandovery College (d 1921) buff stone with laurel; brass shield to Rachel Jones of Velindre (d 1896) and Lt Col D Jones killed on NW frontier 1897; draped urn and sarcophagus over plaque to Louisa Jones of Velindre (d 1855). Chancel floor has fine red marble slab to Thomas Hughes of Llwynybrain (d 1715), fossil marble slab to Walter Rice of Llwynybrain (d 1793) and to R H Rice of Milton, Laugharne (d 1853) by E Harries of Carmarthen. Chancel N wall, white marble scroll to Rice family of Llwynybrain 1844-87, by Wood of Bristol; marble scroll with book to Elizabeth Rice (d 1829); plaque to Eliza Rice (d 1846) with beheaded lily, moth and chrysalis. Earlier C20 tile plaque to Dorothea and Nest Pryse Rice given by the Red Cross. Chancel E egg-like urn with broken lily and willow over plaque to Caroline Rice (d 1810); Adam-style fluted urn over plaque with reversed torches on pilasters, by Tyley of Bristol, to Walter Rice (d 1793). S aisle marble ornate Gothic memorial to Rev Price Rees, professor of Welsh at Lampeter, (d 1839) by J E Thomas; large Gothic grey marble monument to William Rees of Tonn (d 1873) by J Beynon of Cilycwm.

Reasons for Listing

Graded II* as a substantial medieval church with fine W tower and much surviving medieval fabric. Good later memorials and stained glass.

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