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Church of St Cein

A Grade II* Listed Building in Garw Valley, Bridgend

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Latitude: 51.58 / 51°34'48"N

Longitude: -3.5531 / 3°33'11"W

OS Eastings: 292478

OS Northings: 187941

OS Grid: SS924879

Mapcode National: GBR HF.CNZ4

Mapcode Global: VH5H5.CKG3

Entry Name: Church of St Cein

Listing Date: 8 October 1990

Last Amended: 30 July 1997

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 18635

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Situated on the hilltop approx 2 km NE Llangeinor, reached from the road that links Garw and Ogmore Valleys, centre of a small rural settlement.

County: Bridgend

Community: Garw Valley (Cwm Garw)

Community: Garw Valley

Locality: Llangeinor

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Medieval church dedicated to a Celtic saint, possibly on an early medieval site though present building believed to have been founded in C12 after Norman expansion into Vale of Glamorgan, the Lordship of Ogmore unusually consisting not only of the lowland Vale but this upland area known as Eglwysceinor or Ceinwyr. Under Maurice de Londres who held Lordship of Ogmore from 1126, flocks owned by Cistercian monks from Margam Abbey grazed these upland pastures, the monastic connection surviving in nearby place names Cae and Ty Abbot. Most surviving medieval fabric of church dates from a probably C15 - C16 rebuilding. Major restoration by G Halliday 1894, Llandaff Diocesan Architect, paid for by Miss Olive Talbot of Margam cost £3000, and is responsible for much of the present appearance of the church.


Plan of W tower, S porch, aisleless nave and narrower, lower chancel. Built of sandstone rubble, mostly snecked to chancel but reusing some old fabric, with ashlar dressings; thick slate roofs with crucifix finials and gable parapets; weathercoursing of earlier roof visible on E face of tower and E gable end of nave; overhanging eaves. The large square late medieval 3 stage W tower has deep corbelled and crenellated parapet with ashlar dressings and 2 light louvred belfry windows with stopped labels to square heads; on W face the vertically laid stones forming a cambered arch externally appear as a relieving arch but internally suggest a blocked opening; lower down there is a relieving arch over a 3 light window with cusped ogee and stilted label ornament; medieval chamfered segmental arched doorway below with boarded door; the S face has lean to vice stair projection with small rectangular windows; no masonry break between this and S side of nave. Nave has two 3 light windows to both sides, one of which to each side has ogee tracery, those on the S side flank the porch, all part of the C19 refenestration; the S side also has a 2 light square headed window originally lighting the rood; nave gable end to N has C19 octagonal stone chimney stack. Gabled S porch with deeply moulded arch; figure of St Cein in canopied niche; semicircular arched late medieval inner doorway. Chancel has on S side pointed and moulded arched priest's door with dated monogram to strapwork; 2 light square headed windows to right and the E bay has similar single light windows to N and S; all these windows have carved headstops, one dated and with armorial shield; 3 light pointed arched E window with similar headstops.

The church stand in a rectangular churchyard fronted on E by a rubble drystone wall with entrance SE comprising 2 tall stone piers with pyramidal caps and decorative double wrought iron gates; the churchyard contains headstones from C18 and table tombs from 19 and a number of unusual coffin shaped kerb graves, and one grave with rare surviving metal cover separately listed.


Interior is largely limewashed with open timber roof. Five bay nave with arched brace trusses, 3 of which are original; bosses and moulded capitals at the tops of the springers over stone corbels; stone flagged floor. Stripped low round headed chancel arch with thin voussoirs, flanked by squints; on N side is tall segmental headed rood loft door, the stairs to this rising from the chancel; the former rood screen was unusually partly supported by the projecting masonry built out below impost level. Three bay chancel with matching roof trusses and crenellated wall plates; eastern bay is boarded; low pointed rere-arches to windows with fleuron ornament; sedilia has splayed corners with broad foliation; tall piscina with drain on semi-octagonal projection - these all part of the Halliday restoration. Taller pointed stripped west arch; tower is vaulted beneath bell stage with holes for the bellropes; diagonal chamfer stops on the pointed arched doorway to spiral stone stairs in stair turret. Church retains C17-C19 monuments to the Jenkins family, one by I Wood of Bristol and a C17 ledger slab in chancel; benefaction boards; C12 stone drum font with replaced base; Gothic style organ case; Jacobean altar table; E window erected by parishioners to Olive Talbot who financed restoration.

Reasons for Listing

Listed II* for its surviving medieval fabric especially its dominating tower, its exceptionally commanding position and for the historic interest of its foundation and monastic connections.

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