St Cynllo, Nantcwnlle, Ceredigion (PRN 17368)



Dyfed PRN 17368

 RB No. 3626

 NGR SN 5762 5860

 Not listed (1998). Not Listed 2021.

Converted into a Residential Building.


19th century church; 0% pre-19th century core fabric. On site of, and same location as, medieval church (PRN 4787).

A 3-cell church, small. Consists of chancel, 2 bays; nave, 2 eastern bays; early 19th century. Nave west bay; south porch; vestry (south), 1 bay; 1886. Construction is in local rubble. Neo-gothic. Slate gable roofs; vestry with slate half-hipped roof. All openings are from 1886 except the early 19th century vestry door; western single bellcote, 1886.

Roofs and floors, 1886. Finishes, 1886.

Condition – fair. Infrequent usage.

Archaeological potential – very good-excellent. Platform beneath 50% of church, primary; deep, wide external cutting around 50% of church, primary, secondarily deepened; raised floor levels, earlier floors intact; external memorials significantly close to 10% of church.

.Structural value (pre 19th century) – poor. 0% pre-C19 core fabric.

Group value – low-medium. Large, suboval rural churchyard with good memorials.

2021 Note: Grave Yard still the property of the Church in Wales sadly it is in a poor condition.


Phase 1 – Chancel, nave east bays, early C19.

Phase 2 – Nave west bay, South porch, vestry, 1886.


St Cynllo, Nantcwnlle, is a 3-celled church, of small size. It was probably rebuilt in the earlier 19th century, in the same location as its predecessor (PRN 4787) and was extended and restored in 1886 under the architect A. Ritchie of Chester (NLW, SD/F/509).

The present church consists of a 2-bayed chancel, a 3-bayed nave which was extended by one bay in 1886, a south porch and a single-bayed vestry south of the chancel west bay. Construction is in local rubble, refaced in 1886; plastered within. All dressings are in grey oolite and from 1886, including the chancel arch; the openings are neo-gothic comprising cusped double lancets and cusped 2- and 3-light windows with simple tracery. The north side is buttressed, 1886. There is an external string-course around the porch, 1886. The 1886 vestry fireplace is disused, its chimney gone. A simple, gabled single bellcote lies at the west end. The roofs are slated gables; the vestry has a slated half-hipped roof. Floors are suspended, but over solid infill,  except in the porch.

The pre-1886 restoration church is shown in plan and elevation in the 1886 faculty bundle (NLW, SD/F/509) and in a pre-1886 drawing reproduced in Evans, 1915, 77. It appears to have been a construction of the early 19th century exhibiting no evidence of having retained any earlier fabric. It comprises a single cell, the chancel and nave without any structural division.  It was entered through a semi-circular headed west door with steps down to the nave floor; a similar door lay at the east end of the south wall. There was a window in the north wall, 3 in the south wall and one in the east wall; all had simple 2-centred heads and timber Y-tracery. A simple, single gabled bellcote with a semi-circular-headed opening lay on the west end.

The church was restored in 1886 to the designs of the architect A. Ritchie of Chester (NLW, SD/F/509). The restoration was high-impact. The west wall was removed, the nave was extended west by one bay, with a new bellcote, and the south porch and vestry were built. It appears that the remainder of the walls were at least refaced if not rebuilt; the windows were infilled and only the south door was retained. The church was refenestrated and 2 buttresses were built against the north wall. The church was reroofed, refloored (the new floor 0.3m higher than the old), and reseated.

There is a deep, wide external cutting along the north side and a corresponding earthwork platform beneath the southern half of the church, possibly primary but the cutting was deepened and widened in 1886. The floor levels were raised in 1886, suspended over solid infill above the old floors. Some memorials lie significantly close to the east wall.

The church was not listed in 1998.

Not Listed 2021.

Converted into a Residential Building.

Grave Yard still the property of the Church in Wales and is a poor condition.


 There is some evidence for the pre-conquest religious use of the site:-

Celtic dedication; large suboval yard; association with nearby Pen-y-gaer hillfort (PRN 4791)? (Various, 1994, 403).

St Cynllo, Nantcwnlle, was a parish church during the medieval period (Rees, 1932), of the medieval Deanery of Ultra-Aeron. It was a possession of the Bishop of St Davids, lying at the centre of an episcopal grange, as a prebend of the collegiate church at Brecon valued at £7 6s 8d (Lewis, 1833).

In 1833 the living was a discharged vicarage in the patronage of the Bishop, rated in the king’s books at £3 13 4d, endowed with £600 royal bounty and £600 parliamentary grant (ibid.) The tithes were divided between the prebendary and the vicar (ibid.).

In 1998 St Cynllo, Nantcwnlle, was a parish church. The living was a vicarage, held with Llanfihangel Ystrad, Cilcennin and Trefilan (Benefice no. 698) in the Archdeaconry of Cardigan, Rural Deanery of Glyn Aeron (St Davids, 1997-8).

The church has, since the early 1990s at least, only been used during the summer months.


 Map Evidence

Blaeu, J., 1648, Map of Cardiganshire.

NLW, Parish of Nantcwnlle, Tithe Map, 1843.

Rees, W., 1932, South Wales and the Border in the XIVth century.

Church in Wales Records

Hook Mason, 1994, Quinquennial Report, Nantcwnlle.

St Davids, 1997-8, Diocesan Year Book.

NLW, SD/F/509, Faculty – Restoration of church, 1886.

Printed Accounts

Evans, G. E., 1915, ‘Vanished and Vanishing Cardiganshire’, Transactions of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society Vol. II.

Lewis, S., 1833, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales.

Salter, M., 1994, The Old Parish Churches of South West Wales.

Various, 1994, ‘The Church in Ceredigion in the Early Middle Ages’, in Davies, J. L., and Kirby, D. P. (eds.), Cardiganshire County History Vol. I.

Willis-Bund, J. W., 1888, ‘Church Restoration’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. V, Fifth Series.

Up dated – September 2021 – PKR.

Heneb - The Trust for Welsh Archaeology