St David, Blaenporth, Ceredigion

ST DAVID, BLAENPORTH, CEREDIGION

Dyfed PRN 5224

 RB No. 3257

 NGR SN 2627 4878

 Listed Building no. 16086

 Grade II listed (1998)

First amended in 1995. Last amended in 1995.

Reasons for listing; Included for exceptionally fine stained glass E window by Lavers and Barraud, and as a good example of a small High Victorian church.

 SUMMARY

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

A 3-cell church, small-medium sized. Consists of chancel, 2 bays; nave, 3 bays; south porch, vestry (north of chancel), 1 bay; all 1864-5. Boilerhouse (north of nave), earlier 20th century. Construction is in squared sandstone rubble throughout, with some Caerfai granite. Slate gable roofs; vestry and boilerhouse with slate lean-to roofs. All openings, except in the boilerhouse, are from 1864-5, and neo-gothic with yellow oolite dressings. Western octagonal bell-turret, on buttress, with spire, 1864-5.

Roofs, floors and finishes, 1864-5 – earlier 20th century.

Condition – good.

Archaeological potential – good – very good. Irregular external earthwork platform around 40% of church, debris form earlier church?; shallow, earth-cut external drain around 100% of church; suspended floors over heating ducts; below-ground floor in 5% of church.

Structural value (pre 19th century) – poor. 0% pre 1864 core fabric.

Group value – medium-high. C19 rural landmark church; churchyard with good memorials.

Phasing:

Phase 1 – Chancel, nave, south porch, vestry, 1864-5

Phase 2 – Boilerhouse, earlier 20th century.

 DESCRIPTION

St David, Blaenporth, is a 3-celled church, of small-medium size. It was entirely (re)built in 1864-5 on the same site, and in the same location as its predecessor, but nothing was retained from the earlier fabric. A boilerhouse was added in the earlier 20th century.

The present church consists of a 2-bayed chancel, a 3-bayed nave, a south porch, a single-bayed vestry north of the chancel east bay, and a small boilerhouse, partly below ground, north of the nave. Construction, including the boilerhouse, is in squared Pwntan sandstone rubble but the north wall features much Caerfai granite. All dressings are in yellow oolite and from 1864-5; the 2-centred openings are neo-gothic and the 2- 3-light windows are cusped, with simple tracery. There is an elaborate bell-turret at the west end, supported on a broad buttress and in the form of a low oolite spire with 4 openings in gablets, from 1864-5. The boilerhouse has a plain, square brick chimney-stack, earlier 20th century. The roofs are slated gables; the vestry and boilerhouse have slated lean-to roofs. The floors are suspended except in the porch.

The earlier church was described by Lewis, in 1833, as consisting of a chancel, a nave and a south porch which extended to the west end of the nave (NLW, Blaenporth, Tithe Map, 1839). It lacked a bellcote, the bell being ‘suspended at the west end of the roof’ (Lewis, 1833). There was a ‘square hole running right through the north wall’ of unknown function (Anon., 1862, 66).

The church was entirely rebuilt in 1864-5 to the designs of the architect R. J. Withers (Cadw, 1998). The boilerhouse was added in the earlier 20th century; there appear to have been no further major alterations.

The octagonal, limestone ashlar font is from 1864-5 (Bartosch & Stokes, 1991, 2).

There are 2 bells (ibid.).

A pronounced but irregular earthwork platform runs along the north side, debris from earlier church?; a detached earthwork lies south-west of the nave. There is a shallow, earth-cut external drain. Floors are suspended over heating ducts. The boilerhouse floor is below-ground. No external memorials lie significantly close to the church.

The church was Grade II listed in 1998.

First amended in 1995. Last amended in 1995.

SITE HISTORY

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

Subcircular churchyard; Celtic dedication late/secondary?.

St David, Blaenporth, was not a parish church during the medieval period (Rees, 1932), but a chapelry, of the medieval Deanery of Sub-Aeron, which was in the possession of the bishops of St Davids as a prebend of the collegiate church of Llanddewi Brefi rated in the king’s books at £6 (Lewis, 1833).

Blaenporth had become a parish by 1833 when the living was a perpetual curacy endowed with £800 royal bounty and £800 parliamentary grant, in the alternate patronage of the Earl of Lisburne and J. V. Lloyd Esq., the impropriators of the tithes (Lewis, 1833).

In 1998 St David, Blaenporth, was a parish church. The living was a vicarage, held with Aberporth, Tremain and Betws Ifan (Benefice no. 833) in the Archdeaconry of Cardigan, Rural Deanery of Cemais and Sub-Aeron (St Davids, 1997-8).

 The St David dedication may not be medieval (Various, 1994, 390); the 16th century chalice carries no dedication (Evans, 1906, 328).

SOURCES CONSULTED

 Map Evidence

Blaeu, J., 1648, Map of Cardiganshire.

NLW, Parish of Blaenporth, Tithe Map, 1839.

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

Church in Wales Records

Bartosch & Stokes, 1991, Quinquennial Report, Blaenporth.

St Davids, 1997-8, Diocesan Year Book.

NLW, SD/F/38, Faculty – Removal of weathercock, 1917.

Printed Accounts

Anon., 1862, ‘Blaenporth Church’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. VIII, Third Series.

Cadw, 1996, Buildings of Special Architectural Interest (Aberporth and Penbryn, Ceredigion).

Evans, G. E., 1906, ‘Cardiganshire: Its Plate, Records and Registers’, Archaeol. Cambrensis Vol. VI, Sixth Series.

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

Owen, E., 1894, ‘The History of the Premonstratensian Abbey of Talley’, Archaeol. Cambrensis Vol. XI, Fifth Series.

Price, D. L., 1879, ‘Talley Abbey, Carmarthenshire’, Archaeol. Cambrensis Vol. X, Fourth Series.

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.

Up dated – September 2021 – PKR