St David, Henllan Amgoed, Carmarthenshire

ST DAVID, HENLLAN AMGOED, CARMARTHENSHIRE

Dyfed PRN 4967

 RB No. 3188

 NGR SN 1853 2073

 Not listed (1998). Not Listed in 2021.

 SUMMARY

Medieval church site;  50% pre-19th century core fabric?.

A 3-cell church, small. Consists of nave, 3 bays, pre-19th century?. Chancel, 2 bays; south porch; vestry (north), later 19th century. Limestone rubble construction. Some pre-19th century pointing?; internal walls with render/plaster. Slate gable roofs; vestry with asbestos lean-to roof. Openings from the later 19th century, neo-gothic, with grey oolite dressings; western single bellcote, later 19th century.

Roofs: later 19th century. Floors: c.1820 and later 19th century. Finishes: pre-19th century? and later 19th century.

Condition – fair-good. Buttress poor, collapsing.

Archaeological potential – good-very good. Shallow external drain around 100% of church; floored over a void in 20% of church; external memorials significantly close to 40% of church.

Structural value (pre 19th century) – poor-fair. 50% pre 19th century core fabric?.

Group value – low. Large rural churchyard.

Phasing:

Phase 1 – Nave, pre C19?.

Phase 2 – Chancel, south porch, later C19.

Phase 3 – Vestry, c.1900?.

DESCRIPTION

The present church

St David, Henllan Amgoed, is a 3 celled church, of small size. It may retain 50% pre-19th century core fabric.

The present church consists of a 2-bayed chancel, a 3-bayed nave, a south porch and a single-bayed vestry north of the chancel west bay. Construction is in limestone rubble throughout. There is some pre-Victorian pointing, but the walls were largely repointed in the later 19th century, obscuring the facework in areas; the interior is plastered. Openings are mainly later 19th century, with grey oolite dressings; the windows are ‘Early English’ lancets. Roofs are slated gables; the lean-to vestry roof is asbestos-sheeted.

The chancel was entirely rebuilt in the later 19th century in snecked limestone rubble with ashlar quoins and a plain basal external offset. The uncusped triple-lancet east window is contemporary, as are the similar single lancets in the side walls. The moulded, 2-centred chancel arch was similarly inserted in the later 19th century. The softwood chancel roof is later 19th century and is without trusses, all common rafters being scissors-braced and with a crown plate, matchboarded above. The tiled floor is also later 19th century.

The nave facework is in very randomly laid limestone rubble, with crude quoins, that is earlier than the later 19th century but which lacks detail; the early, pinkish mortar is largely obscured by later 19th century pointing. The upper quarters of the side walls were rebuilt/heightened in the later 19th century, when low angle buttresses were added at the corners of the west wall. The south wall leans in noticeably. There are 2 single lancets in the south wall, and one in the north wall, like the chancel windows but with infill, and also later 19th century. The west window is a similar double-lancet, but with squared voussoirs and a circular port above. The south door has a 2-centred, chamfered surround from the later 19th century. The west gable was largely rebuilt in the later 19th century with a contemporary gabled single bellcote corbelled out from the wall face. The softwood roof is like that in the chancel and also later 19th century. The passages are fully carpeted but may be flagged, from c.1820?, with suspended board floors over.

The south porch is all from the later 19th century and has an external basal batter. The contemporary doorway has a 2-centred, chamfered surround, the roof is softwood, with common rafters and matchboarding and the floor has later 19th century flags laid directly on the substrate.

The vestry is somewhat later. It is entered from the chancel through a doorway with a 2-centred surround, and lit by a cusped, ogival lancet in its north wall. The lean-to roof is of corrugated asbestos sheeting, plasterboarded internally. The boarded floor is suspended over a void.

The church is surrounded by a shallow, concrete-lined drain. The flooring lies over a void only in the vestry. Some memorials lie significantly close to the south and west walls.

Structural development

Jones, 1994, and RCAHM, 1917, regarded all elements of the church as being Victorian but it is apparent from the nature of the nave fabric that earlier work is present, but not closely dateable. There was much repair work in the 18th and early 19th centuries (see below), and the nave may belong to this period. The present chancel, south porch and vestry are later.

There were 2 bells in 1552 (Wallcott, 1871, 11) but only one by 1684 (Evans, 1915, 93). There is now a single bell.

The ‘church wall’ was out of repair in 1672 (Anon., 1919, 210), and the entire church was described as ‘not in repair’ in 1684 (Evans, 1915, 93). In 1705 ‘one side of the roof’ was ‘bad’ and wanted ‘tiling’ and the bell wanted ‘to be put in order’ (Evans, 1921, 9). The church was ‘dark’ and the seats ‘mean’ in 1755 (Lewis, 1975, 156). The ‘church, as well as the chancel as the body thereof’, were in ‘good and sufficient repair, except the floor and a pew’ in 1790 (Evans, 1922, 44).

The church had recently been ‘properly repaired, with… a new font, two new windows (and) the walls… plaistered and whitewashed’, in 1820 (Jones, 1937, 69). The floor had been ‘newly made’ and there were ‘proper benches in the church’.

The church was again restored in the later 19th century when the chancel was rebuilt (and probably lengthened), and the south porch was (re)built; neither the date of the restoration nor the architect responsible are known. The church was refenestrated, reroofed and refloored, and the buttresses were added. The interior was reseated and replastered.

The vestry has different detail and was probably a later addition, of c.1900?.

The softwood chancel fittings and the softwood pews are later 19th century. The oolite pulpit may be somewhat later.

The oolite font has a square bowl, stem and base, all from c.1820.

The church was not listed in 1998. Not Listed in 2021.

Documentary sources for the medieval church have the separate PRN 11667.

SITE HISTORY

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

Celtic dedication; ‘Henllan’ place-name element.

St David, Henllan Amgoed, was not a parish church during the medieval period (Rees, 1932), but a chapelry of the medieval Deanery of Carmarthen. The benefice appears always to have been in the patronage of the freeholders of the parish, a ‘Welshry’ of the Lordship of St Clears (ibid.; Lewis, 1833).

Henllan Amgoed had become a parish by 1790 with a chapel-of-ease, now ruined, at Eglwys Fair a Churig (Evans, 1915, 44). In 1833 the living, a discharged rectory in the patronage of the freeholders, was rated in the king’s books at £6 10s 5d (Lewis, 1833).

In 1998 St David, Henllan Amgoed, was a parish church. The living was a vicarage, held with Whitland, Cyffig and Llangan (Benefice no. 826) in the Archdeaconry of Carmarthen, Rural Deanery of St Clears (St Davids, 1997-8).

SOURCES CONSULTED

 Map Evidence

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

Church in Wales Records

Jones, W., 1994, Quinquennial Report, Henllan Amgoed.

St Davids, 1997-8, Diocesan Year Book.

Parish Records, Carmarthenshire Record Office, Carmarthen

(CPR/52 – Henllan Amgoed)

Printed Accounts

Anon., 1919, ‘Miscellanea’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. XIX, Sixth Series.

Crossley, F. H., and Ridgway, M. H., 1947, ‘Screens, Lofts and Stalls situated in Wales and Monmouthshire: Part 8’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. XCIX.

Evans, G. E., 1915, ‘Carmarthenshire Presentments’, Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 10.

Evans, G. E., 1917, ‘Carmarthenshire Presentments’, Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 11.

Evans, G. E., 1921, ‘Carmarthenshire Presentments’, Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 14.

Evans, G. E., 1922, ‘Churchwardens’ Presentments, AD 1790’, Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 15.

Lewis, E. T., 1975, Local Heritage from Efailwen to Whitland.

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

RCAHM, 1917, Inventory: Carmarthenshire.

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

Walcott, M. E. C., 1871, ‘Original Documents’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. II, Fourth Series.

Updated: August 2021 – PKR