St Gwynio, Llanwinio, Carmarthenshire (PRN 17353)


Dyfed PRN 17353

 RB No. 3358

 NGR SN 2611 2646

 Not listed (1998). Not Listed 2021.


19th century church; 0% medieval core fabric. On site of, ?and same location as, medieval church (PRN 3942).

A 2-cell church, small. Consists of chancel, 1 bay; nave, 2 bays; 1845-6. Vestry (north), 1 bay, 1926-7. Construction is in slate rubble. Neo-gothic. Slate gable roofs; vestry  with slate lean-to roof. All openings, except in vestry, from 1845-6; western single bellcote, 1845-6; vestry windows and door from 1926-7.

Roofs and floors, 1845-6 and 1926-7. Finishes, 1922 and 1927.

Condition – good.

Archaeological potential – very good. No physical evidence of earlier church; no external cutting or drain; suspended floors in 50% of church, without heating ducts; no evidence for any further internal vault/crypt; external memorials lie significantly close to 50% of church.

Structural value (pre 19th century) – poor. 0% pre-1845 core fabric.

Group value – high. C19 landmark church; large churchyard comprising former circular churchyard and concentric outer enclosure; associated masonry building; ECM; remains of churchyard cross.


Phase 1 – Chancel and nave, 1845-6.

Phase 2 – Vestry, 1926-7.


St Gwynio, Llanwinio, is a 2-celled church, of small size. It was (re)built in 1845-6, apparently on the same site, and in the same location, as its predecessor (PRN 3942) but retaining nothing from the earlier fabric.

The present church consists of a single-bayed chancel, a 2-bayed nave, and a single-bayed vestry north of the chancel. Construction is in local slate block rubble; the interior is plastered and the bellcote is rendered. All dressings are in grey oolite and from 1845-6; the openings are neo-gothic comprising simple 2- and 3-light windows with simple tracery; the vestry windows, from 1926-7, have timber frames. The exterior is buttressed throughout. There is a gabled single bellcote at the west end, from 1845-6. The roofs are slated gables; the vestry has a slated lean-to roof. The chancel and vestry floors are suspended.

Something of the form of the pre-1845 church can be gleaned from the sources. It may be the church depicted on the tithe map, which was not published until 1848 (NLW, Llanwinio, 1848); the map is very vague showing merely a rectangle which appears to lie in the same location as the present church. A porch is mentioned in 1672 (Evans, 1919(ii), 213) when it was ‘out of repair’. There was ‘noe stiple or tower’ to the church in 1705, the bell(s) presumably always having been hung in a bellcote. There were 2 bells in the 16th century (Wallcott, 1871, ii), but only one in 1683 when it was taken to Pembroke for recasting (Evans, 1919(i), 44); there were some minor repairs in the same year. In 1720 the church was in ‘indifferent good repair’, the windows needed glazing and the roof needed repairing (Evans, 1921, 15). The present church was (re)built in 1845-6 (Anon., 1893, 139-142; Rhys, 1877, 139-40).

The church was altered in 1926-7 to the designs of W S P Cottrell, architect and surveyor for the Coomb & Kilsant Estate Office (NLW, SD/F/432). The vestry was built and the chancel floor was raised to the same level, while the church interior was partly reseated and new altar and panelling were installed. The church had been ‘painted’ both inside and out in 1922 (Carms. R. O., CPR/25/10).

There is no physical evidence of the pre-1845 church. There is neither an external cutting nor a drain. The floors are suspended only in the chancel and vestry, without heating ducts. There is no evidence for any internal vault or crypt. Some external memorials lie significantly close to the church.

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

An ECM was discovered during the 1845-6 rebuild, whilst excavating for the new foundations (Francis, 1877, 74-5). It bore a Latin and Ogam inscription (Anon., 1893, 139-142; Rhys, 1877, 139-40); it is now in private hands.

There are the remains of a churchyard cross.


 There is very good evidence for the pre-conquest religious use of the site –

Celtic dedication; former circular churchyard and concentric outer enclosure; ECM.

St Gwynio, Llanwinio, was a parish church during the medieval period (Rees, 1932), of the medieval Deanery of Carmarthen. It was a possession of the Cistercians of Whitland Abbey.

At the dissolution, the advowson fell to the crown but found its way into private patronage; in 1833, when it was a perpetual curacy endowed with £400 royal bounty and £1600 parliamentary grant, the patron was one Mrs Howel (Lewis, 1833).

In 1998 St Gwynio, Llanwinio, was a parish church. The living was a rectory, held with Trelech a’r Betws, Abernant and Eglwys Fair a Churig (Benefice no. 658) in the Archdeaconry of Carmarthen, Rural Deanery of Carmarthen (St Davids, 1997-8).


 Map Evidence

NLW, Parish of Llanwinio, Tithe Map, 1848.

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

Church in Wales Records

Griffiths & Lewis, 1994, Quinquennial Report, Llanwinio.

St Davids, 1997-8, Diocesan Year Book.

NLW, SD/F/432, Faculty – New oak altar and screen, raise chancel and erect vestry, 1926.

Parish Records, Carmarthenshire Record Office, Carmarthen

CPR/25 – Llanwinio:-

CPR/25/10 – Vestry Minute Book, 1905-31.

Printed Accounts

Anon., 1893, ‘Llandeilo Meeting’, Archaeol. Cambrensis Vol. X, Fourth 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., 1917, ‘Carmarthenshire Presentments’, Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 11.

Evans, G. E., 1919(i), ‘Llanwinio Parish AD1683’, Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 13.

Evans, G. E., 1919(ii), ‘Miscellanea’, Archaeol. Cambrensis Vol. XIX, Sixth Series.

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

Francis, G. G., 1877, ‘Correspondence’, Archaeol. Cambrensis Vol. VIII, Fourth Series.

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

RCAHM, 1917, Inventory: Carmarthenshire.

Rhys, J., 1877, ‘Early Inscribed Stones in Wales’, Archaeol. Cambrensis Vol. VIII, Fourth Series.

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

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