ST MALLTEG, LLANFALLTEG, PEMBROKESHIRE (PRESELI)
Dyfed PRN 17377
NGR SN 1473 1923
Not listed (1998) (2022)
Medieval church; ?60% pre-19th century core fabric.
A multicell church, small. Consists of chancel, 2 bays; nave, 3 bays; north transept, 1 bay; medieval. South porch, early 19th century?. Limestone rubble construction; remains of early 19th century external render; plastered within. Slate gable roofs. North transept vaulted. All openings are in yellow oolite, neo-Gothic, from the late 19th century; western single bellcote, late 19th century.
Roofs and floors: late 19th century. Finishes: early 19th century – 20th century.
Condition – poor-fair. Closed; partly ivied; environs overgrown.
Archaeological potential – good. Churchyard terrace, primary, beneath 100% of church; medium-deep cutting around 40% of church; suspended floors in 60% of church; external memorials lie significantly close to 70% of church?.
Structural value (pre 19th century) – good. ?60% medieval core fabric; medieval vault.
Group value – medium. Medieval church; overgrown churchyard.
Phase 1 – Nave, C13?.
Phase 2 – Chancel, earlier C14?
Phase 3 – North transept, later C14?
Phase 4 – Restored early C19, high impact?; south porch built?
Phase 5 – Restored late C19, medium impact.
The present church
St Mallteg, Llanfallteg, is a multicelled church, of small size. It retains approximately ?60% pre-19th century core fabric.
The present church consists of a 2-bayed chancel, a 3-bayed nave, a single-bayed north transept and a south porch. Construction is in limestone rubble. The north transept is vaulted. All openings are in yellow oolite, neo-Gothic, from the late 19th century. There are remains of external render, probably from the early 19th century; repointing is mainly from the late 19th – earlier 20th century and is poor, obscuring masonry, but there is some better 20th century repointing; the interior is plastered. Roofs are slated gables.
The chancel east window is entirely from the late 19th century and has 2-cusped lights with curvilinear tracery in a 2-centred surround of chamfered yellow oolite. The south wall exhibits the remains of external render, probably from the early 19th century (see Structural Development below) and is pierced by a single cusped lancet in yellow oolite, with infill, from the late 19th century; externally, a memorial slab dated 1788 is set into the wall face. The plain, 2-centred chancel arch may be medieval, or from the early 19th century. The softwood roof, and the tiled floor, are from the late 19th century.
The nave is the same width as the chancel, and may be earlier, featuring large quoins in the west wall. The upper courses of the south wall were rebuilt in roughly squared and coursed rubble in the late 19th century. There are 2 windows in this wall, and one in the north wall; all are wide single lancets, with cusped surrounds in chamfered yellow oolite from the late 19th century. The south door has a 2-centred, chamfered surround also from the late 19th century. A memorial slab dated 1772 is set into the external face of the north wall. The upper half of the west wall was refaced like the south wall in the late 19th century and includes a 2-light window with sunk cusps and a central quatrefoil, in a 2-centred surround of chamfered yellow oolite from the late 19th century. The gable above carries a single bellcote also from the late 19th century, with oolite ashlar quoins, a high-pitched gable, shoulders and a rounded 2-centred opening; it is now empty. The softwood roof, and the tiled floor, are from the late 19th century.
The north transept may have been partly rebuilt, and was entirely refaced in roughly squared and coursed rubble, in the late 19th century. It is lit by a contemporary single lancet in the north wall, like those in the nave. The transept is barrel-vaulted, with a 2-centred profile; the vault appears to be medieval but may have been rebuilt/restored. Floored as the nave. The transept has latterly been used as a vestry.
The upper courses of the south porch side walls were also rebuilt in the late 19th century, and the south, end wall was refaced. The entry has a contemporary, 2-centred arch like the nave south door. The softwood roof lacks trusses and is matchboarded, from the late 19th century. The floor is limestone-flagged, possibly from the earlier 19th century and laid directly on the substrate.
The church lies upon a terrace cut from and banked within the sloping churchyard; primary. A medium-deep external earth-cutting runs around the north walls, primary, but secondarily deepened. Floors are suspended in the nave and transept. External memorials lie significantly close to the east and south walls, and may lie in the undergrowth close to the north wall.
The church cannot be closely dated in the absence of original detail, and the percentage of surviving pre-19th century fabric is difficult to assess. The nave is quoined, and may be earlier than the chancel which is the same width. The vaulted north transept is probably from the 14th century when such additions were under widespread construction. The south porch may not be a pre-19th century component (see below).
In the 17th century a small sum was bequeathed for the repair of the church (Lewis, 1975, 148). The floor was unpaved in 1705 (Evans, 1917, 70). It appears that the church was in rather poor condition in 1710 for it was ordered that an ‘ash growing out of the east wall of the Chancell’ was to be destroyed (Lewis, 1975, 148)
According to Samuel Lewis, writing in 1833, the church had been ‘rebuilt within the last 40 years’ as a ‘neat edifice’ (Lewis, 1833); the extent of this ‘rebuilding’ is not known but the external render, the chancel arch and the south porch may be from this period.
The church was restored again in the later 19th century, but neither the details, nor the architect responsible, are known. The RCAHM viewed the restoration as a rebuild, describing the church as ‘modern’, but ‘probably stands on the old foundations’, and retaining ‘nothing of antiquarian interest’ (RCAHM, 1925, 164). The north transept and south porch were refaced, possibly even partly rebuilt, and the building was entirely refenestrated. The doorways were also rebuilt. The interior was reroofed, refloored and replastered.
The softwood pews, vestry screen and pulpit are from the late 19th century; fittings were in poor condition in 1996.
The font has an plain limestone bowl of indeterminate date; the square base is modern (RCAHM, 1925, 164).
There is no bell.
The church was not listed in 1998 & 2022.
Documentary sources for the medieval church have the separate Dyfed PRN 4904.
There is some evidence for the pre-conquest religious use of the site:-
St Mallteg, Llanfallteg, was a parish church during the post-conquest period (Rees, 1932), of the medieval Deanery of Carmarthen. It appears to have always been a possession of the Bishops of St Davids; William Mone was collated as chaplain ton the parish church of ‘Llanveyltheg’ by Bishop Guy de Mone in 1398 (RCAHM, 1925, 164).
In 1833 the living, a discharged rectory in the patronage of the Bishop, was rated in the king’s books at £4 and endowed with £200 royal bounty (Lewis, 1833).
In 1998 St Mallteg, Llanfallteg, was a parish church but was closed. With Castell Dwyran it formed part of the benefice of Clunderwen (Benefice no. 825) in the Archdeaconry of Carmarthen, Rural Deanery of St Clears (St Davids, 1997-8).
The parish of Llanfallteg is divided between Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire but the church lies in ‘Llanfallteg West’, ie. within Pembrokeshire.
Rees, W., 1932, South Wales and the Border in the XIVth century.
Church in Wales Records
St Davids, 1997-8, Diocesan Year Book.
Parish Records, Carmarthenshire Record Office, Carmarthen
(CPR/76 – Llanfallteg)
Parish Records, Pembrokeshire Record Office, Haverfordwest
HPR/66 – Llanfallteg:-
HPR/66/16 – Churchwardens’ Account Book, 1933-54.
HPR/66/17 – Vestry Minute Book, 1912-50.
Crossley, F. H., and Ridgway, M. H., 1957, ‘Screens, Lofts and Stalls situated in Wales and Monmouthshire: Part 8’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. CVI.
Evans, G. E., 1912, ‘Churchwarden’s Presentments, 1678-79’, Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 7.
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, ‘Churchwarden’s Presentments, AD 1720’, Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 14.
Jones, M. H., 1907, ‘Professor Rhys on Inscribed Stones’, Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 2.
Lewis, E. T., 1975, Local Heritage from Efailwen to Whitland.
Lewis, S., 1833, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales.
RCAHM, 1925, Inventory: Pembrokeshire.
Salter, M., 1994, The Old Parish Churches of South West Wales.
Updated – February 2022 – PKR