St Peter, Lampeter, Ceredigion

ST PETER,  LAMPETER, CEREDIGION

Dyfed PRN 17273

 RB No. 2585

 NGR SN 5755 4835

 Listed Building no. 10430

 Grade II listed (1998)

First Listed in 1992. Last Amended in 2012.

Reason for Listing: Included for its special architectural interest as one of the most notable High Victorian Gothic churches in West Wales, important for its accomplished architectural character as well as its elevated position.

 SUMMARY

19th century church; 0% pre-19th century core fabric. On site of, but not in same location as, medieval church (PRN 4769).

A multicell church, large. Consists of chancel, 2 bays; nave, 4 bays; south  aisle, 3 bays; south tower, 4 storeys; vestry (north), 1 bay; all new built in 1868-70. Vestry extension and cellar, c.1900. WC, later 20th century. Construction is in mudstone rubble throughout. Neo-gothic. Slate gable roofs; aisle and vestry have slated lean-to roofs; the vestry extension is flat-roofed; the tower has a slated pyramidal roof.. All openings, and external buttressing, are from 1868-70 and c.1900.

Roofs and floors, 1868-70 and c.1900. Finishes, 1868-70 and c.1900.

Condition – good.

Archaeological potential – good. No physical evidence for earlier church(es); deep, wide external revetted cutting around 30% of church; suspended floors, and heating ducts, in 60% of church; boilerhouse beneath 10% of church; memorials significantly close to 30% of church.

Structural value (pre 19th century) – poor. 0% pre-1868 core fabric.

Group value – high. C19 urban landmark church with tower; large attractive churchyard with good memorials.

Phasing:

Phase 1 – Chancel, nave, south aisle, south tower, choir vestry, all 1868-70.

Phase 2 – Vestry extension, c.1900.

Phase 3 – WC, later C20

DESCRIPTION

St Peter, Lampeter, is a multicell church, of large size. It was new built in 1868-70 to the designs of the architect R. J. Withers of London (NLW, SD/F/210) on the same site, but just to the north of its predecessor (PRN 4769), the churchyard being extended to make way for the new church. Nothing was retained from the earlier fabric.

The present church consists of a 2-bayed chancel, a 4-bayed nave, a 3-bayed south aisle, a 4 storeyed tower (and porch) south of the nave west bay and a single-bayed choir vestry north of the chancel west bay; the vestry was extended east, with a boilerhouse below, c.1900 and a WC was erected west of the vestry in the later 20th century. Construction is in local Silurian mudstone rubble throughout. All dressings are in oolite and from 1868-70; the 2-centred openings are neo-gothic (Early English), comprising simple single lancets and cusped 2-light windows with simple tracery. The church is buttressed throughout. The vestry contains an organ-chamber. The tower parapet is uncrenellated. The main roofs are slated gables while the south aisle and vestry have slated lean-to roofs, the vestry extension is flat-roofed and the tower has a slated pyramidal roof. The floors are suspended except in the porch.

The earlier church is said to have been ‘Norman’ (Anon., 1878(ii), 334). It was described in 1810 as consisting of a nave, chancel and a full-length south aisle with an arcade of pointed arches (Crossley and Ridgeway, 1946, 49). A porch had been taken down. The medieval rood-screen had apparently survived, the remains of the loft being noted in 1818, and a ‘circular niche’ (piscina?) was present in the chancel. The church was entirely demolished in 1823 for rebuilding (ibid.).

However, the church described by Lewis in 1833 is clearly the one seen by Meyrick et al. (Lewis, 1833) and his account varies little from Meyrick’s; he mentions, however, a square tower (possibly unreliably). It appears that Lewis was relying on earlier descriptions and had not seen the church.

In 1861 the rebuilt church was described as ‘a public eyesore that demands total demolition’ (Anon., 1861, 312). It may have occupied the same location as its predecessor, and is shown on the tithe map of 1843 lying immediately south of the present structure (NLW, Lampeter, 1843); in plan it appears to have been double-aisled with a west porch or tower. The churchyard at this time was circular, comprising just the southern half of the present yard. It was extended to the north to make way for the present church in 1868 (NLW, SD/F/210).

No physical evidence for the earlier church(es) was observed 30/8/96, but Clive-Powell claims that foundations are visible ‘east’ of the present building (Clive-Powell, 1996, 1). A deep, wide external revetted cutting along the north side of the church; there is no external drain or cutting around the remainder of the church. Floors are suspended over heating ducts. There is a below-ground boilerhouse beneath the vestry extension. Some memorials lie significantly close to the church.

One of the bells has the inscription ‘E. E., 1721’, the initials of Evan Evans, bellfounder, of Chepstow (Raven, 1878, 266).

The old font was not retained from the medieval church; it had a square bowl elaborately moulded with the symbols of the four evangelists, on a cylindrical stem, all of early 13th century date (Evans, 1913, 21). A sundial dated 1812 was also not retained (Anon., 1915, 100-101).

The church was Grade II listed in 1998.

First Listed in 1992. Last Amended in 2012.

SITE HISTORY

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

Churchyard formerly circular.

St Peter, Lampeter, was a parish church during the medieval period (Rees, 1932), of the medieval Deanery of Sub-Aeron. It has been suggested that, rather than being a pre-conquest establishment, the church was founded in the 13th century – Giraldus Cambrensis, writing in 1188, refers to the town just as ‘Pons Stephani’ (Anon., 1878(ii), 294). In 1291 the church, as ‘Ecclesia de Lampede’, was assessed at £5 (ibid.). A chapelry dedicated to St Thomas possibly also stood within the medieval town (Anon., 1878(i), 334).

The advowson was granted to the Bishops of St Davids in 1284 (Soulsby, 1983, 157), in whose patronage it still was in 1833 when the living, a discharged vicarage in the Archdeaconry of Cardigan, was rated in the king’s books at £6 13s 4d (Lewis, 1833).

In 1998 St Peter, Lampeter, was a parish church. The living was a vicarage, held with Silian (Benefice no. 822) in the Archdeaconry of Cardigan, Rural Deanery of Lampeter and Ultra-Aeron (St Davids, 1997-8).

 The dedication is undoubtedly to St Peter the Apostle (Various, 1994, 394).

SOURCES CONSULTED

 Map Evidence

Blaeu, J., 1648, Map of Cardiganshire.

NLW, Ordnance Survey 1:2500, First Edition, Sheet XXXIV.13.

NLW, Parish of Lampeter, Tithe Map, 1843.

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

Church in Wales Records

Clive-Powell, R., 1996, Quinquennial Report, Lampeter.

St Davids, 1997-8, Diocesan Year Book.

NLW, SD/F/210, Faculty – Pulling down and rebuilding church, 1868.

NLW, SD/F/211, Faculty – Removal of cottages, 1878 (not granted).

NLW, SD/F/212, Faculty – Removal of body, 1907.

NLW, SD/F/213, Faculty – Stained glass window, 1922.

NLW, SD/F/214, Faculty – Stained glass window, 1925.

Printed Accounts

Anon., 1861, ‘Correspondence’, Archaeol. Cambrensis Vol. VII, Third Series.

Anon., 1878(i), ‘Lampeter Meeting’, Archaeol. Cambrensis Vol. IX, Fourth Series.

Anon., 1878(ii), ‘Records relating to Lampeter and Cardiganshire’, Archaeol. Cambrensis Vol. IX, Fourth Series.

Anon., 1915(i), ‘Dial from Lampeter Old Church’, Transactions of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society Vol. II.

Anon., 1915(ii), ‘Rood-beam at Llanina’, Transactions of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society Vol. II.

Cadw, 1996, Buildings of Special Architectural Interest (Lampeter, Ceredigion).

Crossley, F. H., and Ridgway, M. H., 1946, ‘Screens, Lofts and Stalls situated in Wales and Monmouthshire: Part 8’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. XCVIII.

Edmunds, W., 1861, ‘Old Families in Lampeter and Neighbourhood’, Archaeol. Cambrensis Vol. VII, Third Series.

Evans, G. E., 1913, ‘Cardiganshire Fonts’, Transactions of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society Vol. I.

Evans, G. E., 1917, ‘Cardiganshire: Its Plate, Records and Registers’, Archaeol. Cambrensis Vol. XVII, Sixth Series.

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

Raven, J. J., 1878, ‘The Prospects of Welsh Campanology’, Archaeol. Cambrensis Vol. IX, Fourth Series.

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

Soulsby, I., 1983, The Towns of Medieval 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: August 2021 – PKR.