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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Powys

by Peter Kessler, 4 April 2020

Powys Part 1: Churches of Brecon to Llanfechain

Brecon Cathedral, Brecon, Powys, Wales

Brecon Cathedral is on the eastern side of Priory Hill, flanked to the north by Pendre Close. A Celtic church existed on this site until the Normans had conquered mid-Wales. In 1093 the Benedictine Priory of St John the Evangelist was founded here, replacing the older church with the priory buildings and a chapel. At the same time Bernard Newmarch founded Brecon Castle a few hundred metres away. The chapel was greatly rebuilt as the priory expanded.

Horeb Baptist Chapel (Capel Horeb), Cwmdwr, Powys, Wales

Horeb Baptist Chapel (Capel Horeb), Cwmdwr, sits on the southern side of a minor lane which connects a few metres later to the A40 as this runs alongside the heavily-forested Afon Gwydderig, around 1.25km east of 'Cottage at Halfway'. The chapel's sad remains disguise a building that was erected in 1820, although it was practically rebuilt in 1905. It had closed by the mid-twentieth century and has been a ruin for a good many decades since then.

Bethel Methodist Chapel, Llansantffraid, Powys, Wales

Bethel Methodist Chapel is located at the north-west v-shaped corner of the Church Lane and A495 road junction in the town of Llansantffraid. The original chapel here was erected in 1821 and rebuilt in 1843. New seating was added in 1885 but the entire building was replaced by the present one in 1895 - although it still carries a date stone from the 1843 rebuild, and 1821 features seemingly survive at the back. It is in the Simple Round-Headed style, in red brick.

St Ffraid's Church, Llansantffraid, Powys, Wales

St Ffraid's Church, Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain, is on the north-eastern outside edge of the Church Lane 'v' formed as it arcs back towards the main road. It is mentioned in 1254 as 'capella de Llansanfrat', and is dedicated to the Irish St Ffraid (St Bride or Bridget). The present building probably dates to the twelfth century, at least in part, but some walls appear to have been added later than others so it is likely that the original church was a simple nave and chancel.

St Ffraid's Church, Llansantffraid, Powys, Wales

Later additions and expansions may have been added within a century or so, and the church also appears to have been lengthened by the sixteenth century. The present main south door in the lengthened part of the church is within a slightly pointed arch, but its form is lopsided and it has evidently been the subject of unskilled restoration at some early date. From the 1600s and following its lengthening the church was under frequent restoration and improvement.

Zoar Calvinist Methodist Chapel, Llanfechain, Powys, Wales

Zoar Calvinist Methodist Chapel, Llanfechain, is on the southern side of the B4393, about 110m west of the 'Old School' bus stop and set at an angle against the road. It is shown on the OS 25-inch map of 1892-1914 as 'Capel Soar (Calv Meth)'. It was erected in 1827, although its original size is not known. It was rebuilt in 1914 in its present form - a finely detailed Arts and Crafts Gothic style, with a long-wall entry plan, and integral tower and spire. It closed in 2008.

Five photos on this page kindly contributed by Douglas Law, and one by Stuart Smith, all via the 'History Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group. Additional information by Stuart Smith and Douglas Law.



Images and text copyright © all contributors mentioned on this page. An original feature for the History Files.