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,
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
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-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.
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, 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.