LLANDYBIE PARISH
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Llandybie, St Tybie, Parish Church

Ordnance Survey Map Reference : SN618155

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Llandybie, St Tybie, Parish Church
http://www.churches-uk-ireland.org/images/carmarthenshire/llandybie_pc.jpg






Llandybie Church C1900

 

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Llandybie Lime Kilns

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Oliver Cromwell slept here?

The medieval fortified tower that is part of the church was not there for appearance's sake, as various wars and skirmished have affected the area over the centuries, the most recent being the Wars of the Roses and the 17th Century Civil War – another local legend is that Oliver Cromwell stayed in Derwydd mansion, though the area was Royalist in its sympathies. He is also reputed to have stayed at the Plas (Mansion) in Llandybie, a 17th century manor house only demolished as recently as 1967. As no written record exists for these claims they will have to remain as misty as only legends can be, although Cromwell was in Wales in 1648, the year he took Tenby Castle. Sir Henry Vaughan, owner of Golden Grove, just five miles from Llandybie, fought on the Royalist side and was imprisoned in the Tower of London, and his two sons were imprisoned at Tenby castle, so there are plenty of local connections to Cromwell.

The Plas, Llandybie, where Cromwell was reputed to have stayed. It was demolished in 1967 and a block of flats built on the site.

The uncertainties of the middle ages in the Llandybie area came to a head during the Wars of the Roses at Carreg Cennen castle and after the Yorkist victory in 1461, the castle was deemed too much of a threat to the monarchy and its main fortifications were destroyed the following spring.

AMMANFORD MINERS WELFARE HALL AND INSTITUTE

Llandybie Station

 

CADW Survey of 1966

Perhaps the age and history of Llandybie church should be left to the Welsh ancient monument organization CADW who surveyed the building in 1966 (Cadw is Welsh for 'to keep'). Their report contains highly technical architectural language but is worth reprinting nonetheless:

Authority: Carmarthenshire; Grade: II
Date Listed: 08/07/1966; Date Amended: 27/08/1999
Community: Llandybie
Locality: Llandybie village; Grid Ref: 26182 21554
Record No: 10915
Name of Church: St. Tybie

Location
At the centre of Llandybie village. Large stone-walled graveyard to north side (recent parts walled in concrete blocks). High wall with steps and iron gates from the street at west and south; stile beside south gate. Church House at south-east.

Pen and ink drawing of Llandybie Church

History
The church stands in what was conspicuously a round churchyard, the line of which is still traceable as a change of level within the present much-enlarged churchyard. The nave and chancel are evidently the historic core of the church, perhaps C13-C14; the axis of the chancel is slightly inclined to the left. To these a fine medieval tower, a south aisle and a Lady-chapel have been added, the latter not following the inclination of the chancel. A ceiling appears to have been formed directly to the underside of the medieval roof timbers c.1700. Windows described by the Victorian restorers as 'pagan monstrosities' and a west gallery were also inserted. A school is known to have been held in the gallery from 1786. Restoration of the church was undertaken in the mid-C19 under the leadership, and largely at the expense, of Mrs Caroline DuBuisson of Glynhir, and mainly during the incumbency of the Rev Lewis Morgan. The windows were first to be restored, c1852. The ceiling and gallery were removed c1861. The main restoration was carried out by [Sir] George Gilbert Scott, c1856, but some work was done by John Harries, architect, of Llandeilo. The pews throughout were renewed, the floor throughout repaved and the timbering of the roofs restored. The main focus of the restoration was the chancel, with very good joinery in the reredos, side screen, altar rails and choir pews. The reredos, side screen and altar rails are said to have been brought from London. The tower clock was installed in 1920 by Joyce and Company, as a war memorial.

Exterior
Nave and chancel to the north, with aisle and Lady chapel to the south, all much restored; fine large south-west tower. C19 vestry to south, porches to south and west and small boiler-room at north: all in local axe-dressed gritstone, informally mixed in places with limestone. The tower, the north wall of the present chancel and the walls of the C19 vestry are strongly battered at foot. All the doors and windows in the body of the church are dressed in oolitic limestone. Roofs of local gritstone slabs, except for a hidden slope roofed in slates; restored coped gables in oolitic limestone with finials. The tower is of three stages. Higher stair turret at the north west corner. Crenellated parapets slightly cantilevered forward above a weathered and undercut string course. Carved human face at the centre of this string at north and another at south. Double belfry-openings on all faces, with Tudor heads; partly restored. String course at the base of the belfry stage also weathered and undercut, another larger string course at the top of the battered base. Tudor two-light window in the west side above the lower string course, small round-headed window to the south; slit lights to the stairs. Clock faces to south, west and east. Two gargoyles on the west face are restored. The windows in the body of the church are mostly restored in Decorated style. At east is a two-light window to the Lady chapel with trefoils in the head tracery; a three light window to the chancel with quatrefoils in the head tracery. Both have label moulds on floral stops and relieving arches over. To north and south of the nave and aisle are two-light windows with quatrefoils in the tracery heads and label moulds on floral stops. Similar window to the south of the aisle but without a label. Three-light window to south of the C19 south vestry, in plate tracery; two-light Tudor style window to the east; Caernarfon-arched doorway at west. The west and south porches are open-fronted with pointed and chamfered arches. Ornate ironwork to the west door.

Interior
The C19 restoration has produced an interior of uniform appearance apart from the chancel, which stands out for its joinery and monuments. Arcade of two equilateral-pointed chamfered arches and one high level irregular arch (altered 1971) of segmental form. Two similar pointed arches separate the chancel and Lady chapel (or Ladies' Choir). Wide and tall chancel arch, also chamfered. The arches lack caps or mouldings at the imposts. Similar arch (irregularly formed) from aisle to Lady chapel. Nave and aisle pewed as one, in three blocks; similar pews facing towards the chancel in the Lady chapel. The nave, chancel, aisle and chapel are all roofed with trussed rafters braced to a barrel form. Although much restored, some of the timbers are moulded and appear to be medieval Black and red quarry tile flooring throughout, in chequer pattern. High boarded dado against the nave west wall only. Timber pulpit on a stone plinth at the left of the chancel arch. One step up to the chancel. Two choirstalls each side, the desks of the boys' stalls removed (1995). Carved Gothic altar rails, of Scott's restoration, with moulded top and foot rails and cinquefoil-headed openings. Reredos with four panels, each with a four-centred head, with painted verses on metal. Carved screen at right, in Perpendicular style with traceried heads to the openings and a carved cresting. The organ has been installed at high level in the first arch of the chancel arcade, with its console and bellows in the Lady chapel. To its left, in the chancel, is a cast-iron Royal Coat of Arms, said to have been cast at Coalbrookdale, 1817. Glass mostly a pattern of fleur-de-lys quarries with coloured margins. Only the east window is pictorial. It shows four scenes from the New Testament: the Nativity, Presentation, Crucifixion and Ascension; undated. Two fonts: a simple stone font of hexagonal shape, with a hexagonal shaft and base, perhaps pre-Norman; modern cover. The second is square in Early English style, Bath stone, probably contemporary with the restoration of the church; cover donated in 1936.

Memorials
Elizabeth Bridgstock of Llechdonny, 1667: an eared-framed panel beneath a round pediment crowned by arms on a cartouche, and supported by a cherub on a bracket, in the Lady chapel. Beside this is the hatchment of Sir Henry Vaughan, d1676, the oldest hatchment in any church in south Wales. A fine collection of two Baroque and five Georgian memorials at the north side of the chancel. Nearest the chancel arch is a monument of 1703 to Thomas Bennett of Aberlash, with two fluted pilasters and large pilaster-cornices; a pediment formed of ramped scrolls. Second from the east wall is the monument to Sir Henry Vaughan, 1676, the colouring of which has recently been carefully restored (by E. Williams). This has a high relief bust, repaired; the figure, in a niche, holds a dagger and sword and is surrounded by objects of symbolic significance. Twisted columns and broken pediment; on the frieze 'Vivit post funera virtus'. At top is a cartouche with helmet. At each side are putti with trumpets, resting on skulls. Inscription beneath, with side volutes and a cherub beneath on a bracket. The Georgian monuments include two sculpted by T King of Bath: to Rebecca Lewis of Llanllear, 1782, a draped urn; to Bridget Jones of Duffryn, 1780, an undraped urn on a shelf. The others are one to Arthur Price, 1757, a draped urn on a pedestal; to Elizabeth Vaughan, 1754, a plain urn in a broken pediment and to Elizabeth, Lady Stepney, 1795; a draped urn on a sarcophagus with ramped scrolls; the shelf on architraveless fluted columns each side of the inscription. Low relief figures on the sarcophagus. C20 brass memorials beneath.

The memorials of the DuBuisson (and Henckell) family are all plain inscribed tablets, in a group in the southwest corner of the nave. These range in date from 1772 to 1930. Memorials to the north of the nave include one to Eliza Maria Williams, 1878, with short black colonnetes, oolitic limestone caps, bases and shelf, and a steep Gothic stilted pediment surmounted by a cross; one to Hester Williams, 1837, in sarcophagus form, by H Wood of Bristol. To the right of the chancel arch is a brass memorial to the fallen of the Great War, and another to the fallen of the Second World War in the south aisle. There is also a marble memorial to members of Capel Wesle fallen in the Great War, brought here when the chapel closed in 1973. Plain inscribed memorials in the west porch include one to Mary Davies, 1759, by John Thomas of Llandybie; another to J E Protheroe, surgeon, 1836, also signed John Thomas of Llandybie.

Listed
Listed at grade II* as a medieval church with a particularly fine tower, C19 interior and many fine monuments.