Colwyn Benefice is made up of seven very different churches, all set in the beautiful Mid-Wales countryside.
St Bridget’s, Llansantffraed in Elvel (as above)
is in a beautiful position surround by ancient yews in an almost circular churchyard. Pre-Christian burial mounds are to be found here and also at St David’s, Rhulen.
St Bridget’s is a 14th century church that fell into decay in the 19th century. It was rebuilt in 1895. Howse described it in his book ‘Radnorshire’ as, “A good rebuilding of a sadly decayed Church”. The Font was retained and old timbers used in roofing the porch and making pews. Not all churches were treated as kindly during renovation and rebuilding in the Victorian Era. In 1992, Lord Williams of Elvel commissioned Welsh embroiderer, Jacqueline Jones, to design and work embroidered wall panels for presentation to St Bridget’s.
St David’s, Cregrina (as above)
is set above the River Edw and probably dates from 1220. It is largely 13th century with a Norman font. The nave and chancel, which are not in direct alignment, are divided by a fine 15th century screen. It was well restored in 1903. The churchyard surrounds the Church and includes several yew trees. Cregrina village also has a chapel, The Mission, which was established in 1908 by two local gentlemen.
St David’s, Glascwm (as above)
was founded by St David in 6th century. It is a Grade I listed building that dates back to the 11th century with 13th century and 15th century additions. There was a partial restoration in the 19th century. In 2007 it received a National Lottery grant for a major refurbishment which now sees the church in a very good state of repair.
St David’s, Rhulen (as above)
is the oldest church in the group. It is possible that it was established before Christian worship arrived here – perhaps by Bronze Age people -hence the circular churchyard. It is quite remote and a very simple but beautiful example of a 13th century building. Our church is thought to be connected to Saint David and to the neighbouring churches in Cregrina and Glascwm.
St Mary’s, Bettws Disserth (as above)
was rebuilt in 1872 on an older site. Indeed, a map of 1500 shows a chapel of ease on this site. The bell and font appear to be medieval. This church is built in the traditional design of Radnorshire churches. Some of the graves date back to before the present church was built. At about the same time as St Mary’s was built, a chapel was built in the next village, Franksbridge. Thus the school, built for children of the Church, was never used as they went to the chapel school in Franksbridge.
St Mary’s, Llanfaredd (as above)
with its round churchyard is on a site that has been a place of worship since unrecorded times. The present building largely dates from the restorations carried out in the mid nineteenth century. Within the restored church are a 15th century font, 17th century communion rail and balusters and a bell c1280. The church commands a beautiful view of the river Wye. It is a small single-cell stone and slate building. There is a large yew tree measuring in excess of 36 feet in the churchyard.
St Matthew’s, Llanelwedd (as above)
is situated on the bank of the river Wye. It is the Mother Church of the Colwyn Benefice. It is a Grade II listed building. A few architectural details and rather more masonry survive from the medieval structure that underwent substantial restoration in 1877. The 13th century features include the font base and some old bench ends. The churchyard is rectilinear. The itinerant Methodist Charles Wesley married Sarah Gwynne of this parish.
For information on Graveyard Records for each of Colwyn Benefice’s churches, please contact Powys Family History Society