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There are 3 levels of listing: Grade I, II* & II. The majority of buildings which are of special interest are Grade II. A much smaller number of particularly important buildings are listed as Grade II*. Buildings of exceptional interest (approx 2% of the total number of listed buildings) are Grade I.
Ancient monuments and archaeological remains of national importance are protected by law. Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service is responsible for compiling a schedule (list) of these ancient monuments, some of which can be found in churches and churchyards. Examples can include churchyard crosses and the archaeological remains of previous churches or buildings on the site.
There are three National Parks in Wales: Snowdonia, Pembrokeshire Coast and Brecon Beacons. These protect 20 percent of the land in Wales, including precious landscapes, habitats, villages and heritage sites.
There are over 500 conservation areas in Wales. They are designated by local planning authorities for their special architectural and historic interest.
The Buildings at Risk register is managed by Cadw (the Welsh Government’s historic environment service) in order to identify the number and type of listed buildings at risk in Wales.
It is often extremely difficult to determine a precise date of construction for a church as many have been extensively altered over time. Church Heritage Cymru therefore shows a date range within which a church is believed to have been constructed. The dates are as follows: Early Medieval (pre 1066), Medieval (post 1066 to 1540), Post Medieval (1540 to 1837), Victorian/Pre WWI (1837 to 1914) and Modern (post 1914).
The name/dedication of the church and its location.
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This is a very brief summary of the church's main features. More detailed nformation can be found in the other fields and pages (tabs) in this database.
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This is the Ordnance Survey (OS) reference for the location of the church. Some locations will be approximate as this data is continuously being refined and updated.
This is the name of the Local Authoirity within which the church is located.
This describes how the church relates to its immediate and wider environment, sometimes called its setting. It describes how the church contributes to its landscape or townscape and how these things collectively contribute to the character of the area.
St Illtud's Church is on the western side of the town of Llantwit Major which lies on the coast road between Barry and Bridgend. It is in the older part of the historic town, a short distance from the Town Hall with its car park. It lies in a dip below Church Street, with the churchyard surrounded by lanes and houses, many with historic connections. This 'West End' was the former 'Abbot's Llantwit', a grange of Tewkesbury Abbey, with the street names reflecting the 18th century tradition that St Illtud's 'college' was sited here in the 6th century, although this was probably relocated here from nearer the coast in the 8th or 9th century. A number of the buildings in the vicinity of the church are listed, including those of the monastic grange, the gatehouse and dovecot.
Llantwit Major was only a small town of under a 1000 population until the 1930s when the development of nearby RAF St Athan resulted in MOD and local authority housing being built to the south of the town, and from the 1960s onwards considerable private housing; the present population is 14500. The property page of a national newspaper in 2014 described Llantwit Major as a 'snoozy, unassuming town', the same year that it was named 'the second most desirable place in Wales to live.' Employment is provided locally at MOD St Athan, Aberthaw Power Station and the Llandow Industrial Estate, but with the return of the railway in 2005 Llantwit Major is an easy commute to Cardiff and Bridgend.
The old centre of Llantwit Major in which the church is situated has always been confusing to visitors, described in 1938 as having 'picturesque, crooked streets, narrow and winding, the nightmare of visitors'. This hasn't changed!
The name/dedication of the church to which the plan refers.
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This is a description of the ground plan of the church.
The church consists of three sections: the East Church with nave, two aisles, chancel and west tower; the West Church which has a south porch with parvise above; and a large chapel (Galilee) built against the west end, with an upper floor at its east end. There is also a small two storey building, now used as a kitchen with office above, to the N of the chapel, accessed from the restored Galilee.
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If the footrprint (area) of the church is known, it will be displayed here.
A description of the history and archaeology of the church and its site.
There is evidence of human settlement along the Glamorgan Heritage Coast during the Neolithic Age (3500BC to 2000BC); during the Bronze Age (2000BC to 750BC) people moved back and forth across the Bristol Channel for trade and settlement, perhaps using the estuary of the Afan Colhuw at what is now Llantwit Major, as a port. There are three Iron Age hill-forts close to Llantwit Major, and a feasting site has been discovered at Llanmaes, just north of the town. A Roman villa was discovered in 1888 on the northern outskirts of Llantwit Major, which had various agricultural buildings, suggesting this was the home of a prosperous farmer in this rich agricultural area.
There is no archaeological or documentary evidence of an early Christian presence in the area, though there may have been a small Christian community at Llantwit Major before the arrival of St Illtud in the late 5th century. Evidence from the 7th century Vita Samsonis suggests that Illtud's monastic school was well established by 490. While there is a 12th century Life of St Illtud which says that Illtud was born in Brittany, in actual fact all that we can say with any certainty about him was that he was an educated and cultured man, who had studied the Scriptures, was ordained priest, was magister and abbot of a monastic school, and was revered by his successors. There are no archaeological remains of Illtud's monastic school, so it cannot be precisely determined where it was situated. It is likely to have been in the wide valley of the Afan Colhuw near the coast, and under the protection of an extensive promontory fort. The river mouth of the Colhuw provided a suitable site for a port, serving the seaways to and from Somerset, Brittany and Ireland. Pupils at St Illtud's monastic school are traditionally said to include St Samson and St Paul Aurelian, who travelled to Cornwall and Brittany, St David and St Gildas.
The monastic community at Llantwit Major suffered from the Viking raids in the 9th century, and may have relocated from the coast inland to the present site of the church at that time. Llantwit Major was used during the 9th and 10th century as a royal burial ground for the kings of Glywysing, as reflected in the inscriptions on the crosses now preserved in the Galilee Chapel. By the 11th century, Llantwit was a 'clas' church, with a small community of canons.
In 1102 the Norman lord of Glamorgan, Robert Fitzhamon, gave the church at Llantwit to Tewkesbury Abbey, and also the monastic farm to the west. The pre-Norman 'clas' church was rebuilt at that time, comprising the present West Church (itself rebuilt in the 15th century), north and south transepts and a chancel; all that remains are the archway over the south door and some fragments of masonry. In the 13th century, the transepts and chancel of the Norman church were levelled, to be replaced by a new chancel and nave of four bays with aisles, the south aisle extending the length of the chancel. A low tower was erected over the division between the Norman 'West Church' and the new 'East Church', and a large porch added to the West Church, with a Parvise Room above. A chapel was added to the west end of the church, with a lower storey as a processional (the Galilee) and an upper storey as a Lady Chapel. In the 14th century the south aisle was shortened to balance the north aisle so that both were the length of the nave. In the 15th century the West Church and the Lady or Galilee Chapel were rebuilt, and the east window of the chancel inserted. In the late 15th or early 16th century the Galilee Chapel was endowed as a chantry chapel for the benefit of the Ragland family, and a house built for the chantry priest in the grounds of the church.
The West Church was probably the parish church with the East Church used by the monks of Tewkesbury. However, with the Reformation, Tewkesbury Abbey was dissolved, and the patronage of Llantwit Major passed to the Dean and Chapter of Gloucester Cathedral. The Chantry was suppressed and the chapel and house sold, the chantry becoming a ruin until it was rebuilt in 2013. A series of restorations of St Illtud's took place from 1888 to 1905, during which the early medieval monuments were brought inside the West Church; the restoration was largely the work of G.E.Halliday, the Llandaff diocesan architect. Further work was carried out in the 1950s by George Pace, and in 1992 the two churches were divided by a glass screen, and a spiral stair case to the parvise room was introduced. On 6th September 2012 work was begun on the Galilee Chapel to the design of Michael Davies of Davies Sutton and Partners, which retained the character of a ruin in a finished building. A new mezzanine floor was erected above the eastern part of the Galilee Chapel, providing a meeting place, and most importantly the early medieval stones were moved from the West Church into the restored Galilee, allowing them to be viewed from all sides for the first time for over 100 years.
A description of the exterior of the church and the main features of the churchyard.
St Illtud's is constructed in lias limestone, quoined mainly in the same material, though the tower is quoined in Sutton stone. Sutton stone was also used for the earlier openings, teamed with a limestone of similar appearance but more tractable character, identified by George Halliday as Dundry stone: the later medieval openings are in sandstone, and Bath stone was used for the 1899-1905 repairs.The roofs are of Welsh slate.
The entrance is into the West Church. The doorway, which is reached through a porch with a recessed chamfered 2-centred arch of C13 type, is a plain round arched Norman one with a Victorian plank door. The parvise above is lit by a single trefoil headed light over the archway, but there are five small square openings (putlog holes) rising diagonally on either side up into the gable. Battered base with corner buttresses, very steeply pitched gable. The right hand buttress is corbelled out to the upper floor, which seems to have been done to accommodate a preexisting building, since demolished (shown on a plan by Halliday). The south wall of the nave shows stonework of different characters said by Halliday to be evidence of the incorporation of part of a pre-Norman building, with possibly two rebuildings above. To the left of the porch is a 3-light arched Perpendicular window with cusped lights; to the right is a 3-light square headed Decorated window with cusped and trefoiled heads, and to the right again a 2-light C13 one with equal trefoil headed lights. The north wall has a window similar to this latter one, but a Victorian replacement.
The dripcourse on the west side of the tower above the south slope of the West Church roof suggests that the roofline has been lowered, whereas the north pitch appears to be original, but it is difficult to see any difference internally. The tower is over the west end of the east church. Although, internally, the crossing is Transitional and therefore probably of c1200 what can be seen on the outside appears C14 with a probably C16 castellated parapet. Two stages above the roof with a single light with cusped head on the north and south faces, the one on the east face is now internal. Pairs of trefoil lights to belfry; corbel table; castellated parapet with cross-eyelets.
The East Church comprises nave, chancel and north and south aisles of later C13, the massive stone arcade piers built on the lines of the walls of the Norman or earlier chancel. Two-light aisle windows with Geometric tracery, three on either side, the south-west window now a door, buttresses of 1905 between the windows on the south side added to support the flying arches within. Clerestorey windows, partly set into the aisle roofs, two on the north and one on the south, although Lambert found evidence for a second in 1888, 2-light Perpendicular windows, the northern ones seemingly Victorian. Three-light east and west windows to both aisles. Halliday suggests that the Early English east window of the south aisle is the original east window reused when the aisle was shortened. Chancel with four lancet windows with trefoil heads on north side; restored Perpendicular east window with two large lights, each with two smaller ones within, panelled head and dripmould over. Probably C15 2-light ogee headed windows in blocked arcade arches on south side. Priest's door and attached early C19 railed enclosure below. The north wall with coursed and squared stones is largely part of the restoration, as is the upper part of the east gable with its coping and apex cross.
The C13 west Galilee building, with its former chapel, later probably a chantry chapel, was restored 2012-3. This has a C13 window with tracery restored in the west gable which lit the upper chapel and large archways flanked by buttresses in both north and south walls to the undercroft; two of these medieval buttresses have been ripped off at some period leaving large scars. The interior of this section retains, in the upper part of the east wall, a multiple-moulded niche with a dripmould over (a later addition for protection) and, to the right, an ogee headed piscina. west window; two stone staircases at the west end and a further one at the north-east end leading to the stair to the upper floor of the former Sacristry entered through a small 2-centred doorway, with a larger 3-centred arch beside it into the west church. Probably C15 Sacristan's lodging of two storeys against north wall. This has small square headed windows, a steeply pitched roof and a gable chimney.
The restoration of the Galilee Chapel by Michael Davies of Davies Sutton and Partners used Woodkirk sandstone on the irregular wall tops of ruined north and south walls to support frameless glass, with a new frame installed to support the roof of Cornish slates. New simple tracery was inserted into the west window for the plain glass.
Source: Cadw listing http://cadwpublic-api.azurewebsites.net/reports/listedbuilding/FullReport?lang=en&id=13259 (with additions)
Information about any noteable architects, artists, people, or events associated with the church.
Information about any important features and building fabric.
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The name of the person who inputted the image.
This section gives a general description of the interior of the church. Further details of any important internal fixtures and fittings will be listed below.
West Church : Fifteen bay C15 arch-braced collar beam roof with seven principal trusses and eight secondary ones. The buttresses flanking the tower arch were added in the early C18, certainly before 1731 and possibly the same date as the bells i.e. 1722, and thus added to counter the additional stresses on the tower.
East Church : The crossing is carried on four clustered piers which were underpinned and rebuilt in 1899 with the consequent loss of some detail. Only one now has a carved capital with trumpet flowers etc., but the other carving was already recorded as lost or damaged in 1858 (Archaeologia Cambrensis). The particularly remarkable feature in the nave is the evidence for the two-times heightening of the roof to be clearly seen on the east wall of the tower; and the very rough and unfinished nature of the three bay arcades and chancel arch; both are clearly broken through an existing wall, presumably with a much smaller opening before. The flying buttresses were inserted in the south aisle in 1905 to counter the movement of the south arcade since the second heightening in the C15. Late C19 waggon roof done as part of the Lambert restoration. The aisle roofs are also Victorian. C15 chancel arch to C13 chancel. Probably C15 close set arch-braced collar beam depressed waggon roof with three members running the full length.
Galillee : central timber frame of American oak supporting the new roof. Ground floor - toilets, passage and stairs in first (east|) bay; glass entrance doors in former south doorway and glazed former north doorway; display of early medieval stones in third (west) bay. Mezzanine floor - from east wall of Galilee to second bay, supported by steel columns, with glass screen to provide viewing area for the early medieval stones. 13th century Niche (former west window of West Church) and piscina. Former sacristy - ground floor tea station; upper floor office and archive. Doorway connecting Galilee with the West Church restored with glazed doors. Polished limestone floor throughout and white limewashed walls.
Information about the church's important internal fixtures and fittings.
Information about the church's important moveable items and artworks.
A description of the ecology of the churchyard.
Information about the presence of bats in the church building or churchyard.
Records whether the church has been consecrated.
Records whether there have been burials in the churchyard.
Records whether the churchyard is still being used for burials.
Records whether there are any war graves in the churchyard.
Any important churchyard structures will be listed here.
Signifiance levels are set at high, medium and low.
Significance defines what is special about a church. This could be architectural, archaeological, historical or liturgical. Here, it describes the relationship of the church to its surrounding area and helps place it within its wider landscape context.
Significance defines what is special about a church. This could be architectural, archaeological, historical or liturgical. Here, it describes the significance of the historic building fabric of the church.
Significance defines what is special about a church. This could be architectural, archaeological, historical or liturgical. Here, it describes the historic significance of the interior of the church.
Significance defines what is special about a church. This could be architectural, archaeological, historical or liturgical. Here, it describes the relationship between the church and its community.