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St Dingat's Church, Llandovery

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Map ReferenceSN73SE
Grid ReferenceSN7637634086
Unitary (Local) AuthorityCarmarthenshire
Old CountyCarmarthenshire
Type Of SiteCHURCH
PeriodPost Medieval
St Dingat's Church was a parish church during the post-conquest period, belonging to the Deanery of Stradtowy. In 1998 St Dingat's was a parish church belonging to the Rural Deanery of Llangadog and Llandeilo. Historic (1888) Ordnance Survey mapping depicts the churchyard as curvilinear in shape. A possible large circular outer enclosure may be associated with the churchyard. 'Church Bank', depicted on modern and historic (1888) Ordnance Survey mapping some 100m west-north-west of the church, may also reflect a former boundary. The lychgate, in the north-east churchyard boundary, was donated by C. Bishop of Cwm Rhuddan to commemorate 50 years of marriage in 1918. It is Grade II listed along with the adjoining earlier nineteenth century 'kissing gate' (NPRN 418232). The tomb of Sir Gardner Wilkinson (NPRN 418234) is also listed, as are the nineteenth century railings of a grave enclosure belonging to the Jones family (NPRN 418233). St Mary's Church (NPRN 103828), parish church of Llanfair ar y Bryn, is located within the parish of Llandingat (some 1.5km south of the Llanfair ar y Bryn parish boundary). In 1710 it was referred to as a chapel to Llandingat. In 1883 St Mary's ceased to be a parish church and became a chapel of ease to St Dingat's.

The church is a Grade II* listed building constructed of mixed (mainly lime) rubblestone. It consists of chancel, three bayed nave, south chapel, three-bayed south aisle (traditionally known as the 'Parish chancel'), north porch, three-storeyed west tower and heating chamber (in the angle between tower and aisle). The nave dates to the fourteenth century and is contemporary with the chancel arch. The chancel is thought to have been rebuilt in the early fifteenth century. The church underwent extensive enlargement in the fifteenth century, including the addition of chapel, south aisle and tower. This work is thought to refelect the fact that, in 1484, Richard III (1483-1485) gave St Dingat's and Llanfair-ar-y-bryn Chapel ten marks each towards repair costs (in an effort to strengthen his interests in south Wales). In 1839 the porch was a large transeptal structure, which in 1898 was noted to have an uper chamberand stoup. A disused alter table dates from 1701. There were four bells in 1710, which were replaced by five new bells in 1720. The square font bowl may date from 1720, although its octagonal stem and base date to 1859. The church was restored in 1867, when the chancel and south aisle roofs were replaced. This may be when the porch was replaced and the north wall butressed. The church was again restored in 1906-7 by W.D. Caroe, in commemoration of the tercentenery of the appointment of the Rev. Rees Pritchard to the vicariate. The heating chamber was rebuilt at this time, as were many of the windows. The porch and butresses were parttially rebuilt. The approach to the rood loft, priest's door and south door were all unblocked and rebuilt. The west gallery and stair were removed and the aisle west door was blocked. The chancel, south chapel and aisle were re-roofed and the church was re-floored and re-plastered at this time. The heating chamber's west bay dates to the later twentieth century.

Sources include:
Cadw, Listed Buildings Database
Cambria Archaeology, 2000, Carmarthenshire Churches, gazetteer, 48
Ordnance Survey, 1888, first edition 25in

N Vousden, RCAHMW, 14 January 2013