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Capel Bigawdin;Capel Begewdin, Porthyrhyd

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Map ReferenceSN51SW
Grid ReferenceSN5115014710
Unitary (Local) AuthorityCarmarthenshire
Old CountyCarmarthenshire
The ruin of Capel Bigawdin is located on the edge of woodland, adjacent to the southern boundary of the field in which it stands. It is situated some 160m west of a farm named Bigawdin on historic (1889-1915) mapping. 160m south-south-west of Wern-las. Capel Bigawden is said to be much the same in character as nearby (1.6km east) Capel Herbach (NPRN 100629). The two are thought to be contemporary and to possibly date to the thirteenth century. The three chapels, Capel Herbach, Capel Bigawdin and Capel Dyddgen (NPRN 303927)) are described in Archaeologia Cambrensis as being in a straight line, within some three miles of one another, following the eastern side of the Gwendraeth Valley at its northen (or upper) end.

Capel Bigawden is a small, oblong building without chancel or transept, and had a small belfry at its west end. There was, reportedly, originally a well close to the north wall and others at the west door, but by 1893 these were nearly choked up. In 1917 it was reported that there had recently been four or five wells outside the building and close to its north-eat corner, which had subsequently overflowed and merged into one another, creating a quagmire. The building's internal measurements are given as 28ft x 15.5ft. Measurements of the door are given as 5.5ft height x 3.5ft wide. A holy water stoup was reportedly located to the right of the entrance, but had been broken off and taken away in 1893, although the block on which it rested could still be seen. At this time there was a local tradition of a burial ground located in the field to the south of the church.

Sources include:
Kay, R.E, 1953, 'Herbach', R.E Kay notebooks, Series III Vol VII (June 1953-March 1954), 602-608
Ordnance Survey, 1889, first edition 25inch
Ordnance survey, 1906, second edition 25 inch
Ordnance Survey, 1915, third edition 25 inch
'Stray notes on the Carmarthenshire report of the Royal Commission on Welsh Antiquaries', Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian society, 1917-1918, P3
Tierney, H.C, 1894, 'Unexplored Ecclesiastical Ruins in Carmarthenshire', Archaeologia Cambrensis, P19-24

N Vousden, RCAHMW, 29 August 2012