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St Ciwa's Church, Llangua

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Map ReferenceSO32NE
Grid ReferenceSO3897025740
Unitary (Local) AuthorityMonmouthshire
Old CountyMonmouthshire
Type Of SiteCHURCH

St James Church, Llangua, the original dedication to Welsh Saint Ciwa, implies pre-Norman origins. Following the initial Norman conquest of the Welsh kingdom of Gwent by William Fitz Osbern (Lord of Breteuil in Calvados), the Church at Llangua was given to the Benedictine Monastery at Lire in Normandy who established a monastic cell at Llangua. Nothing remains of the monastery, which survived until the Dissolution, and was said to have stood near the Great House, Llangua. The present church dates from the late medieval period. The nave roof and Perpendicular windows are late fifteenth century. The chancel was built separately and may be earlier, although the E window is again late fifteenth century. The Victorian restoration of 1889 by Thomas Nicholson of Hereford added new windows and a vestry on the north side. In 1954-5 E A Roiser carried out major repairs for Ivor Bulmer-Thomas, former chairman of the Redundant Churches Fund, who restored the church as a memorial to his wife, Dilys Thomas.

It is a small late-fifteenth century with timber belfry constructed of rubble stone with some ashlar dressings, and a stone tile roof and tile ridge. It is comprised of a nave, chancel, vestry, porch, and a timber bell-turret to the west. The bell-turret is square with a hipped roof and each wall face has a lower panel of tall studs and above a row of small turned balusters. The south-east front has a gabled entrance porch with semicircular arched doorway of stone voussoirs. To the left, the south wall of the nave has a late fifteenth century Perpendicular 2-light window with ribbed panelling above. To the right of the porch is similar 3-light window. There is a straight joint in masonry between the chancel and nave. The south wall of the chancel has a blocked Tudor arched doorway and Tudor arched window. The north-west elevation shows signs of Victorian restoration. The north wall of the chancel has a nineteenth century vestry attached with a pointed arched doorway, a boarded door with ornamental strap hinges, and small lancet window. The north wall of the nave has an off-centre nineteenth century buttress with raking offsets, with, to the right, nineteenth century single-light window with a four-centred arch. To the left is a similar 3-light window. The 3-light east window is lattice glazed and dates to the fifteenth century.

The nave and chancel have stripped walls. The nave and chancel wagon roofs have moulded ribs, painted octagonal bosses and battlemented wall plate, all late fifteenth century. There are deeply splayed window openings. Two rectangular aumbries on N and E walls of chancel. C18 panelled pulpit and reading desk. Carved wooden figure of St James on nave S wall. C19 six-light chandelier. Several fittings date from the 1955 restoration including altar rail, pews and font cover. At W end, post and panel partition has painted figures in four panels (Virgin and Child, Christ, a King (possibly St Edward) and an unidentified Bishop) and is said to have been imported 1954-5 from redundant chapel at Whitford, Devon.

Sources include:
CADW listed buiding record
Richard Suggett, Painted Temples: Wallpaintings and Rood-screens in Welsh Churches, 1200–1800, (RCAHMW 2021)