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St Mary's Church, Strata Florida

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Map ReferenceSN76NW
Grid ReferenceSN7465065760
Unitary (Local) AuthorityCeredigion
Old CountyCardiganshire
CommunityYstrad Fflur
Type Of SiteCHURCH
PeriodPost Medieval
St Mary's Church is situated some 20m north of the ruins of Stata Florida Abbey (NPRN 95764). It lies within a large, irregularly-shaped churchyard, bounded by roads on its north and west sides and the abbey on its south side. A bank in the southern section of the churchyard may represent a former churchyard boundary. A yew tree to the north of the church reputedly marks the grave of medieval Welsh poet, Dafydd ap Gwilym. Also on the south side of the church is a headstone bearing the inscription 'The left leg and part of the thigh of Henry Hughes, Cooper, was cut off and interr'd here, June 18, 1756'. Henry Hughes subsequently emigrated to the United States and the rest of his body was buried elsewhere. A flat gravestone near the north churchyard wall marks the grave of a visitor to the area, who reputedly ignored local advice not to travel during a storm and died of exposure at Teifi Pools. His burial and gravestone were paid for by local donation. The inscription reads 'Unknown; He died upon a hillside drear; Alone where snow was deep; By strangers he was carried here; Where princes also sleep'.

The original church building is thought to have been the chapel belonging to the abbey. It is first depicted in an engraving of 1741, where it is shown as being of similar type and form to the present structure. An octagonal font was noted 1810, although the present font is small and circular.

The church was rebuilt in its present form in 1815. It consists of nave and chancel and west bellcote. It was restored in 1875. The church was again restored in 1914, to the designs of G.T. Bassett. Four stained glass windows, by Powell and Sons, Whitefriars, London, date to the 1960s and were donated by the James Pantefedwen Foundation (founded by Sir David James James, originally of Pontrhydfendigaid).

Sources include:
Cadw, Listed Buildings Database
Lloyd, T, Orbach, J and Scourfield, R, 2006, The Buildings of Wales: Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion

N Vousden, RCAHMW, 19 May 2014