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St Brothen's Church, Llanfrothen

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Map ReferenceSH64SW
Grid ReferenceSH6222341184
Unitary (Local) AuthorityGwynedd
Old CountyMerioneth
Type Of SiteCHURCH
PeriodPost Medieval

St Brothen's Church, Llanfrothen, is situated within a graveyard whose northern boundaries retain their original curvilinear shape, although those delineating its southern section have been straightened. The churchyard has been extended to the south-east. Its entrance was originally on the northern side. The slope upon which the church stands was originally part of the seashore, and was washed by the tides. This was close to the beginning of the dangerous route across the sands from Ardudwy to Eifionydd (the other end of which is marked by St Bueno's Church, Penmorfa). In the early nineteenth century an embankment was built across the Glaslyn estuary, meaning that the church is no longer adjacent to the sea. The church was first mentioned in documents of1292-3. A holy well (NPRN 32393), noted in the seventeenth century, cannot now be located. There is an eighteenth century mounting block north of the churchyard (NPRN 43847).

The church is a Grade I listed building. It consists of a continuous nave and chancel with a western bellcote and a south porch. Measurements of the nave and chancel are given as 72ft 6inches length x 26ft width. The triple lancet east window dates to the thirteenth century. There are opposing doorways at the west end, although the south one has been plastered over. The north door has a pointed arch, and both are the thought to be thirteenth century in date. The felling of timber used in the rood screen has been dated to between 1496 and 1506. The screen consists of a central door with four bays either side. To the east of the screen another beam, with a series of triangular cuts on its underside, rests on wall plates. It is thought that this was originally part of the rood loft. Another carved plank, decorated with a vine leaf pattern, is situated behind the altar. It is supported between two seventeenth century bench ends, and is thought to have been a roof timber. The arch-braced roof trusses and purlins are thought to be fifteenth century in date. The octagonal font is thought to date to the late fifteenth century. Traces of wall paint have been found on the north wall. Windows were inserted in the north and south walls of the chancel in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century. Other windows were inserted in the nineteenth century. The present seating was added in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The porch is modern. The church building is no longer in use. Today only a few scattered houses and the redundant church remain of the former settlement. The new settlement, with its nineteenth century church, St Catherine's (NPRN 43862) is some three quarters of a mile to the north-west.

Screen dated 1496–1506

Sources include:
Beverley Smith, J, Beverley Smith, Ll, 2001, History of Merioneth II, 357-8
Gwynedd Archaeological Trust, 2000, Historic churches of Gwynedd: gazetteer, 391
Richard Suggett, Painted Temples: Wallpaintings and Rood-screens in Welsh Churches, 1200–1800, (RCAHMW 2021), pp. 66–7.