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St Machreath's Church, Llanfachreth

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Map ReferenceSH72SE
Grid ReferenceSH7545822480
Unitary (Local) AuthorityGwynedd
Old CountyMerioneth
CommunityBrithdir and Llanfachreth
Type Of SiteCHURCH
PeriodPost Medieval

St Machreath's Church, Llanfachreth, first mentioned in documents of 1254, is situated within a curvilinear churchyard, which has been extended to the east. The boundary is circular on the south and west sides and straight on the north and east. The former curvilinear east and north-east boundary is visible as a low bank and a line of yew trees. In 1913 the oldest visible grave was noted to be dated 1740. The main entrance is via a lych gate (NPRN 43845) in the south boundary, mentioned in 1776. There is another entrance in the north-west boundary.

The medieval church was demolished in 1871. It is known to have had a separate nave and chancel, and in 1776 its dimensions were given as 60ft length x 36ft width, with a small north aisle measuring 10ft length x 16ft width. A west gallery was also mentioned. The Royal Arms were painted on the gallery of the old church.

The medieval church was partly rebuilt in 1820-1822 under the patronage of Sir Robert Williams Vaughen, Nannau. North and south transepts were built, overlying the former north aisle and a west tower. A south chapel was added, measuring 15ft length x 18ft 2in width. The west tower was built in 1822. Dimensions are given as 12ft square x 37ft 6in height, with a spire measuring 30ft in height. The tower was retained when the new church was built. It has an external first storey entrance and a west door at ground level. Although built partially over the site of the medieval church, the new church was built to a different plan, meaning that archaeological remains could still be in situ.

The new church, built in 1874, is a Grade II listed building. It is constructed of local rubble stone and consists of a nave, separate chancel, south porch and north vestry. In 1886 the north vestry was enlarged to the east, and a porch was added to its east side, with a boiler room below it. The east window of the chancel was also replaced.

Sources include:
Beverley Smith, J, Beverley Smith, 2001, History of Merioneth II, pp. 353
Gwynedd Archaeological Trust, 2000, Historic churches of Gwynedd: gazetteer, pp. 391
Richard Suggett, Painted Temples: Wallpaintings and Rood-screens in Welsh Churches, 1200–1800, (RCAHMW 2021)