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The Church of Llanbadarn Trefeglwys
The Church from a nineteenth century print.
The Church today
The East Window
The West Window
The church of Llanbadarn Trefeglwys, also known as Llanbadarn Fach, is a plain rectangular building of stone and plaster, consisting of nave and turret, with spire, containing one bell. It was rebuilt in 1856. There are a 140 sittings.
It is enclosed by a sub-circular bank and wall measuring 65.0m east-west by 70.0m
north-south. Its age is indeterminate but has every indication of being a Neolithic henge.
It was founded by St Padarn a bishop in the 6th century and is probably the Crucis Agam mentioned in his Life. He was the son of Pedrun (Petronius) and the grandson of Emyr Llydaw. He was one of the most distinguished of the saints of Britain several churches are dedicated to him. His feast is celebrated 15/17 April.
The word Trefeglwys suggests an early Celtic monastic settlement which would have been presided over by an abbot.
The Celtic Church was quite different from the Roman. While the Roman Church had a central authority the Celtic Church never did. Each monastery was seperate and held sway only over those churches that derived from its founding saint. There are other three other important differences. The Pelagian heresy ( which rejected Original Sin ) played a great part in Celtic beliefs, the date of Easter differed from that of Rome and the tonsure was cut across the head. Nevertheless, in 777 the Celtic Church yielded to Rome although in places like Llanbadarn and St David's it preserved its own character until the end of the eleventh century.
In 1287 the church (and eleven other churches)became a Collegiate Church having a Prebend at Bishop Beck's College at Llanddewibrefi. There were two reasons for doing this. One was to pray for the soul of Edward I and the second was that it gave Bishop Beck, and later the Crown, a degree of patronage.
On the south side of the chancel on a black stone mural monument, is the following inscription-
The other side of the wall opposite this stone lieth the body of Hugh Lloyde of Wernddy Gent. decease'd Aug. 14th 1731 aged 39. Also the body of Anne his wife who dyed Septr. 2d 1741 aged 39.
The Reverend Thomas Huet, who assisted Bishop Richard Davies and William Salesbury in translating the Bible into Welsh, was Vicar from 1561 - 1599 when he was appointed Precentor of St David's Cathedral.
According to the Parish Register the Reverend Daniel Rowland, curate of Llangeithio, and one of the leaders of the Evangelical Movement in Wales preached in the Church on 22nd May 1737. His father had been Curate of the Parish in 1698.
The Registers date from 1719 and the Transcripts from 1678.
The Vicars, listed in the Church, are -
Dafydd ap Jenkin
Griffin ap Richard
Vavasor S Davies
David William Davies
Rees David Rees
Reginald Marker Rosser
David Henry Evans
William Rufus Jones
David Lloyd Jones
However, this list is neither complete nor entirely accurate. I am indebted to Mr Paul Vivash for the following information.
After James Lewis (appointed 1673) there should be Abel GRIFFITH. He subscribed on being appointed to the living on 10 October 1684 and at the Bishop's Visitation of 1691 Abel GRIFFITH BA is shown as Vicar of Llanbadarn Trefeglwys (with C(K)ilkennin annexed). The Bishop's Register shows the appointment of Owen JONES to the living on 9 April 1719 'on the death of Abel GRIFFITH' so there is no doubt about his incumbency.
According to the St David's subscription books etc, Timothy Evans was collated to the vicarage 18 April 1796. The slight inconsistency with regard to the date of his appointment (1796 as opposed to 1793) is probably due to the fact that he was the Stipendiary Curate before taking over the vicarage so he was probably de facto Vicar on the death of Vavasor Davies before his formal appointment.
As regards one of the early vicars, Gruffith ap Richard ( listed as 'Griffin' ), because of the paucity of pre 1650 information in the registers, I ( Mr Vivash )checked the wills for basic details. Gruffith ap Richard, Vicar of Llanbadarn Trefeglwys, made his will 10 November 1635 and it was proved 6 December 1636. The only relative named was his wife, Maud David.
Possibly of more interest are the curates who served the parish. Unfortunately, it is clear that only a minority of such licences are actually recorded but there is the follwing:
1. At the Bishop's visitation of 1691, Johannes (John) James is shown as Curate of Llanbadarn Trefeglwys, Cardiganshire.
2. On 20 September 1713, Jenkinus (Jenkin) Jenkins was licensed to the curacy of Llanbadarn Trefeglwys
3. On 15 August 1773, Jenkin Benyon was licensed to the Curacy at a salary of £16 per annum.
4. On 14 September 1781, Stephen Jones was licensed to the Curacy of Llanbadarn Trefeglwys with the Chapel of Kilkennin annexed.
I am also indebted to the Warden of the Church, the late Mr William Jones, Penfarteg for his help.
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