Saturday, 24 April 2010

Church Building and Architecture, Crunwere, Llanteg

Sketch of Crunwere Church by Geoff Scott
Prepared for the Llanteg Village leaflet

This church was Grade 11 listed in 1998.
There is some evidence for a pre-conquest (pre-1066) religious use of the site, as it has a Celtic dedication and is mentioned in early post-conquest documents (mentioned as Lann Cronnguern in the Book of Llandaff 1120-40).
St Elidyr (equated with St Teilo), Crunwere, was a parish church, during the post-conquest period, of the medieval Deanery of Pembroke. The living was a rectory which was in the possession of the Benedictines of Monkton Priory, Pembroke. Monkton was dissolved under Henry V and its possessions transferred to St Albans Abbey. At the dissolution it fell to the crown and remained in royal patronage. In 1833 the living was a discharged rectory rated in the king’s books at £6 16s 10d.It is a medieval church, with 40% pre-19th century core fabric. The church is situated central within earthwork and a possible disappeared medieval village site. External memorials and burial earthworks lie significantly close to the church.
A medium sized multicell church, consisting of chancel, vestry (north of chancel), nave, north and south transept, western tower of three storeys (with medieval vaulting but largely rebuilt). There may have formally been a northern skew-passage or north chapel.£50 was spent on an attempt to repair the church in 1814. The church was felt to be too low and it was probably at this time that the floor was excavated to beneath ground level to increase the apparent height, resulting in problems of damp, cold and decay.
The Rev’d W.D.Phillips was inducted in 1839 and the next year he resolved to rebuilt it all except for the tower and parts of the walls, at an estimate of £230. The ICBS (Incorporated Church Building Society) granted £35 in 1846 and subsequently £10 more. The work cost £241; there is no mention of any architect’s fee, but the name Thomas Jones appears on the application. The accompanying plan is inaccurate. The church was re-opened in late 1847.Sir S.Glynne, visiting in 1869 remarked that the church was entered from the west end and through the tower. He considered the medieval masonry had been retained in the north side. He also remarked on a pointed arch in the north wall of the chancel.
The church was again restored in 1878 by T.David of Laugharne. The original south door was re-opened, and the porch added. The pews were changed to bench seats (from box pews) and four additional windows were inserted. The vestry was probably added at this time.The church is of limestone rubble construction, interior walls with render/plaster. It has slate gable roofs, vestry with slate lean-to. Medieval openings and vaulting in tower. Other internal arches are from 1843. The roofs are from 1843, floors and finishes from 1878.The church’s nave, north transept and chancel may be fundamentally medieval but were extensively rebuilt in 1843 and cannot be closely dated; the north transept was however secondary, exhibiting an external joint with the nave.
The tower is later, possibly from the mid-late 16th century. The south transept is from 1843. The south porch was rebuilt in 1878 on the site of an earlier porch.
A drawing dated 1847 shows the church both before and after the 1843 rebuild. The pre-rebuild church comprised chancel, nave, north transept, south porch and west tower. The south porch door was a simple square opening which may date the former porch to the late 18th – early 19th century. The church was re-roofed, re-seated and presumable re-floored. Any former skew-passage or north chapel had gone.
The post-rebuild church is shown with the new south transept and the porch doorway was rebuilt as a 2-centred arch.The church was restored again in 1878, but neither the details nor the architect are known. The south porch was entirely rebuilt, and the present windows were inserted. The nave heating chamber was inserted.The altar rail and softwood pews are probably all from 1878, as may be the oolite (limestone) pulpit. The oolite font has an octagonal bowl and stem, and a square base, all 19th century and probably from 1878.There is one bell in the tower.
A corbel lies high up on the external face of the north wall, possibly relating to a former component – a skew-passage or north chapel.The chancel arch is from 1843, as is the softwood roof. The tiled floor is from 1878.
The nave is lit by two windows in the south wall – both from 1878. It is tiled, on suspended board floors (from 1878) with a below-ground heating chamber.
The west tower is of three storeys and typical of the region, being tapered and the style is of the mid-late 16th century. A square spiral stair turret projects from the eastern half of the north wall. The ground floor is entered from the nave through a plain mid-late 16th century arch. No evidence of the now blocked west doorway remains, but the west wall has a large window. The flagged floor may be from 1843. The second stage is lit by a simple slit light in the north face, and a low mid-late 16th century light in the west face. The belfry stage has openings in all four faces, again from the mid-late 16th century. The crenellated parapet has bee restored.The south transept was added in 1843. A vent in the south wall may lead to an underfloor chamber, inserted in 1878.
The south porch was entirely rebuilt in 1878 ad has a flagged floor.The lean-to vestry was also added in 1878, possibly occupying the site of a skew-passage or north chapel.The church is on an earthwork platform under 25% of the building. There is a very shallow drain all the way around. There are suspended floors above a void in 60% of the church, there is a below-ground heating chamber in 5% of the building, possibly a cellar beneath 15% of the church.

Building Phases
1 – Chancel and nave – possibly 13th century.
2 – North transept (and skew passage/north chapel?) possibly 14th century.
3 – West tower – mid-late 16th century.
4 – Former south porch – 18th- early 19th century.
5 – South transept added and partial rebuild in 1843.
6 – Restored in 1878 – south porch rebuilt, vestry built on, box pews and gallery removed.

There are wrought iron double gates with a cobbled path leading to the porch. There is a stile in the wall adjacent to the gate.
The ruin of a small stone building stands at the north west of the church, and there is a well in the field to the north. (The stone building referred to was once used as a stable when the rector would ride across the fields from the Rectory to come to church.)
A tower of moderate height and local type with its stairs turret at the north east corner and of local sandstone of varied type in large courses. The tower and its stairs turrets both have crenellated parapets on corbels with slit lights on the stairs. Tower and much of the fabric of the church are medieval though of uncertain date. The parts added or greatly restored in the 19th century are in a sandstone rubble masonry. A slate monument on the east wall of the south transept is to John Howell (full details below). The pointed open arch of the porch has a curiously rustic decoration of flowerhead motifs impressed in render (as done by Hugh James of Arfryn).

Chancel 4m by 6m
Nave 12m by 7m
There is one step up to the chancel arch and one to the sanctuary. The chancel ceiling is of timber boarding in vault form. The altar has a low wide reredo installed in 1934. The east window of three lights and three roundels with stained glass is in poor condition.
The chancel arch has a modern rood beam installed. There are similar arches to the transepts.
Post war stained glass in the two nave windows.
The tower base has a stone floor and stone-vaulted ceiling.

Dyfed Archaeological Trust.
The church consists of a nave (32ft by 18ft), chancel (15ft by 12ft), north transept (14ft by 11ft), south transept (14ft by 11ft) and a western tower (17ft north and south by 16ft east and west). It was rebuilt in 1843 (when the south transept was added) and restored in 1878, with the exception of the tower and north transept. The tower is of the traditional ‘Pembrokeshire’ type and consists of three storeys, the lowest one having a plain vault. The tower is lighted by narrow loops. The west door is blocked and the window above is modern, as is the font.

Visited 20th May 1915,
Account to the Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments