Village Alive Trust
Village Alive Trust

Grant success for local listed landmark rejuvenation project

The Village Alive Trust buildings preservation charity has been awarded a £10,000 grant by the Architectural Heritage Fund to develop the project to conserve and re-use the closed Grade II* St Teilo’s church at Llanarth, near Raglan.

Pat Griffiths, of the Trust, said the grant and support from AHF was very welcome and the Trust was grateful for help once again from AHF which had financially supported an initial viability report, pre-Covid.

The latest grant will be match funded and used to pay for consultants’ reports on business viability, energy proposals, planning matters and other essentials. The reports will firm up several years of work already undertaken by Trust volunteers to determine need for a rural well-being centre with café, therapy treatment space, quiet space and facility for bell ringing training.

“The church building has been unused for ten years and needs extensive renovation and sympathetic installation of facilities to be ready to be used again by local people and visitors. With increased costs following the Covid delay, the Village Alive Trust needs to successfully bid for large grants from funding bodies to carry out this project. This development stage, funded with help from AHF, will provide information for funding bodies to recognise the proposals have resilience, community support and will enable imaginative community re-use of a rural heritage building with Norman roots,” said Pat.

Anyone interested in the project, which is known as Calon Llanarth, can now take a short online tour of the closed St Teilo’s by visiting www.villagealivetrust, and clicking on a link to a short drone film, from the home page slide entitled What does St Teilo’s look like ten years after closure?

Local film company director Martin Phillips, of Red90, gave his valued services free on a bright and sunny Easter Saturday to create, and later edit, the film.

The next stage of the project, which will run alongside the Trustees’ appointment of consultants, will be a survey about the proposals which will be available online or in hard copies. Further details from Pat Griffiths on 01873 821418 or email to sign up for newsletters.

St Teilo’s seen from the air:

Coffee Morning

 Coffee Morning

St Teilo's Workshop

When would groups ranging from Alzheimer’s to Yoga unite?

A cross section of interest groups came together on March 23rd for two workshops at Llanarth Village Hall run by the Village Alive Trust, with support from Community Action Network.

The aim was to get feedback on the Trust’s project to bring the closed St Teilo’s Church at Llanarth back into community use. It closed ten years ago and was put up for sale in 2019.

 Post Covid the Trust has developed the project with a view to the Grade II* listed building becoming a community well being centre, with bell ringing training school and flexible spaces for various activities. It is hoped that a café would enable regular drop-in access and an income stream.

Dozens of invitations were emailed out to groups including MIND, cycling, bee keeping, local history, councillors, GAVO, walking groups, Welsh societies, council clerks, therapists and Alzheimer’s Society among others.

Despite apologies from groups wanting to know more, but unable to attend on the day, the workshops attracted a variety of people willing to engage and offer ideas, feedback and support.

The day was introduced by Vivienne Morgan Jones, the Trust’s treasurer and the workshops were led by Chris Jones, of Chris Jones Regeneration, who specialises in place making. Chris is acting as a critical friend to the Trust in helping to coordinate the project before grant bids.

Ashley Morgan, of Monmouthshire County Council’s communities and social department who is the lead for community spaces in this area, is also assisting the project.

Illustrations created by Eric Evans, Trust member, and brainstorming sessions hosted by Trust vice president Edward Holland, Chris Jones, David Binding, trustee and Chris Fleming-Jones and refreshments provided by Pat Griffiths and Pam Watkins, helped towards a fruitful day when ideas were exchanged, and new bonds created. Watch this space!

St Teilo's Workshop

Could your well being or interest group use space in this building?

NOW is the time for local cycling, walking, youth, music, mental health and well being groups to enlist for a workshop on March 23rd when project ideas for community well being use of the closed St Teilo’s Church at Llanarth, near Raglan will be explored with feedback, and partnership invited. Monmouthshire County Council is supporting the event as part of Community Action Network.

The Calon Llanarth project is spearheaded by registered charity, The Village Alive Trust, a local buildings preservation trust which has been run by volunteers since 2004. Previous partnership grant aided projects, which have enhanced their environment, boosted tourism opportunities and helped local businesses, include the 16th century Great Trerhew Barn at Llanvetherine, home of the first BBC Lambing Live series and the 16th century Croft Barn at Whitecastle Vineyard.

Since St Teilo’s at Llanarth was put up for sale in 2019, the Trust has been working to build a sustainable conversion project which would reopen this community space for everyone. The church closed in 2013 and renovation and conservation work is now essential for this Grade II* listed building. The Church in Wales has allowed the Trust time to build a project and would agree a long lease at peppercorn rent, if community use can be secured as a viable future for the building. It is now time to sign up, to save the building being sold off, and taken out of community ownership. There is huge competition for grant aid of the scale now needed, ten years after redundancy, to preserve and reuse the church, so the Village Alive Trust urges a groundswell of local support

Covid held up progress on furthering the Trust project aims, although much research has been undertaken and regular updates issued.  But local partnerships and useful feedback, are now paramount to prove that there is a community need in this part of Monmouthshire to apply for grants to create a rural well being centre.

Under proposals the eight church bells would be reinstated, and a bell ringing training centre would be established to foster this heritage skill; there would be a café to draw in visitors, groups and income. Several flexible meeting spaces, including a quiet space for reflection or mentoring, could suit small interest groups, art and craft exhibitions, choral concerts, home workers and attract  interested visitors, while also safeguarding the heritage of the church which has Norman origins, and a more recent stained glass window in the chancel.

Pat Griffiths, of The Village Alive Trust said, “We will be sending out invitations to the March 23rd workshop shortly. We have a list of groups and small local businesses which might like to attend. But, we need all areas of the community represented and may not have your group’s details.

“Do you represent a group, say cyclists or walkers, who might benefit from a regularly open community facility with refreshments? This is a beautiful rural area with good road links but sparse public facilities on offer. Or, are you a home worker or small business needing space to hot desk or meet clients? Or maybe you belong to something informal such as a knit and natter group of like minded people who want a space to meet and enjoy a cuppa?”

The workshop will be held on Thursday, March 23rd at Llanarth Village Hall. There will be a choice of sessions, morning or afternoon, with refreshments provided. To secure an invitation please email Pat Griffiths on, or tel: 01873 821418 and leave a message. RSVPs will be attached to invitations sent out so that everyone can be accommodated, and sufficient resources prepared.

Further information on the Trust’s past projects, which have included conferences, community events and open days can be found at

Calon Llanarth Project prize draw winners!

THE Village Alive Trust, which is researching how to save the closed Grade 2* listed St Teilo’s Church at Llanarth for community use, would like to thank helpers and everyone who donated prizes, or purchased draw tickets for the recent Grand Draw which raised over £2,500 towards ongoing costs.

The draw was held on Saturday, May 7th, at Llanarth Village Hall when a number of supporters enjoyed freshly baked Welshcakes and coffee and gave donations. The church was open for viewing for an hour before the event enabling some visitors to see inside the building for the first time. The church was closed in 2013 and put up for sale in 2019.

The Church in Wales is allowing The Village Alive Trust time to build a project which could see the building in community hands on a long peppercorn lease. Covid has delayed progress, and put up repair costs and support is needed. Anyone who can help in any way is urged to contact the Trust by emailing or by contacting Chairman Pat Griffiths on 01873 821418.

The draw prize winners were Julie Lunt (glamping break); Angela Kenvyn (£100); Catherine Smith (holiday voucher); Ann Mathias (voucher); Sue Raynor (voucher); Trevor Morgan (garden tickets); Margery Evans (chocolates); Liz Davies (kettle); Anthony Wills (gift box); Les Taylor (coolbag) and Andrew Tranter (soft toy).

Further details including previous projects managed by The Village Alive Trust can be found at

Calon Llanarth Project to save St Teilo's

The ancient Grade II* listed church at Llanarth near Raglan was closed in 2013 and put up for sale in 2019. Local volunteer run buildings preservation charity THE VILLAGE ALIVE TRUST approached the Church in Wales to save the landmark building for the community. Despite Covid the group has now been able to formulate a plan for the future of the building which would reinstate the bells and create a bell ringing training centre, create a café for visitors to enjoy the church’s heritage, install heating and lighting, WC, lift, and a flexible space for staging exhibitions, choral concerts and small events. The chancel with its stained glass window would be a sanctuary area where relatives of loved ones could rent niches for cremated ashes to be kept… known as a columbarium.

An expression of interest has been submitted to Heritage Lottery Fund for their approval to bid for major funding. The Trust and volunteers are also fundraising to cover costs already incurred for work including architect input and bat survey, feasibility study etc.

But all research and form filling, compiling press releases, newsletters, open days etc is carried out voluntarily by members of The Village Alive Trust which has a record of conserving listed buildings ‘at risk’ in Monmouthshire.

A Coffee Morning and update on the project will be held at Llanarth Village Hall on Saturday May 7th…from 11 am and St Teilo’s will be open from 10-11am that day.

Your support is appreciated and we hope to be able to welcome you to a reopened St Teilo’s church building as part of Calon Llanarth, which aims to conserve this landmark at the ‘heart’ of the community.

Chance to support Calon Llanarth

The Village Alive Trust continues work to secure the closed St Teilo’s Church at Llanarth as a restored and useful landmark building with a project aptly named Calon Llanarth… Heart of Llanarth.

A Grand Draw to aid fund raising will be drawn at 12 noon at a Coffee Morning at Llanarth Village Hall on Saturday, May 7th. As well as coffee and cake and the main draw, there will be a varied stall of books etc to browse and a raffle for small prizes. Everyone is welcome to come to the Coffee Morning from 11am. Information from Pat Griffiths 01873 821418.

Meanwhile tickets for the Grand Draw are being sold at £2 each. Volunteers will be at The Market Hall, Abergavenny, on Tuesday, March 15th between 10am and 2pm to sell tickets and update anyone interested in the project, which aims to restore the eight bells and create a bell ringing training centre, as well as a café, exhibition space, heritage interpretation and a columbarium in the chancel for niches of loved ones ashes.

Open Day at closed Llanarth Church drew widespread support

The doors at St Teilo’s Church, Llanarth were opened to the community for the first time in several years in early September and the event held in bright sunshine drew enthusiastic support from local people and further afield.

The Cadw open doors event, which allowed visitors to view from the tower, porch and chancel doorways, enabled visitors to see how the building is structurally sound but requires conservation work and upgrading to enable new community uses, promote the area’s heritage and improve well being of local people and visitors to the historic landmark.

As well as seeing the church in its current state, and learning about planned management of the ancient churchyard to promote conservation, visitors were treated to an exhibition of the plans the Village Alive Trust are developing, and tea and homemade cake, at Llanarth Village Hall.

The redundant Grade II* building was closed in 2014 by the Church in Wales after a survey revealed expensive conservation work was needed. When the church was put up for sale, pre-Covid, the Village Alive Trust, a local buildings preservation charity, stepped in to seek ways to save the historic community building.

A viability study, funded by the Trust and the Architectural Heritage Fund, produced a proposal to repair the church and use it for various community uses. These now include restoring the eight bells which were removed from the tower, and running a bell ringing training centre. A discreet columbarium with rented niches for loved ones’ cremated ashes is planned at the chancel end. Other proposals would see a kitchen and WC facility at the tower end, with the nave divided into two floor spaces, to house a café area and a separate flexible space suitable for church festivals, small exhibitions, craft classes and choral concerts. A mezzanine floor at the tower end of the church would enable access to the bell ringing chamber and flexible space for other uses.

An important element of the Trust’s plan is to preserve the beauty of the church, including the view of the lovely stained glass window at the mezzanine level, through a glass screen at the chancel arch, retaining the airy feel of the church’s lofty nave. In keeping with an historic building, these changes would be reversible in the future should its functions change.

Pat Griffiths, Trust chairman, said Trust members and volunteers were busy throughout the Cadw open doors event to talk to the many visitors who turned out to learn about the project, offer suggestions, support and donations.

“Lockdowns and Covid restrictions on gatherings have hampered our efforts to reach out to supporters,” said Pat. “We have been issuing newsletters and flyers to anyone whose details have been added to our database and the local Press have been excellent in using our articles.

“But, we really needed some proper face to face contact which the open day helped to get rolling. We hope we have dispelled the myths that the church is structurally unsound, and demonstrated how the church would greatly enhance facilities in Llanarth,” she said.

“We have already had volunteers from the local area contact us with practical support, which is invaluable. We need as much support as possible from now on to formulate successful grant bids to retain and reinvent the church, without destroying its heritage. If we do not want to be the generation that allows this centuries old church to be sold off we must act now, with the support of the Church in Wales.”

Anyone who would like to know more can visit www.villagealive or email or contact Pat Griffiths on 01873 821418.

Llanarth Cadws Heritage Open Doors 3

Llanarth Cadws Heritage Open Doors 4

Open Doors Heritage event planned at Llanarth

The closed Grade II* church of St Teilo’s at Llanarth, near Raglan, will be on view on Saturday, September 4th, from 2-6pm as part of Cadw’s Heritage Open Doors month.

The Village Alive Trust, local buildings preservation charity, will be hosting viewing at the church, which closed over seven years ago, by allowing visitors to see inside from the three open doors of the building.

Trust chairman, Pat Griffiths, said, ‘The church was closed after a five yearly inspection showed repairs were needed, but the building was not deemed to be structurally unsound. However, as the years have rolled on, the church has been left untended and now requires more expensive conservation work to the roof, as well as upgrading with facilities.

‘As the interior has not been maintained regularly the Trust is unable to allow visitors into the Nave, but clear views of the large interior can be obtained through the doors of the bell tower, porch and chancel, without needing to step into the church. Stewards will be on hand to guide visitors as they view the building and the churchyard.

‘After viewing the church visitors are invited to drive to the Village Hall to see an exhibition outlining the planned conservation and refurbishment of the church for public use once again. Refreshments will be available and Trust members will be on hand to talk about the project, ‘ said Pat.

The Church in Wales is supporting the Trust as it works towards seeking grants to carry out the conservation work and facilitate various uses for the building. One aim is to rehang the eight bells which were removed, as the Llandaff and Monmouthshire Diocesan Association of Church Bell Ringers would like to use the church as a centre for training new ringers.

Gwent Wildlife Trust has designated the churchyard as a Local Wildlife Site and its heritage trees include an ancient historic yew. The Trust is planning to manage the churchyard to enhance its flora and fauna and already has support from local volunteers. Parish burials continue at the churchyard which includes a listed cross and the grave of Elizabeth Jones, the last surviving child of Sir William Morgan, of Tredegar House. It was Elizabeth’s widowed husband, William, who built the Gothic Clytha Castle in her memory, in 1790.

Llanarth is accessed off the B4598 Abergavenny to Raglan road. Parking near the church will be stewarded and anyone needing the limited disabled parking spaces at the church is asked to email in advance.

Further details on The Village Alive Trust and the project can be found online at www.villagealive

Llanarth Cadws Heritage Open Doors 1

Llanarth Cadws Heritage Open Doors 2

Llanarth Leaflet June 2021

Llanarth Leaflet June 2021 1

Llanarth Leaflet June 2021 2