Village Alive Trust
Village Alive Trust

Work continues to save St Teilo’s Church at Llanarth

VOLUNTEERS are progressing plans to save the closed St Teilo’s Church at Llanarth, near Raglan, for community use - with support already being co-ordinated to reinstate the church bells, carry out essential conservation work and make internal improvements to enable a variety of community uses to take place.

The church was closed in 2013, after architectural surveys revealed expensive repairs were needed. The Grade II* building was put up for sale last year by the Church in Wales (CiW), but The Village Alive Trust Ymddiriedolaeth y Pentre Byw, a local buildings preservation charity, appealed for time to save the listed building for local people. The sale was put on hold following meetings with the Church in Wales.

Consultation through questionnaires delivered to homes in the parish gave the Trust ideas of what local people, and families responsible for graves at the church, would like to see brought back to the community, which has lost schools, the shop, Post Office and church in recent decades. Funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund and the Trust enabled a feasibility study to be undertaken by consultants on the way forward.

Pat Griffiths, Trust chairman, whose family has had long association with the church, said “The enthusiasm in the community for the church to be used again as a community hub for events, church services and small enterprises to make it viable is heartening. Despite Covid restrictions scuppering a planned public meeting to discuss the favoured option arising from the feasibility study, work has been carrying on through email, phone calls and internet meetings, to progress proposals”.

The Church in Wales is supporting the Trust initiative and is allowing time to progress grant bids in 2021. Currently major funding routes are closed to such projects but the Trust is looking for grant aid to tackle much needed nature conservation work in the churchyard, which remains open for burials in accordance with CiW rules.

The churchyard is home to one of the Ancient Yews of Great Britain (pictured) as well as other native species of trees and plants. Volunteers are invited to help with future churchyard management involving no use of sprays, pesticides or peat or non native plants. Gwent Wildlife Trust is supporting the proposal as the churchyard is sited in an area of farmland which has few dedicated nature spaces.

Proposals for the church itself would see a £750,000 project undertaken to provide new roof, eco heating, kitchen and toilet facilities and welcoming inner spaces suited to a variety of uses, including occasional church services, bell ringing tuition, meetings, café/community shop, exhibitions or intimate concerts. The chancel of the church will be screened to create a sanctuary for a columbarium where families could rent niches for storage of cremated ashes, in a setting enhanced by the existing stained glass window. Memorial wall plaques in the church will also be conserved by conservation specialists.

Match funding is essential to any major grant bid and the Trust is grateful for support and donations already received. Anyone wishing to find out more or to support the Llanarth project can see Facebook, the website, ring 01873 821418 or email

St Teilos Church at Llanarth

St Teilo’s Church at Llanarth

The ancient Yew in St Teilos churchyard at Llanarth

The ancient Yew in St Teilo’s churchyard at Llanarth