Village Alive Trust
Village Alive Trust

What does St Teilo’s Church at Llanarth look like ten years after closure?

St Teilo's Church Llanarth from Red90 on Vimeo.

Llanarth Leaflet June 2021

Llanarth Leaflet June 2021 1

Llanarth Leaflet June 2021 2

Can you help save mothballed Llanarth Church for community use?

Llanarth-Church-21-01-20PROJECT Treftadaeth Llanarth Cymru Heritage Llanarth Wales begins in earnest this week as The Village Alive Trust, a local buildings preservation charity, instigates a feasibility study to explore options for the conservation and future use of the prominent Grade II* listed St Teilo’s Church at Llanarth, near Raglan.

The church is a rare example of Gothic style architecture in Wales but the high cost of essential repairs led to its closure in 2013 and the building was put up for sale in 2019. The Village Alive Trust, which has conserved local listed buildings since 2004, has gained the support of the Church in Wales (CiW) to look for ways and means to enable the building to remain accessible to local people and for Christian celebrations. The CiW has more than 90 redundant churches for sale across the country.

Village Alive Trust chairman, Pat Griffiths, was married at Llanarth over 40 years ago and was saddened to see a For Sale board go up as both her late father, and her mother, aged 92, had served St Teilo’s as church wardens.

She said, “I contacted Rev Dr Jean Prosser MBE, the Trust’s founder and company secretary, and we decided we must try to save this building with new uses, rather than see it converted into a house, amidst a working churchyard. Any new activities here must complement the excellent village hall and sports association in Llanarth – a village which has already lost schools, a post office and shop over the years.

“With the support of The Architectural Heritage Fund, Trust funds and public donations we are commissioning a study to investigate the costs of repairs and improvements and possible uses which can draw in revenue to maintain the church in future. These must fit in with ways in which the community and visitors can still benefit from this village landmark.

“We are looking at future uses for a building which has given spiritual comfort and community focus for generations. There is a beautiful stained glass window and an airy nave with historical plaques that we wish to conserve. Ideas so far are wide ranging, with one idea – for the chancel – to become a separate, quiet, reflective space for placing loved one’s cremated ashes in memorial niches.

“The nave area could benefit from underfloor heating with a new suspended floor helping easy access and this could be used for exhibition space or festivals or for concerts which require church acoustics. The tower bells were removed on closure and there is space now for a WC and servery with small offices above.

“The Trust will also look to ecologically manage the churchyard which is still in use, and to record families buried there so that details an be accessed and local history explored. Solar panels may be an option to help keep the church warm and dry in future and there is a community green energy grant scheme which could be applied for,‘ said Pat.

A thorough study of costs and projected uses put together byThe Village Alive Trust will hopefully result in a full project plan being formulated which can be used to bid for grant funding to bring a scheme to fruition.

“A lot of money, goodwill and voluntary help is going to be required to save this church from becoming yet another casualty. The Trust has expertise which is being willingly and freely given but we are urging anyone who has connections to the community or who has family graves at Llanarth to lend us support.

“Grants for this project may be available with community support to guarantee success. This can be as simple as ‘signing up’ that you would like to see this building remain, rather than be turned into a residence – possibly spoiling the sanctuary of the quiet churchyard.”

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