Village Alive Trust
Village Alive Trust

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.”

YOUR VIEWS MATTER

Please give us your answers by April 1st, 2020 to Village Alive Trust, Registered Office, Yew Tree Farm, Llangattock Lingoed, Abergavenny, NP7 8NS or email village.alive@btinternet.com

Question 1: Do you have a family link to the church and/or the churchyard?

Yes….No….

(if Yes please explain)………………………………………………………………………….............................................................................................................................................

Question 2: Do you want the church repaired so that it is part of the community again?

Yes….No….

(if Yes please give reasons)……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Question 3: How would YOU like it to be used?

(Please list ideas)…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..........................................................................................

Please provide your contact details if you would like to be involved or to hear about progress with this project (data only to be used to contact you about this project)

Name……………………………........................................................

Address………………………………………………………………………

Tel no:………………………………...................................................

E-mail:…………………………………………………………………........

Village Alive Trust aims to save a local church for community use

LOCAL buildings preservation charity, The Village Alive Trust, is exploring how the prominent Grade II* listed StTeilo’s Church at Llanarth, which is no longer used and up for sale, may be repaired and given a new lease of life to benefit the community. The imposing church was closed six years ago after a report showed it needed major roof repairs. Now the Church in Wales (CiW) is offering the church for sale for conversion, subject to planning permission. There are now more than 90 CiW redundant churches for sale.

Village Alive Trust chairman, Pat Griffiths, who was married at Llanarth over 40 years ago, was saddened to see the sale board go up as both her late father and her mother, now aged 91, had served St Teilo’s as church wardens. “I contacted Rev Dr Jean Prosser, 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. Head scratching, brain storming and meetings with our architect, the Church in Wales and other interested parties have led to the Trust applying for a grant for a feasibility study on new uses for the church,” said Pat.

Village Alive Trust members and trustees know that even such a lovely building as this church must be able to pay its way in future with income to cover running costs, and, importantly, a project must also ensure the building does not detract from use of the nearby Llanarth Village Hall. “If we can secure an Architectural Heritage Fund grant for some expert advice on repairs and basic facilities and the viability of new uses, we will have a basis to apply for more grants,” said Pat. “We are looking at future uses for a building that has delighted many generations of local people with its beautiful stained glass window and airy nave, which has interesting plaques we hope to conserve. The ideas so far are wide ranging with one idea - for the chancel - to become a separate, quiet, reflective space for cremated ashes to be kept in memorial niches in a modern day indoor Columbarium. The nave area could benefit from under floor heating with a new suspended floor and could find use as an exhibition space or for occasional festivals in the Christian calendar, or for concerts which require church acoustics. The tower may lend itself to small office spaces and the installation of services such as WC and beverage preparation area. We would also look to ecologically manage the churchyard and to make a record of all the families buried there so that their stories can be accessed on a website.”

Before we make any plans, WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR VIEWS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THIS HISTORIC CHURCH. To register interest in this project and to receive a questionnaire in due course please email village.alive@btinternet.com or contact Jean on 01873 821405 or Pat on 01873821418.

AHF

St Teilo's Church

Unveiling of the conserved Talycoed horse trough

Tenth Village Alive Trust conservation project celebrated at unveiling

CONSERVATION of the stone water trough built at Talycoed, Llantilio Crossenny in the 1880’s by renowned Monmouthshire historian Sir Joseph Bradney is the tenth project successfully completed by local buildings preservation charity, The Village Alive Trust.

The trough provided drinking water for animals using the former main route between Monmouth and Abergavenny and the structure was listed in 2000 as being of special architectural and historical significance. It was carved from a single block of sandstone and inscribed with a motto in Welsh which translates as Free Water for All.

Sir Joseph Bradney built an impressive home at Talycoed Court after demolishing an existing house previously owned by Crawshay Bailey Junior, son of the iron master. His 12 volume History of Monmouthshire, 1904-1932, set the template for recognising and recording the significance of the county’s vernacular buildings.

Over the decades the trough  had been colonised by ivy and the supporting rear wall had fallen into disrepair. The trough’s newest owners, Chris and Zara Duncan, approached the Village Alive Trust for help in tackling the renovation after deeds of a nearby farmstead they purchased revealed the structure was their responsibility.

Support for the conservation project was granted by the Country Houses Foundation, The Community Green Energy Advisory Group Community Benefit Fund (Llanvapley solar farm), The Village Alive Trust and the trough’s owners. Expert stone conservators and a local stonemason carried out the conservation work. Trust volunteer Eric Evans researched and illustrated an interpretative panel which was designed by Art Matters.

The culmination of the successful conservation project was celebrated at an unveiling of the panel by Trust Vice President Edward Holland and with a toast of mulled wine. Joining the celebration were neighbours and supporters.

Owners, Zara and Chris, thanked everyone who helped with the year-long venture. Zara said, “We had a really lovely crowd of people in the afternoon, those who had helped and those who live in the hamlet and Talycoed Court. Listening to the talk, memories came out about those who had met at the trough in their teenage years to hang out, those who remembered the hunt stopping there, as well as people who witnessed the neglect and deterioration over the years.

“Thank you to everybody who has helped...it’s wonderful to see it now settled in its environment with beautiful views to Offa’s Dyke behind its lovely stonework”.

Details of all the work undertaken by The Village Alive Trust can be found at www.villagealivetrust.org.uk

Unveiling of the conserved Talycoed horse trough

Unveiling of the conserved Talycoed horse trough

Unveiling of the conserved Talycoed horse trough

Trustees’ Report for the Year ended 31 May 2018

During the year the Trustees held 4 meetings with the membership. An annual general meeting received the Trustees Report and Accounts and elected trustees in rotation. Following its successful Conference ‘Stop the Rot’ in May 2017, the Trust issued a summary of the talks and advice on conserving Listed buildings to all participants and interested parties. The Trust entered into a partnership agreement with the owners of Talycoed Water Trough at Llantilio Crossenny (Listed Grade II), Zara and Chris Duncan, to seek funding and specialist support for the restoration of the Water Trough and backing wall in accordance with the Trust’s Conservation principles. This work is now fully funded and will commence September 2018.

The Trust hosted a guided tour for the Longtown Historical Society in September 2017 and continued its annual programme of Open days, featuring the properties it has worked with owners to conserve, continuing to attract visitors. In conclusion, another successful year for the Trust which continues to enjoy a local and national reputation for success in the preservation of Listed vernacular buildings giving community access through its web site and events.

Bradney’s Horse Trough Saved! December 2018

In partnership with the owners of the Horse Trough and with support from funders, Bradney’s Horse Trough at Tal y Coed Court, NP25 5HR has been conserved by specialist stone conservator, Torquil McNeilage, and the surrounding wall re-constructed with original materials by local craftsman, Nathan Marsh.

An interpretation panel with text and illustrations by Eric Evans and design by Artmatters, will be installed shortly.

The Trust is grateful for support from Country Houses Foundation and Community Green Energy CIC.

Thanks to everyone involved.

Trustees Report to the Year ended 31 May 2017

During the year the Trustees held 5 meetings with the membership and completed the Wine and Heritage Alive in Monmouthshire (WHAM!) project, which completed the restoration of The Croft Barn, Llanvetherine, in partnership with the owners, Robb and Nicola Merchant.

All objectives under grant conditions set by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Cadw were achieved or exceeded and final claims and project evaluation successfully submitted.

Resources for schools were published and a Schools Day held in Croft Barn.

A major conference entitled ‘Stop the Rot’ in May 2017, run in partnership with Monmouthshire County Council Conservation officers, gave information and advice to owners of Listed buildings at risk.

The Trust’s website was re-modelled to a multi-media platform with resources for owners of Listed buildings.

The Trust hosted a conference for members of the Historic Farm Buildings Group (HFBG) in September 2016.

An annual general meeting received the Trustees Report and Accounts and elected trustees in rotation.

The Trust's annual programme of Open days, featuring the properties it has worked with owners to conserve, continues to attract visitors.

In conclusion, another successful year for the Trust which continues to enjoy a local and national reputation for success in the preservation of Listed vernacular buildings giving community access through its web site and events.

Shoppers at Waitrose, Llanfoist

SHOPPERS at Waitrose, Llanfoist are urged to support local buildings preservation charity, The Village Alive Trust Ymddiriedolaeth y Pentre Byw, in August.

The Trust has been selected to benefit from the Community Matters scheme run by Waitrose whereby customers can use green tokens handed out at checkouts to support up to three local good causes each month. Since 2008 the company has donated £14million to nominated good causes across the country.

Pat Griffiths, chairman of The Village Alive Trust, said  "The Trust is run by volunteers and has conserved listed buildings across the area since its inception in 2004. Grant aid has been obtained from various bodies for individual heritage projects over the years and any funds raised through the Community Matters scheme will be used to carry on the good work, so thank you to anyone who supports the Trust's appeal in August."

Details of the Trust's work and downloadable trail leaflets can be found at www.villagealivetrust.org.uk

Monmouthshire’s heritage assets spotlighted at Stop the Rot event

OWNERS of some of the county’s privately-owned Listed Buildings were hosted at an informative Stop the Rot Conference organised by The Village Alive Trust Ymddiriedolaeth y Pentre Byw in partnership with Monmouthshire County Council.

Letters of invitation had gone to the owners of around 50 Listed Buildings deemed to be at risk of ‘serious loss of features or decline’ following the latest five yearly condition survey by consultants on behalf of Cadw. The event also brought interest from other owners of listed buildings in the area.

Demand for places saw the event moved to the historic Llanddewi Skirrid Village Hall although it was part of The Village Alive Trust’s latest project to conserve the Croft Barn at Whitecastle Vineyard, a project supported by Heritage Lottery Fund and Cadw.

Speakers were Amy Longford, Heritage Manager at MCC (who was accompanied by Molly Edwards, Heritage Monitoring Officer); Monmouth architect, Graham Frecknall; Usk architect Liz Hernon and Ross Murray, president of the Country Landowners and Business Association.

Amy explained the basis of the Listed Building register in Monmouthshire which contains condition details of the county’s 2229 Listed Buildings, the fourth highest number per county in Wales. She also detailed the whys and wherefores of ‘listing’ and the legal constraints on unauthorised repairs or development of Listed Buildings. While neglect of owners’ responsibilities for the buildings could result in prosecution, this was rare, and obtaining the necessary Listed Building Consent from MCC before tackling a building was free of administration charge, she explained.

Both architects gave illustrated talks on the warning signs and practical steps to take to ‘Stop the Rot’ and Ross Murray gave a spirited talk on alternative uses for Listed Buildings and the need for lobbying of politicians to help owners more easily protect and reinvent heritage buildings.

Feedback comments from attendees were largely positive, including ‘Excellent conference, most useful, inspirational, encouraging’ and ‘Interested in further help’.

The Village Trust website  www.villagealivetrust.org.uk contains details of all the Trust’s work.

*Pictured is Trust chairman Pat Griffiths opening the Stop the Rot event.

Stop The Rot Conference at Llanddewi Skirrid Hall

Stop the rot in the county’s listed buildings

Download: PDF

AN innovative conference aimed at helping to ‘stop the rot’ in the county’s endangered listed buildings is being organised by The Village Alive Trust Ymddiriedolaeth y Pentre Byw in partnership with Monmouthshire County Council.

A register of the condition of listed buildings is updated by Cadw and MCC every five years and the latest survey by consultants found local listed buildings, ranging from barns to garden structures, to be at risk of ‘serious loss of features or decline’.

Owners have a statutory responsibility to maintain heritage assets. With this in mind, The Village Alive Trust, a registered charity and buildings preservation trust, is inviting owners to meet and learn from conservation professionals how to ‘stop the rot’ on limited budgets but using appropriate conservation materials and techniques.

Owners of listed buildings are receiving postal invitations from theTrust, others who are interested in attending should contact us here.

Pat Griffiths, Trust chairman, said: “The Trust has helped owners of listed buildings since 2004 and is hoping to extend a helpful hand to safeguard more heritage buildings in Monmouthshire through this initiative. There will be knowledgeable speakers and a chance to discuss ways forward in dealing with these historic assets, which may be viewed as a burden by those responsible for their upkeep.”

The event will be supported by Heritage Lottery Fund and is part of the Trust’s latest conservation project at Croft Barn, Whitecastle Vineyard.

Stop the Rot

Stop the Rot Welsh