(Old) St Gwynno's Church, Vaynor, Breconshire
Dedication: St Gwynno
Built: 1950s (see notes 1 and 2 below)
Photography: John Ball
Dates: 1 August 2002 / June 2000
Cameras: Fuji FinePix S602 Zoom / Sony Mavica MVC-FD91 digital
Note 1: The original wooden church can be dated back to AD 874, although the site may be as old as AD 714. This present construction dates from 1295, and was used long after the completion of the 'new' church nearby in 1870.
[Source: On-site information plaque erected by the Merthyr Tydfil Heritage Trust]
Above: Exterior shots of the ruins of the derelict old church (Left: 2002; Right: 2000).
Note 2: The original Vaynor Church was built in 874 or 714 but was burnt down during the battle of Maesvaynor which took place in 1291. The church replacing this very early one became dilapidated by 1867 and the Crawshays had a new church built which was completed in 1870. The church is dedicated to St Gwynno. There are lots of stories and legends about Vaynor, one is that the church tower was often used as a temporary prison and that a thief sleeping overnight there discovered hundreds of skulls.
[Source: Alan George's Old Merthyr Tydfil website (accessed 19 September 2015)]
Note 3: Remains of medieval parish church of Vaynor, dedicated to St Gwynno, but erroneously said to be dedicated to St Gwendoline. All that survives is the W end with the curious tower with battlemented parapets W and E and pitched roof between, presumably the battlements a C18 or early C19 alteration. The church as photographed in 1865 was a single chamber with S porch. The first church is claimed to have been burnt in 1291 at the battle of Maesyfaenor, but the evidence for battle and burning is not clear. The church was allowed to decay after the building of the new church in 1870 at the expense of R.T. Crawshay, the remains were repaired in the C20 but are in poor condition again.
W end of demolished medieval church with small tower and sloping roofs each side. Tower has battlemented parapet W and E and gabled tiled roof between. W front has loop in tower, small rectangular opening mid-way and left jamb of a blocked door (shown as arched in 1865 photograph). Tower sides are plain and have slate roofs abutting (continuing pitch of lost main roof). The E side, former W end of nave has corbelled block of masonry high up, purpose unknown, a low W door with cambered yellow brick arch infilled below a taller cambered head with stone voussoirs. Door to right with stone slab lintel into space N of tower with stone steps up to former bell loft.
[Source: British Listed Buildings website (accessed 19 September 2015)]