St Mary's Church, Brecon

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St Mary's Church and statue of the Duke of Wellington. John Evan Thomas 004.jpg
St Mary's Church and statue of the Duke of Wellington.
East window East window, St Mary's Church - Brecon - - 1361211.jpg
East window
A war memorial on the church grounds. War Memorial - St Mary's Church - Bulwark - - 3457874.jpg
A war memorial on the church grounds.

St Mary's Church is a parish church in Brecon, Powys, Mid Wales. [1] It is a Grade II* listed building in Powys. [2] The structure was originally a chapel of ease for the priory. The 90 feet (27 m) West Tower dates to 1510 and is attributed to Edward, Duke of Buckingham. The eight bells date to 1750, and were taken down for refurbishment in 2007. [3] [4]

Parish church church which acts as the religious centre of a parish

A parish church in Christianity is the church which acts as the religious centre of a parish. In many parts of the world, especially in rural areas, the parish church may play a significant role in community activities, often allowing its premises to be used for non-religious community events. The church building reflects this status, and there is considerable variety in the size and style of parish churches. Many villages in Europe have churches that date back to the Middle Ages, but all periods of architecture are represented.

Brecon market town in the county of Powys, Wales

Brecon, archaically known as Brecknock, is a market town and community in Powys, Wales, with a population in 2001 of 7,901, increasing to 8,250 at the 2011 census. Historically it was the county town of Brecknockshire (Breconshire); although its role as such was eclipsed with the formation of the County of Powys, it remains an important local centre. Brecon is the third-largest town in Powys, after Newtown and Ystradgynlais. It lies north of the Brecon Beacons mountain range, but is just within the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Powys Place

Powys is a principal area and county, and one of the preserved counties of Wales. It is named after the Kingdom of Powys which was a Welsh successor state, petty kingdom and principality that emerged during the Middle Ages following the end of Roman rule in Britain.



The Church of St. Mary appears to have been built as early as the latter end of the 12th, or beginning of the following century, but the present structure is not of that early date. The eastern window of the chancel is Gothic of the middle age, and the prevailing style of its architecture indicates that it was not erected till after the year 1015. None of its decorations or pillars date to antiquity. Not a single monument, figure, or inscription is preserved within its walls. The present steeple, which is about 90 feet (27 m) in height, was built in the reign of Henry VIII; it has a peal of eight bells, cast by Rudhalls, of Gloucester, the treble being the gift of a Thomas Lloyd, of Brecknock, though another sources states they were all given by a Mr. Walker, of Newton.

Gloucester City and Non-metropolitan district in England

Gloucester is a city and district in Gloucestershire, in the South West of England, of which it is the county town. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, on the River Severn, between the Cotswolds to the east and the Forest of Dean to the southwest.

In 1805, the body of the church consisted of two aisles, and on the north-east was the shoemakers' chapel, from which was a door into the vestry, but since the erection of houses close to the windows both these places became so dark that want of room only compelled the inhabitants to occupy the seats in one, but the business usually transacted in the other was transferred to the Town Hall. The principal entrance was under part of the gallery, in which an organ was placed about the year 1794. A reredos was provided for this church, and the Ten Commandments were placed in the chancel.

Reredos altarpiece, or a screen or decoration behind the altar in a church

A reredos or raredos is a large altarpiece, a screen, or decoration placed behind the altar in a church. It often includes religious images.

Chancel space around the altar of a traditional Christian church

In church architecture, the chancel is the space around the altar, including the choir and the sanctuary, at the liturgical east end of a traditional Christian church building. It may terminate in an apse. It is generally the area used by the clergy and choir during worship, while the congregation is in the nave. Direct access may be provided by a priest's door, usually on the south side of the church. This is one definition, sometimes called the "strict" one; in practice in churches where the eastern end contains other elements such as an ambulatory and side chapels, these are also often counted as part of the chancel, especially when discussing architecture. In smaller churches, where the altar is backed by the outside east wall and there is no distinct choir, the chancel and sanctuary may be the same area. In churches with a retroquire area behind the altar, this may only be included in the broader definition of chancel.

The Consistory Court for the archdeaconry was held once a month, under the southern door. This part of the building was divided from the other, where divine service was performed, by a slight partition and railing, about the year 1690, to prevent (it was alleged) the country people who attended the court for the appointment of churchwardens from strolling into the church and stealing the prayer books. In 1805, it was repaired and improved, the aisles boarded, and two buzaglos placed there, principally at the expense of the Rev. Richard Davies, who was the archdeacon of Brecknock, and who also erected several new seats in the chancel. No persons were recorded as being buried here, nor does tradition recognise an interment within this church, yet during alterations two stones were removed, evidently sepulchral. In the wall of the north aisle were some marble tablets, upon which are inscribed the Lord's Prayer, the Apostles' Creed, and the Ten Commandments, presented by Mr. Walker, of Newton, and upon the wall of the chancel were two tablets recording all the benefactions to this town, as well as to the parish of St. John's, except Mrs. Rodd's.

In 1857, this church was further restored, and re-opened on 21 October of the same year. The cost of the restoration work was £8,280 5s. Id. The two tables recording the benefactions were popularly believed to have been pulled down and destroyed. It was later discovered that they were only removed from the church to the vestry's walls. The register dates from the year 1685.

An organ was placed in the church in the mid 19th century, purchased with a legacy left for the purpose by the late John Evans, banker, of Wheat street (Wilkins and Co.).

The church also contains a memorial window, the gift of the late Colonel and Mrs. Church Pearce, of Ffrwdgrech, in remembrance of their only son.

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  1. Poole 1886, p. 66.
  2. "St Mary's Church in Wales", Wales Directory, UK.


Coordinates: 51°56′49″N3°23′26″W / 51.9470°N 3.3906°W / 51.9470; -3.3906