I have passed this little church, set back from the A483 on what was probably the "old" road before they upgraded the A483, many times, but decided I would actually go and visit - it's not very far from here. It dates back to the 13th or 14th C, although it was pretty well flattened and rebuilt in 1866. I imagine this huge programme of rebuilding/renovating old churches in Victorian times was probably deemed necessary by their perilous state.
At first I thought it was locked, as the door wouldn't budge. But a farmer moving sheep (this church has a farm to one side and farmyard in front of it) said it wouldn't be locked and jumped up the wall into the churchyard and put his shoulder mightily to the door which, though swelled with damp at the apex, finally gave into to his weight and allowed me through.
Judging by the age of this Yew tree, I would say that this was a very early Christian site. The church is situated on a mound, though it's not that obvious in the photos and immediately beneath the church could well be the rubble from the earlier demolished church. The churchyard is also circular, another pointer to antiquity. This church, Llanafan Fechan (the lesser) and its neighbour Llanafan Fawr (the greater) a few miles Northwards, are dedicated to the Celtic Bishop Afan, who was usually named Afan Buallt, showing a close link with Builth Wells. He was a 5th or 6th C Bishop, so an early site indeed.
The view Northwards.
The 14th C font was very plain.
Indeed the church was plain and utalitarian. Its size echoed that of that Medieval church which had preceded it. If there had been any obviously medieval parts, those were long gone. The modernization was carried out by Charles Buckeridge, who also carried out the work at Llanlleonfel Church, the other side of Garth, which I also visited earlier in the year.
What I missed, I now discover, is an early stone in the churchyard marked AVANIUS EPISCOPIS. Bishop Afan . . . So I will have to return and seek it out.
Well, I have had to re-schedule the car repair as it became clear it wouldn't be done this morning (I got it down their for 8.45 too) but might be done before they shut this teatime. Since leaving it there involved walking the 2 miles to and from home each way in freezing fog, and then again this afternoon even further across to Pam's to let her dog out for his ablutions whilst she was out for the afternoon, I thought it was better to leave it till I had a clear day.
So, back to binding the lap quilt, now that I have buttoned everything together. Heaven knows what tea is going to be - I had better look in the freezer for some inspiration.
The garage said we should be ok to drive to Crickhowell and back tomorrow, but I think we will have to cancel Llwyn Celyn as that adds another 30 miles to the journey. Ah well, it will still be there next year.