The Church of St. Illtud was founded in the 5th Century. Originally of wooden construction, it is believed to have been situated on the same site as the current Church. The long and reasonably translated (LLanilltud-y-Faerdeff) means The Church of St. Illtud, which is the name it carries now with some modern updating of the spelling.
St. Illtyd was a 5th Century Celtic Priest (note the difference in spelling) who built his second Church where the current Church carrying his name now is and drew its name from the founding Saint. The name of the Church and the locality is derived from the Saint himself, St. Llanitllud Faedref although the longer styling of on the “Farm of the Prince (Faerdref)” has long since dropped away.
St. Illtuds does not appear in documentary sources until 1535 when it is described as chapel of ease in the Parish of Llantrisant.
A chapel of ease is a church building other than the parish church built within the bounds of a parish for the attendance of those who cannot reach the parish church conveniently.
A building of religious importance has been on the site of the current Llantrisant Church since 7th Century.
Llantrisant Church (Church of St. Illtyd, St. Gwynno and St. Dyfodwg) also styled "The Mother Church" is located in Llantrisant, a short trip from Llantwit Fardre. Originally built in 1096, it has seen many renovations over the years. Rebuilt in the Norman Style by Richard de Clare in 1246, the tower was added 15th Century.
The church was restored in 1873, with the tower and west end of the nave being restored in 1894 when the bells were re-hung, and a white marble baptistery, for baptism by immersion was placed under the tower.
Our Parish Church is on a site that has been used for worship since the 5th Century.
It is probable that the long walls of the nave and at least the south wall of the chancel are relatively early, perhaps of the 13th century given the internal batter to these walls and the presence of a pointed window with Sutton stone dressings in the north wall of the nave now blocked.
Over time much work has been directed to maintaining the building and increasing facilities in the Church. The current building grew from the original 5th Century roots to its basic format and build as today from 1525, additions having been added thus:
The main body of the nave is the oldest part of the existing buildings. It is this section of the building in particular that grants the Church its Grade II listing status. CADW notes that the Church is in part “Probably Pre Norman” in part.
Work on the Church in the 19th Century is poorly documented apart from re-paving which took place in 1818. The NE and central N windows of the Nave are probably early 19th Century.
There is no known record of the Victorian restoration, but the chancel windows and the rare vaulted barrel roof are of Victorian construction. The vents in the barrel vaulted roof (St Andrews Cross shaped) are all that remains to the coal heater formally situated in the middle of the nave this is still proved by photographic evidence in the possession of the Parish.
With The Colliers Arms on the Corner
Later demolished and replaced with Ardwyn House
The MU window is just visible to the left of the original entrance
See that the Colliers Arms has now been replaced by Ardwyn House and the cottages opposite the churchyard (now removed)
In 1700 this was site of Almshouses later modernised into a single cottage left derelict in 1970 and later demolished. Mrs Elizabeth Jenkins daughter lived here until 1968
Built on the site of the Colliers Arms. The house was demolished to make room for new lay-out
This was once the Vicarage before the building of the present one in 1882. A form completed for the Welsh Church Act 1914 indicated that the House and Farm was owned by The Ecclesiastical Commissioners and leased to the Glam County Council
Church Village towards Tonteg
Plot of ground obtained - 1909
Appeal for funds to build - Oct 1922
Estimated cost of build - £1,000
The church hall was renovated in the 1970s and remained open until into the 2000s. The hall was then demolished and the land sold to build new houses.
The church was gutted and Major renovations and alterations carried out between 1971 and 1974 during this period the church was closed and services held in the church hall.
The restoration work was undertaken by the Rev. Canon and Rural Dean A.J.D. Williams (Vicar), Curate at the time was Rev. Edward John Evans.
Some of the work involved included the partial rebuilding of the south wall of the nave and the provision of a new window in the north wall as well as the insertion of the present doors in the tower and the repaving of the floor. In addition, a chapel was added, which is now referred to as the South isle meeting room.
The date of photograph unknown, but we know it is later than 1918 as memorial cross is in position. The photograph provides a good idea of how the church looked before the restoration activities.
The main builders of the restoration were Hooper and Sons of Pontypridd.
Mr D T B Williams and his firm British Fram Concrete Construction Co. Ltd. were responsible for supplying much of the materials and also arranging for the Architects.
Members of the parochial church council (PCC) for the Parish of Llantwit Fardre played a major part in the restoration played a major part in the restoration.
All of the Dressed Stones used for the restoration were collected by the PCC volunteers from valley Buildings and Waste TIP AT Caerphilly
Pictures of Restoration
The Church has pews solid backed and sides throughout the nave which have been treated successfully against woodworm and are in good condition.
The south chapel (lady chapel) has individual seating for up to 30/40 people. There are Altars in the chancel (this dating from 1924) and the lady chapel. The current pulpit dates from March 1953.
We are blessed at St. Illtuds Church to have 11 wonderful stained glass windows
Click on each image to find out a little more about the history and meaning of each window
Apart for the registers there are very few other documents of importance.
The interior of the church contains a number of memorials dating from the 17th century onwards.
In January 1905 Rev John Jenkins made an application for a Curate but was turned down. He tried again March 1914 with a letter to Bishop advising that in 1880 the congregation was only 3 with one service on a Sunday and the Population of Llantwit Fardre was 405 at the time. He reasoned that Communicants were now 150 with 3 Sunday Schools. Numbers on the 'books' were 406 and the population was set to increase with 2 collieries, but again, this petition was also turned down.
In April 1914 a further letter was sent to Bishop advising that 68 Communicants attended the 8.30am service, with another 46 at the 11.00am service. In addition he held Sunday School and Evensong single handedly. The Bishop replied noting the services, but doubted a grant would be made until population was 4,000.
Grant was finally agreed of £60 on condition Stipend was minimum of £120, but still the Curate did not arrive until March 1916.
(1st Surpliced choir July 1925)
(with prominent parishioners at the civic service in festival of Britain year 1950)
Responsible for the renovations 1971-1974