Llanafan Fawr

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St Afan's Church, Llanafan-Fawr

Llanafan Fawr is a civil community and ecclesiastical parish in the former cantref (hundred) of Buellt (Builth) and historic County of Breconshire, now part of Powys, Wales.

The parish has an area of slightly over 5,000 hectares (12,000 acres) (about twenty square miles) and a scattered rural population of more than a thousand. It is named after Saint Afan and was the centre of Cantref Buallt in ancient times, before the building of Builth Wells about 9 miles (14 km) away. The former spa town of Llandrindod Wells is also close by.

The church[edit]

The Church of St Afan has been rebuilt several times. The foot of the church-tower is the only part remaining of earlier construction, the rest being rebuilt in 1886. In the porch on the right hand wall are several carved stones which date from the 7th to 9th centuries. Inside the church, located to the left of the altar, is a single pillar stone incised with a Latin ring cross, dating from the 7th century. To the right is an ancient baptismal font of similar age.

The churchyard is said to contain the tomb of the saint.[1] The church is also the burial place of Thomas Huet, a 16th-century translator of the Book of Revelation into the Welsh language.[2]

The churchyard also contains a double gravestone, unique in Britain, stating that its occupant was murdered, and also bearing the name of the murderer. The left hand inscription read: John Price Who Was Murdered On The Darren Hill In This Parish By R Lewis April 21, 1826. Relatives of both murderer and victim still live locally.[1]

There is a 2,200 year old yew tree in the churchyard.[3]

Other notable sites[edit]

The Red Lion Inn, Llanafan Fawr

The Red Lion Inn is believed by some to date from at least 1188, when it was visited by Geraldus Cambrensis. Local folklore maintains that, while staying at the inn, Geraldus recounted the story of a huntsman who took his pack of hunting hounds into the churchyard while he himself slept in the church overnight. When he awoke he was blind and the hounds were all mad.[3] Geraldus' own narrative goes on to say that the nobleman never regained his sight, but fought in the Crusades blind, whereupon he was "immediately struck down by a blow from a sword and so ended his life with honour."[4]

From 1910 until 1991 the inn was kept by the Davies family.[5] In 2004 the inn was advertised for sale for the first time in 300 years. Also in 2004, television cameras were employed at the inn to record the World Tippit Championships.[3]

The vicarage for the church, formerly located beside the River Chewfri, at the bottom of the hill, was named "Persant" (corrupted from Berth Y Sanct) which means The Saint's Hedge, or the hedge near to where the saint was murdered.) In the 1700s it housed a Latin grammar school. C. J. W. Evans, the eighty year-old son of the last vicar to reside there, Rev Thomas Watkin Evans, witnessed the collapse of the building, after which the house was abandoned. It was later used, during the Second World War, by the Home Guard for hand-grenade practise.[1]

Notable people[edit]

The Anglo-Welsh poet T Harri Jones was born at Cwm Crogau, near Llanafan Fawr.

Llanafan Fawr Agricultural Show[edit]

Llanafan Fawr Agricultural Show is held on the third Saturday in September each year.

Troedrhiwdalar Chapel, near Llanafan Fawr


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°11′27″N 3°30′37″W / 52.1908°N 3.5102°W / 52.1908; -3.5102