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--.-----------.-LOCAL NOTES.










CHURCH RESTORATION AT j BRIDGEND. CONSECRATION BY THE BISHOP. Glorious summer weather favoured the con- secration ceremony in connection with the restoration of the chancel of Newcastle parish church, Bridgend, on Thursday, when the event was made the occasion of one of the largest and most representative gathering of church people in the district seen for many years. Preceded by Holy Communion at eight QVIOCK the function of consecration was performed by the Bishop at half-past eleven, in the presence ] of a large. assembly of laity and clergy, and with all the impressive detail with which the ceremony is associated. At the service which i followed the church was crowded to its utmost capacity, and the greatest heartiness was mani- fested in the renderings of the various hymns < and anthems. The preacher was the Eev C. R. j Lynch-Blosse. M.A., vicar of Stinchcombe. who delivered an able sermon, in which he drew from the practical work of restoration which they had met to commemorate that day a happy augury of the Church's welfare in the future. DESCRIPTION OF THE RESTORATION. The consecration of the new north chancel aisle and the new part of the chancel of St Illtyd s Church, Newcastle, Bridgend, is typical of the activity and of the continuity of the ancient Welsh Church. Of the walling of the original church, we have no traces, the name and site alone remaining. It was probably built of wattle like most of the first churches in these isles, and founded by Illtyd, a brother of St Teilo, bishop of Llandaff, the great Welsh theologian and teacher, who, about the year 540, A.D., attracted to the little village of Llantwit Major more than 2,000 students from the Celtic populations of these isles and France. There is corroborative evidence of this statement in the fact that a church dedicated to, and probably founded by his pupil St Ccwydd was built on a field called Cae yr hen eglwys (the field of the old church) on Llangewydd farm in the adjoining parish of Laleston. This church, according to tradition, was pulled down and removed to Laleston when the population gathered at that spot. There is further evidence of the existence of a church on the site of the present church of Newcastle, in the old coffin- shape tombstone, decorated with Celtic ornament and ascribed by antiquarians to a date between 900 and 1000, A.D (at least 250 years older than the present church), which was in the churchyard and f is to be removed to a position under the tower. The present church was probably rebuilt about the year 1300 by the inhabitants and the occupiers of the castle. The tower, which is of later date, was built 150 years later. About 45 years ago the nave was taken down by Archdeacon Lynch Blosse and rebuilt at the same time a north aisle giving 100 additional seats was added. The old 14th century chancel was left, a small, mean structure, which had been re-roofed in the days when Puritanism reigned supreme, with a lath and plaster barrel roof, and a tiny lean-to vestry stuck on to it. Archdeacon Blosse's successor, the Rev J Prichard Hughes, did did not deal with the church but built a commodious and handsome room for Sunday School purposes The Rev George Thomas, who succeeded Mr Hughes, renovated the tower and reslated the nave with the help of the parishioners. About two years ago a meeting was held to consider the advisability of dealing with the chancel (which was altogether out of scale with the nave erected in Archdeacon Blosse's time) and an offer of Miss Talbot to sub- scribe X1200 towards the carrying out by plans prepared by Mr E M Bruce-Vaughan, F.R.I.B.A., which entailed an expenditure ot about £ 2400 on the fabric, was accepted with enthusiasm. Tenders were advettised for, and that of Mr Edmund Rees of Peucoed was accepted. The chancel was pulled down, and on April 2Gth, 1S93, the foundation stone of the uew work was laid by Miss Talbot. The old chancel was 20 feet long, 16 feet wide and 19 feet to the apex of the roof. The new chancel is 2S feet G inches long, 18 feet 9 inches high to the wall plate, 29 feet to the apex of the roof, and 20 feet, six in. wide. And in addition a north chancel aisle to form an organ chamber and vestry for the surpliced choir was erected, the dimensions of which are 27 feet in length, 15 feet 9 inches in breadth, and about 2G feet in height. The materials used are a beautiful light brown local stone for the outside work, Bridgend (Quarella) stone for the arches and mullions of the windows, Bath stone for the ashlar lining, oak for the barrel roof of the chancel, with bosses decorated with gold and vermillion teak for the north chancel screen, the choir stalls, and fittings of the vestry. The chancel was tiled by Messrs Webb and Sons with a very handsome design in dark red and buff and brown. A beautiful reredos of Bridgend stone, with panels of Hales- owen, with the central canopies left unfilled for treatment with sculpture or mosaics at some future dare was erected extending over the east end of the church. The effect was euphonised by the filling in of the new three-light Early Decorated window with stained glass. This was the gift of the sons and daughters of the late vicar, the Rev H. Lynche- Blosse, afterwards Dean of Llandaff. The principal subjects in the window are S. Paul, the Apostle of the West, represented symbolically with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God S. Iltyd, the founder, with one of his pupils, possibly S. Cewydd, and in the centre, Our Lord in glory, the risen and ascended Christ. The harmony of colour and beauty of drawing in the figures are remarkable. Many noteworthy gifts have been made to the church. A portion of the tiling of the chancel, costing about £23, was given by the Sunday scholars. The furniture of the altar and a magni- ficent frontal for ordinary Church seasons, costing altogether between £ 40 and £50, was given mainly by the women of the parish, a magnificent alt frontal for festivals was worked by Miss Frankjen, and Miss Talbot presented a cross and vas-s and candlesticks of very beautiful design. Tov ards the cost of structure nearly £ 2,000 out of the £2,400 required has been subscribed, and i a addition to that a new organ, to cost JE300 (towards which £200 has been promised), has been ordered from Messrs Vowles, of Bristol. All the monuments disturbed during the alterations have been re-erected in the north chancel aisle, and tho utmost care of anything of value from an antio"oarian's point of view has been shown. The old tombstone and any evidence of'igood old work h ave been scrupulously preserved, and any lover of. Wales cannot but acknowledge that with thi", reverent regard for the past a due appreciation of the wants of modern worship has been judiciously blended. Other gifts are a brass altar dr,ilk from three parishioners, three chalice veils and burses worked by the Misses Knight, Wa\d and Davidson, stoles by Miss Ball and Miss D avies, a fair linen cloth Mrs Knight, altar linen by Miss Llewellyn, alms bags by Mrs Tamplin Lewis and Miss Lynch-Blosse. The entire cost, including gifts is at least £2, GOO. The building committee consisted of the Vicar, Messrs S. H. Stockwood, R. K. Prichard, T. Lloyd Edwards, E. Price, Llewellyn David, E. T. Hardwick, S. Thomas, J. C. Coath, William Riley, G. F. Lambert, W. A Williams, andS. Llewellyn.






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