The parish church of Llanvapley is dedicated to St Mabli
Llanfapley church is first mentioned in c 860, and has a unique Celtic dedication. St Mabli’s church is mostly of 15th Century origin and was restored and reseated in 1861 by A. M. Wyatt of Monmouth. There were later fittings by E. M. Bruce Vaughan of Cardiff dated 1904. A major restoration took place in 2008/9 which included the renewal of the stone tiled roof, application of a lime slurry coat to the walls and the upgrading of the rainwater goods. This restoration was supported by Cadw and the National Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Church is constructed in stone with a pitched roof over the Chancel and the Nave and a tower to the west end. There is a south porch and internally the walls are finished with lime render dressed around the quoin stone. There is a wagon vaulted roof over the Nave and Chancel. To the west end of the church there is a ringing room at the base of the tower and to the North there is a small lean-to Vestry.
St Mabli’s is a Grade II star listed church and is regarded as a well preserved medieval parish church with fine tower, original window tracery and good interior details. These include roofs, piscina and later pulpit with communion rails.
More information about St Mabli’s Church can be found on the Church Heritage Cymru website. Click here to go to CHC website
This is a postcard of Llanvapley village taken in the 1950s. The church is visible on the horizon and The Manse is visible in the foreground on the right. The postcard picture was taken before the houses were built on the Rectory Fields on Firs Road and before the old village hall was taken down. The old village hall can be seen on the right near to The Manse.
Click on the photo to see an enlarged picture
Llanvapley Church has two bells in the tower. Only one of them is currently used. The second bell has two hairline cracks in the top of the bell possibly caused by corrosion of the iron staples used to hold the clapper inside the bell. The entry in Church Bells of Monmouthshire by Arthur Wright published in 1942 has under Llanvapley St Mabley:
1. : GIVE : THANKS TO GOD :1626 : TL : DP : C : W : DENS : I : P
2. : SOLI DEO: DE : TVR : GLORIA : 1626 : TL : DP : C : W : DENS : I : P
Both of the bells were made by John Palmer I of Gloucester (1621-38). The lettering is peculiar: the O’s having a lozenge shape. The N on No (2) is reversed. TL = Thomas Lewis, DP = David Powell.
Reference is made to an earlier survey by Brown Willis which took place between 1740 and 1752 in which he records the presence of 3 bells at Llanvapley. John Palmer I was the founder and there are examples of bells throughout the county of bells cast by John Palmer I e.g. a 1635 bell at Llanbadoc, a 1627 bell at Caldicot (now recast) and a 1623 bell at Penrhos. The IP on the inscription is John Palmer and he was succeeded by his son John Palmer II who was much more prolific casting 37 bells in total for churches throughout the county.
Picture of the bell which is used
The Priest in Charge
Reverend Heidi Prince