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St Mary the Virgin Church at Welsh Newton

The church exterior by Barbara Ballard St Mary the Virgin Church was built in the 13th century and had a porch added in the 14th. There was much restoration in 1869 when a west end gallery of the church was removed, the pews were replaced, the vestry built, and the pulpit and reading desk were added.

The church was originally the property of the Knights Templar—they were located nearby at Garway. When the Knights Templar was suppressed by the crown the church became the property of the Knights Hospitaller. When the monasteries were dissolved by Henry VIII the church was taken from them.

The rood screen of the church by Barbara Ballard Of particular note in the church is the 1320 stone rood screen which reflects the Decorated period of architecture. A dormer window dates from the same time. It served to light the crucifix which was once on top of the rood screen.

The church font by Jonathan Billinger courtesy On the north side of the chancel is a stone seat where the Knights Templar preceptor would have sat. There is a 13th century piscina in the south-east corner of the chancel. The font is Norman. It has a sandstone bowl.

Church interior by Jonathan Billinger courtesy Geograph The two lancet windows in the west wall are 13th century while the east window dates from 1862. The two remaining stained glass windows are of 1872. The church roof is early 1500s. At one time it was thatched.

The seats in the church porch are constructed from 14th and 15th century grave slabs. There is a medieval holy water basin here. The square church tower is tiny—4 feet by 3.5 feet—with a weathercock on top of the spire. They were restored in 1979 along with other structural restoration.

Medieval cross in church graveyard by Jonathan Billinger courtesy Geograph The churchyard is delineated by a stone wall dating from 1866. It contains over 300 graves. A cross has medieval steps but the shaft and head are modern. There is a grave thought to be that of one of the Knights Templar or Hospitaller.

Visitor Information

Welsh Newton is located on the A466 about three miles north of Monmouth.

Photos © by Barbara Ballard except church yard, church interior, church font by Jonathan Billinger courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland

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