St Cadoc's Church gets grant to preserve medieval artefacts
St Cadoc's Church in Llancarfan has been awarded a £541,900 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The grant will safeguard its important medieval interior and enable the training volunteers to share its heritage with visitors.
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Saint Cadoc founded a monastery on site in the sixth century. The Grade I listed church is home to a unique collection of medieval artefacts and wall paintings, including depictions of the seven deadly sins, integral to the story of early Christianity in south Wales.
A number of wall paintings that were limewashed out during the reign of Edward VI, and had remained hidden since 1547, were rediscovered during repair work at the church in 2007. One of the most important discoveries is the wall painting of St George and the Dragon, thought to be the largest known painting in Wales to portray the legend, and possibly the largest and best preserved in Britain.
The volunteer-led Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St. Cadoc will use the money to conserve the wall paintings as well as its carved timber 'reredos' canopies and ornate wooden painted screens.
As well as preserving the artefacts and paintings, the grant will also fund modern technology such as digital displays and a sequenced narrative using LED lights, to tell the story of the church's medieval history.
The PCC also plans to create educational packs and activities to encourage school groups to get involved in the project.
A placement will also be offered for university students in specialist conservation techniques for fine art. Through involving local people in gathering information and research about St Cadoc's Church, it is hoped that the project will appeal to the wider community.
Speaking about the grant, Dan Clayton Jones, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales said: "St. Cadoc's Church's medieval heritage is hugely important to the story of Christianity in Wales and it is vital that it is properly interpreted and conserved for future generations to explore.
"This project will help tell the story of this fascinating building in a way that will appeal to young people and visitors alike, while ensuring that the site remains a focal point for the whole community.
"I'm delighted that this project is helping to conclude my time with HLF as it embodies everything I like to see in a project. It is inspiring to see local volunteers so passionate about playing their part in taking our heritage forward and in doing so learning new skills. I look forward to returning to the church as a visitor once the project is complete and seeing the difference the funding has made."
The Venerable Peggy Jackson, Priest-in-Charge of Llancarfan, said: "The PCC are privileged to be entrusted with the care of these wall paintings, which appeared so suddenly as treasures in our midst, and also of the reredos, which has yet to reveal its true colours.
"We are very aware of the responsibility that we carry for completing the work, and of the great confidence placed in us by the HLF, in making this grant, for which we are very grateful.
"As a community we are also excited by the prospect of what is still to come, and look forward to learning more, and sharing more, with the many visitors who will be finding their way to Llancarfan in the years ahead."
You can find out more about the paintings and artefacts of this remarkable church on the St Cadoc's website.
Find out more about the history of religion in Wales on the BBC Wales History website.