Article 2 – submitted 28 August 2010
The Church Fire at Llangynidr
(Transcribed on 27 August 2010 by John Ball from microfilm held at Brecon Public Library)
In December 1928, a great fire destroyed the parish church in the village of Llangynidr. The incident was reported a week later in the Brecon and Radnor Express.
Brecon and Radnor Express, Thursday 20 December 1928
Llangynidr Church Burnt Down
Ancient Fabric Destroyed
Costly gifts consumed
The ancient St Cynidr Parish Church, Llangynidr was destroyed by fire on Thursday night of last week.
The outbreak was first discovered about 11 p.m. when most people in the village had retired to rest. Mr. A. Parry, Cynidr House, Llangynidr, was the first to make the discovery, and immediately informed the people living near, and also telephoned to Brecon and Abergavenny for the fire brigades. The Brecon fire brigade could not turn out owing to their engine being under repairs, but the Abergavenny brigade, under Capt. Powell, and his 13 men arrived on the scene within 25 minutes of receiving the call, a distance of 12 miles.
At the time the discovery was made a large portion of the chancel of the church was ablaze. Consequently the fire had a substantial hold before the arrival of the brigade, and by 11:30 p.m. the chancel of the church was in ruins.
With the fire extending into the main buildings, the church was blazing furiously from end to end. The roof collapsed and within 15 minutes the sound of the crackling of timber and falling rafters could be heard a mile away, while the whole countryside was lit up by the glare of the flames.
It was at the time when the building was in the manner described that the brigade was able to bring the hoses into play. The flames were subdued in the course of about an hour, with a plentiful supply of water from Glaisfair brook, but so firm a hold had the fire on the building that it was necessary to keep the water on the burning debris until 3:10 a.m. on Friday morning. Every effort was made by the brigade to save as much as possible, but from the first the building was doomed, and there remains nothing of it today save the walls.
Llangynidr people and visitors to the quiet village always admired its church and from time to time many costly gifts were given by admiring donors to mark some appreciation or in remembrance of some friend or friends who were attached to the sacred edifice. All these have been reduced to ashes, together with all church furniture, except a cupboard and a few books from the vestry. Among the articles which were destroyed was a massive double-manual pipe organ valued at about £250, an altar carpet given to the church, a Communion table given by the Bible class members in commemoration of the service to the church by the Rev. R. W. Jones (a former rector), and a Bible given by the men's class. The whole of the altar and fabric Communion sets (silver), candlesticks and silver plates were destroyed together with memorial tablets, a stained glass (east) window given by a donor in commemoration of a former rector (Rev. Harris), and a very old church door entering the church from the western side.
The cause of the outbreak is unknown. A service was held in the church which started at 7:15 p.m. Everything appeared to be in order.
The loss is partly covered by insurance.
Among those who appeared early on the scene were the Rector (Rev. J. E. Lloyd), church wardens Wilkins and F. H. Morgan, P.C. Owen, Sgt. Lewis & P.C. Honeybun, Crickhowell, P.C. Turford & Sergt. Pearce (Brecon), and Mr Vaughan (Capt of the Brecon fire brigade), who rendered what assistance they could.
Mr Wilkins (Red Lion) and the church wardens showed great kindness to those who had rendered service, and much sympathy is extended to the church people and the rector in their loss.
Updated 2 September 2010