A Mass in an Ancient Church in Wales with Restored Gothic Wall Paintings

Welsh EF 7Here are some photos, courtesy of David Woolf of a Votive Mass of St Teilo that was celebrated on February 7th in the Extraordinary Form in the Church of St Teilo, at St Fagan’s National History Museum, Cardiff, Wales, UK.

David told me: 'The Mass was hosted by the students of the Cardiff University Catholic Chaplaincy and was celebrated by their Chaplain, Fr Gareth Jones.

'The Church of St Teilo is of particular historical interest. Having become redundant in 1970, it was moved, brick by brick, from its 12th century site at Llandeilo Taly-Bont, near Pontarddulais, and reconstructed at the St Fagan’s Museum. Prior to its removal wall paintings, dating from the 15th century, were uncovered beneath the wall plaster. These were removed and preserved in the National Museum of Wales. When St Teilo’s Church was reconstructed it was decorated as it would have appeared in the 1530s.'

St Teilo's feast day was two days later on February 9th. St Teilo is is a 6th century British saint, who studied under St Paulinus at Llanddeusant, in the Brecon Beacons and, as a monk, with St David at Mynyw in west Wales. He founded his own monastery at Llandeilo Fawr, again in the Brecon Beacons, where is probably died.  A later tradition has St Teilo accompanied by St David and St Padarn make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He spent some years in Brittany. At Llandaff he is venerated as the founder of the see (which contains the capital of Wales, Cardiff).

I don't know what readers thing about the paintings? When I look at them, it tells me that we should not always be so starry-eyed about paintings from the period before the Englightenment. It is of great historical interest to see the church as it was in the 1530s so I am very glad that this was done. The images look to my inexpert eye as though they are older than that, probably gothic. What I would say is that the artist was no Matthew Parris or Fra Angelico. In the medieval period many small churches would have been painted by the parishioners or local artists and they took pride in matching or surpassing the local village churches. It would not have occurred to them to have bare walls.

Information on St Teilo from www.universalis.com

Photos: Dr David A Woolf



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