The church of St Ffraid lies on the northern edge of the village of Llansantffraid-ym-Mechain about 8 miles to the north of Welshpool. At its core supposedly lies a 12thC building, extended in the 14thC. A south porch and western bell-turret were added in the 17thC and a north transept in the 18thC. It is a complex building revealing various stages of reconstruction, and is interesting for the series of dated windows in the south wall. Inside is a medieval font and piscina, 17thC and 18thC wooden furnishings, and a few pre-19thC monuments. It stands in a sub-rectangular churchyard that has been extended in the last hundred years and this retains an early 19thC sundial and several interesting grave markers.
The survival of Norman masonry is unproven, though the blocky sandstone of the chancel could be that early, and the tidiness of the zoned masonry in the south wall of the chancel could indicate this is the earliest of all. The small Norman window in the north wall does not appear to be in its original position, and may even by reconstructed. The blocked priest's doorway could be an original south doorway which would then give an alternative date of the 13thC or 14thC for the east end.
The present south doorway, in its present form almost round-headed, is not convincingly Norman, but nor is it of the 14thC or 15thC. Its eccentricity and slightly skewed reveal suggests it might be reset.
The west window of the nave is of early 14thC origin, but until the late 19thC it was in the east wall.
Later modifications are more tangible: in the 17thC and 18thC new windows were inserted into the south wall, the bell turret was erected, probably around 1618, and during this century the long porch was constructed. A gallery may have been added after the Restoration, hence the dormer window dated to 1669. A north transept was added in 1727 when the rood loft together with its supporting pillars was taken down to provide timber for the transept. Earlier, on the evidence of a quoinstone, some work was done at the west end in 1704. The west wall was re-faced, probably at the time of restoration in 1891-3, and at the same time the east window was moved to the west wall. Other work at this time included the restoration of the spire
The church's dedication to St Ffraid (otherwise known as St Bride or St Bridget), together with its location on the edge of the Cain valley, point to an early medieval foundation, though there is no surviving trace of any early structure. A small Norman window indicates the age of the first building survivals.
The church is first recorded in the Norwich Taxation of 1254 as 'Cap'lla de Llansanfret' at a value of œ2, and appears again in the Lincoln Taxation of 1291 as 'Ecc'lia de Lansanfreit' at œ12.
Much damage to the building occurred at the beginning of the 15thC during the Glyndwr rebellion.
Some alterations took place in the 17thC. The south porch was added and the priest's door blocked up. The south wall windows were inserted at this time, possibly around 1618: the bells date from this period and a 1618 beam was found in the bell turret during 19thC alterations.
“If anybody would like to expand to this series please do, I would just ask that you could let Sadexploration know first at email@example.com so he can keep track of the Church numbers and names to avoid duplication. There is also a Church Micro Stats & Information page found via the Bookmark list”