St Cadoc’s Church, Aberpergwm

button-theme-evacSt Cadoc’s Church, Aberpergwm

aberpergwm_st_cadocs_churchThis church was once a private chapel for the Williams family. It contains panels of ancient stained glass from a German abbey.

The Williams family owned the Aberpergwm estate from the 16th century. This included Aberpergwm House (at the far end of Manor Drive), mentioned in 15th-century poetry.

The first church here was built in the 17th century. It was rebuilt and extended in the 19th century. There were separate porches, each side of the nave, for men and women (one now being the vestry). The Williams family were patrons of the church from 1861, giving them a say in the appointment of vicars. This arrangement continued until the Church in Wales was formed in 1920.

aberpergwm_church_window_detailsFour panels in the east window, showing monks kneeling, were painted in the 16th century for Steinfeld abbey, Germany. Stained glass was removed from the abbey in the upheaval of the Napoleonic wars. A German businessman living in England bought the glass and sold some to aristocrats, probably including the Williamses. Most is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

In the churchyard is a monument to Jane Williams. She died in 1832 aged 22 – a year after marrying Thomas Williams. Known as the “wedding cake memorial”, it has lost its top section.

aberpergwm_church_window_detailInside the church you can see memorials to other family members, including Captain George Williams, who died in the Zulu war in 1879. Another tablet commemorates Captain Idris H Williams of the Royal Fusiliers. He died, aged 36, in 1915 from wounds received in Belgium and is buried in the churchyard. Also buried here is Royal Marine Robert Desmond Whitney, who died on active service in 1945 aged 24.

During the Second World War, Aberpergwm House was home to the East Anglian School for Deaf and Blind Children. The school’s premises near Great Yarmouth were vulnerable to enemy action and suffered bomb damage in 1941. One pupil, Edgar Petrie, later recalled that the boys explored the old house, including its secret passageways. The house became National Coal Board offices and eventually fell into ruin.

With thanks to Bethan Williams for the photos of the German glass and church interior

Postcode: SA11 5RG    View Location Map

Parish website