Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The wonders of Pontargothi

Bank Holiday Monday was going to be wet, but drying up from the west. So, having accepted an invitation for a day-out somewhere, we headed west, and I did some quick homework in Simon Jenkins' "Churches, Castles and Houses of Wales". I thought we could combine a Place of Interest with maybe Llansteffan or Laugharne. My eye fell upon a church I'd never heard of before - Holy Trinity, Pontargothi (3 stars in Simon!), so off we went.
We turned off the A48 past the Botanical Gardens and crossed the Tywi to the little village of Pontargothi between Carmarthen and Llandeilo. A mile down a green narrow lane brought us to this Victorian wonder set in what looks like a field. A chap who'd made loads of cash from metalworking in Swansea built a big house and wanted his own English-speaking Anglican church as opposed to the Welsh-speaking parish one. So he built himself one, upsetting the local bishop who wouldn't consecrate it. So the neat field is actually an unused graveyard. 
The plainish exterior hides an interior that can be called stunning. It's decorated with murals from floor to ceiling, in a tasteful monochrome reddish-brown on cream, They acquire some gilt and colouring as they get closer to the altar. Restored about 5 years ago, I found the church absolutely delightful. But that wasn't all.
We were greeted by Maldwyn, born and bred locally, who knew and loved every single thing about his church. He was charming and helpful, as was a lady who was serving tea, coffee, Welsh cakes and Scotch pancakes. You were invited to take your mug and wander around the church... So wander we did, mug in hand and Maldwyn at hand to answer all questions. He even said that there was a belief that the local Catholic bishop had stepped in to consecrate the church! I may look into that...
Umm, what else? Morning coffee at one local pub was OK, lunch at another - also OK. But what a wonderful church - building, welcome, everything. Holy Trinity, Pontargothi - Fr M really approves. 

No comments:

Post a Comment