The history of the church of St Mary, Gladestry can be traced back at least 900 years, although there is a question mark over its origin. The church is believed to have been founded by Harold Godwinson, later the last Saxon King of England. If so, his motives appear more tactical than spiritual; part of his attempt to extend his influence into the territory of the Welsh princes. There is evidence, however, that there may have been an earlier church on the site, possibly dedicated to St David. The churchyard is almost round, an indication that it may have been founded by the Celtic church.
As use of the Welsh language gradually declined, the parish was one of the first in Radnorshire to stop using the Welsh prayer book and bible around 1700. Later, the village also had two thriving chapels — the Wesleyan, built in 1838, and the Baptist, which opened in 1842. Both chapels are now private homes.
St Mary’s today is a Grade 1 listed building of exceptional national, architectural and historical importance. It retains several original features despite a restoration in 1910. These include an outstanding pyramidal tower, a 16th Century oak roof and a 13th Century priests door in the south wall.
Click here for more information of the architectural features of St Mary, Gladestry listed in the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust website.
We endeavour to maintain the historic building so that all may benefit. Services are weekly and in 2013 new work to the fabric was restoring oak chairs and repairing the altar floor.
Contact: Church Warden Marlene Evans to donate to the church.