blogged about our visit to this tiny church of St Ellwye, Llandieu, Telgarth, but I want to revisit the experience briefly. The photo here - rather fuzzy, as my phone isn't up to dim interiors - shows the mediaeval rood-screen typical of many of the churches we visited, truncated at its right-hand end to accomodate a small pulpit. This reflected the change in emphasis in worship after the Reformation, when preaching assumed a greater importance, but the result is visually lopsided and aesthetically upsetting. And as the church is now disused, of course, there seems even less reason for such architectural vandalism.
But I wonder how it was at the time when the alteration was made. Was there the equivalent of a vestry committee, arguing over the structural alterations? Did someone ask what was more important: beauty or The Word? Or were all consumed with such reforming zeal that they merely bashed on, and anyone who had regrets kept these to himself for fear of seeming too papist? However it was done, the alterations are now themselves ancient, and the disagreements long forgotten. This was a silent, powerful space, deserted by all but the bats and a sense of the holy made all the stronger by the lack of domestication which had tamed a more cared-for church (like St Bilo's, seen later in the day and pictured in the earlier blog post).
And this, of course, is where Larkin comes in - again!