The Archdeacon Cometh

One of the more unusual sources of money to pay for work on the Old Church is referred to in passing in the Parish Magazine of April/May 1891, as follows:

“The Archdeacon of Monmouth (the Venerable W. Conybeare Bruce) met the Vicar and Churchwardens of the Parish Church on Monday April 20th (1891), the last visitation having taken place 4½ years before i.e. October 28, 1886, about four months after the restoration by Mrs. Gosling.”

Mrs. Gosling of Wyesham House donated most of the £300 required for a “thorough restoration of the interior” probably as a reciprocal gesture following that of Richard Potter of the Argoed in helping to finance a workhouse in Dixton parish (which took in destitute people from Penallt and which had its own designated pews in Dixton Parish Church).

There is no doubt that the work done then by the Monmouth builder, David Roberts, kept the church substantially sound for almost a century, but the Archdeacon’s report following his Visitation demonstrates how careful an eye has always been needed to repair and if possible anticipate deterioration. He “carefully inspected the whole edifice” some five years after the major works by Roberts and specified “necessary repairs to the tower, the roof (particularly the lead-work between the nave and the south aisle), the walls, windows etc. as well as the removal of some unsightly heaps of earth in the churchyard.” Ruefully, today’s churchwardens will recognise these words as if they came from the latest Quinquennial Report on the fabric.

[from: Penallt Revisited]