A much-loved Carmarthenshire church is to share in a £584,000 funding payout from the National Churches Trust.in
A £15,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant will help fund the installation of urgently needed toilets and a kitchen and keep the Grade II* Listed church of St Ellie in Llanelli at the heart of the local community.
Broadcaster and journalist Huw Edwards, Vice President of The National Churches Trust, said:
“I’m delighted that St Elli in Llanelli, a church packed with history, is being helped with a £15,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant.
“The funding will help fund modern community facilities, safeguard unique local heritage and help keep the church open and in use for the benefit of local people.”
64 churches and chapels in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will benefit from the latest grants from the National Churches Trust, the charity supporting church buildings of all Christian denominations across the UK. £134,000 of funding for the grants has been provided by the Wolfson Foundation.
This is the first round of grants made by the National Churches Trust in 2021. Last year the Trust has awarded, or recommended on behalf of other funders, 304 grants amounting to £5.6 million.
The church of St Elli has its origins in a 5th century timber Celtic church on the same site. The first written reference to the church comes in 1086 from Herewald, Bishop of Llandaff. The town is named after the church.
In the 1770s, John Wesley, leader of the Methodist movement, regularly preached at the market cross, now situated in the churchyard.
In 1901, noted Gothic Revival architect G.F. Bodley proposed a complete rebuild retaining the church’s Norman tower only. Instead, the church was rebuilt in 1906 to plans by E.M. Bruce Vaughan’s much larger design in a simple Gothic style with a long nave and north/south transepts.
Features include a reredos of the Last Supper by Harry Helms, two large stained glass windows by Edward Burne-Jones, a 13th century font, 28 significant memorials and a listed lych gate.
The project will enable the installation of two toilets on the ground floor of the tower including disabled access and the creation of a multipurpose room in the vestry with independent heating and a kitchenette. These new facilities will allow the church to host a wide range of events and activities in support of the local community, both religious and secular.
The Revd Canon Huw Mosford, Dean of the Local Ministry Area of Bro Lliedi, said:“This is wonderful news. In a post Covid world, it will enable us to create a flexible space with appropriate facilities, suitable for a wide variety of community uses, as well as worship in Welsh and English. The project will also enable us to preserve a historic listed building in Llanelli for future generations.”