About this church
Surrounded by overgrown woodland and the bumps and hummocks of an ancient circular churchyard, St Tyfei’s was designed to be seen in its setting, as the estate church of nearby Newton House, at Dinefwr. Known as the ‘Butler’s Church’, this secret place, closed for regular worship since the 1960s, is much loved by the local community and Friends group who are working hard to bring it back into community use.
The site is fascinating. A 1st or 2nd century Roman Fort Complex lies on the ridge above it, and when the churchyard was levelled in 1770, foundations were recorded thought to represent a Roman temple, including an altar with carvings of a cornucopia and augural staff on opposite faces, now lost.
In 1800 a Roman coin hoard was found some 200m northwest of the church and the spot of the find is shown on the 1886 Ordnance Survey map.
The building we see today was almost entirely rebuilt from its medieval foundations in 1875, probably by R Kyrke Pearson from Oswestry (who also redesigned nearby Newton House). Its octagonal 15th century font now lives at St Teilo, Llandeilo. At the moment you can visit on community open days. Notice inside the blocked pointed doorway, is it medieval? The interior of the church, though stripped of its pews and other fittings, has real character and will make a wonderful setting for community events and activities when it can open regularly once more.
All walks to the church take beautiful routes, and don’t forget to go up to Dinefwr Castle, with its spectacular views across the valley and beyond before stopping for tea and a browse around the National Trust’s Newton House and the rest of the fabulous Capability Brown landscape, including the iconic Deer Park Walk. You can easily spend a day here.