The church is set in a particularly beautiful part of the Usk Valley, close to the south-eastern edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The little market town of Crickhowell is named after Crug Hywel, (Howell’s Rock), the Iron Age Fort which can be seen on the horizon. The town has been a centre for tourism for over 100 years, and has a wide range of accommodation and eating places.
The church is dedicated to St Edmund, King and Martyr, and you can read more about this remarkable man here.
The Church itself was built at the end of the 13th century by Lady Sybil Pauncefote who inherited the Castle from her father, Sir Hugh Turberville whose family had been granted the Lordship by Bernard de Newmarch, the Norman Lord of Brecon after the Conquest. Lady Sybil had married into the Pauncefote family whose estates centred on the village of Hasfield in Gloucestershire. The English influence is evident both from the original architecture and from the church’s dedication to St Edmund who was the patron saint of England at the time.
Even in its original cruciform layout, the church was a large building for the new town growing up around Crickhowell Castle. As the town grew, lean-to side aisles were added and these accommodated the altars of the local craft guilds. These aisles were demolished in the middle of the eighteenth century to be replaced in the nineteenth century by the present side-aisles..
Amongst many items of interest are the two windows at the west end of these aisles, by Charles Eamer Kempe. One depicts The Flight into Egypt and shows the Angel Gabriel leading the Holy Family to safety.
There is also an Icon, created by Revd Brian Bessant, a former Rector, as a memorial. It is a re-creation of one of the two holy icons of the Resurrection, The Descent into Hell.
The effigies of Lady Sybil and her husband, Sir Grimbald Pauncefote, lie on either side of the Sanctuary, where there are memorials to several well-known local families such as the Rumseys, the Herberts, the Bevans and the Lathams, including one of two memorial tablets by the Brute family, local stonemasons from Llanbedr.
The Church holds copies of its registers, and these are available for research through the Crickhowell District Archive Centre, which also has a very comprehensive collection of records for both local and family history research. Tel: 01873 810922.
Further information about the church and the area may be found on the Genuki site.