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Baptisms 18 July 2015

On Sunday 18 July the baptism of Daisy and Evie Lewis was held in Llanvapley Church. The picture shows proud parents, Martin and Jo Lewis and the equally proud grandparents. Jo was particularly happy as it was also her birthday.

A special christening cake was designed and made by Janet Andrews. A party was held in the pavilion and the sun shone all day.

Strawberry Tea 21 June 2015

Llanvapley Church held its annual strawberry tea on Sunday 21 June and thankfully the sun shone and rain stayed away. Thanks to everyone who supported and helped at the event which raised £200 towards church funds.

 Spring Clean Saturday 9 May 2015

Every year Llanvapley Churchyard gets a spring clean.  Everyone in the village is welcome to come along and give a hand.

It is hard work but fun.

Llanvapley Churchwardens from the past

Dr Gwynne Jones of Glasow is researching his family who come from this area. His great-grandfather was Timothy Baylis, St Mabli’s churchwarden in the late 19th century. He’s sent me a vestry notice he found in the county archives (see attached) which reads:
County of Monmouth } Notice is hearby given To Witt } That a vestry meeting will be held at the Church on 16th day of March 1871 at 11 o’clock for the purpose of appointing Guardians Overseers Waywardens and Constables for the ensuing year.
Dated this 11 day of March 1871.
T Baylis Overseer.
It seems that the Parish Council was in those days responsible for many of the activities now performed by local government. Guardians looked after the poor, Waywardens the roads, Constables were constables, and Overseers kept them all in order. On the Internet you can find references to these officers and to others such as surveyors who looked after the church buildings, roads and bridges. They had local tax raising powers:” a rate of 6d in the pound to be spent on the poor” etc. Timothy Baylis lived in Llantilio House, Llantilio Crossenny until the mid 1850s, moved to Perth-y-Pia until 1873 and then to Lloyvos Farm near Brynderi until he died in 1886.

A concert of Baroque Music October 2014

On Saturday 31 October there was a concert of Baroque music in Llanvapley Church. Over 75 people attended the concert and they were impressed by the musical skills of all of the performers. Have you ever wondered what happens when a string on a violin breaks during a performance. If you were at the concert you will have seen Marc Elton coping with just such an eventuality in a very calm manner. The evening was a great success and thanks go to Penny Harding and Richard Sidwell who masterminded the event. One concert goer sent this message after the concert. “One of the most memorable evenings of the year. Loved it!”

Llanvapley Church Strawberry Tea 2014

Llanvapley Church held its annual Strawberry Tea on 22 June and was blessed with perfect summer weather. The event was very well supported by the village and by people from other parishes in the group. The strawberry tea menu featured home made scones, jam and whipped cream plus home made cake and biscuits. All this as well as bowl of strawberries and cream and as much tea as you could drink for the sum of £5. If you like the sound of this then don’t forget to come along to next year’s event.

Changes to bible readings in Llanvapley

Llanvapley Church has decided to make a small change to its monthly Eucharist service. It has decided that one of the bible readings will be read in Welsh. The reading will be printed in English so that everyone will be able to follow what is being said. The results of the 2011 census showed that the number of Welsh speakers in Monmouthshire is increasing. Even though the percentage of welsh speakers is small, the use of Welsh in the area is significant, particularly in education and signs in public areas. Llanvapley wants to play its part in promoting the use of the language and hopes the use of Welsh in our church will send a signal to young people who learn Welsh in school. The change was made for the first time on 12 May when one of the churchwardens read a lesson in Welsh. The reaction to the change was positive and a number of people said they enjoyed it. It was interesting to find out that three of the congregation were either Welsh speakers or Welsh learners. The next Eucharist service is on 9 June. You may like to come along simply to listen or you may feel confident to offer to read a lesson yourself.

Roger and Barbara Spells

Many people in Llanvapley will remember Roger and Barbara Spells who used to live in Stable Cottage. They left the village some years ago and have been living in New Zealand. They visited Llanvapley briefly in May when they came back to Britain after the birth of their grandson. Roger and Barbara signed the visitors book in the church and passed on their good wishes to everyone who remembers them.

New Churchyard Cross for Llanvapley

Llanvapley Church now has a new cross which has been designed to sit on top of the preaching cross base.  The cross has been made from old church pews and was designed and made by Peter Marchant.  The cross was used as part of the Good Friday service in Llanvapley.

Thank you to Janet Andrews who has made some new covers for the Holy Communion vessels. They look wonderful and there will be a dedication of them shortly in a service at St Mabli’s. Flossie Lowes has renovated the old ones and so the church has set of altar covers that really do look stunning – the intricate needlework is quite exceptional.

100th Birthday!

Mary Harding celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends at Monmouth House, Llanfapley on 18th September. The sun shone and the Queen kindly wore an outfit to match the icing on the cake! Thanks to Janet and Lesley for their contributions to creating the cake and to local well wishers. Settling back to the usual routines will take a while as her flat in Abergavenny is filled with flowers and cards – the Queen’s card has pride of place above her mantelpiece.

Harvest 2012

The harvest service was held on Sunday 23 September at 11.00 am.  Twenty people where on hand to celebrate the harvest and to join in the service of thanksgiving.  Thanks go to everyone who helped to decorate the church, especially Brenda Allen for her floral display and Janet Andrews for her excellent harvest loaf. The service was followed by lunch in the pavillion.  Everyone enjoyed sharing food and taking part in the decorated gourd competition which was won by Peter Marchant.

Infant Baptism

The Cooper family celebrated the baptism of Georgina, daughter of Kate and Chris Good on 11 August.  It was a splendid family occasion and was preceded the day before by a family cricket match in Llanfapley on one of those summer afternoons. A Saudi Arabian won the ‘Champagne Moment’ who had never played cricket before and who scored his side’s winning run!

Strawberry Tea

Llanvapley Church held its annual strawberry tea on Sunday June 24. It was one of those rare summer days when it did not rain and everyone enjoyed the opportunity to feast on the excellent teas that the church team had produced. Thanks to everyone who supported this event and we look forward to holding another event next summer.

Sweet Music and Summer Drinks

Llanvapley Church held a short series of concerts in the summer which were great fun and well supported.

Richard Pinel is the assistant organist of St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle

TNT readers who came to hear Richard Pinel give an organ recital at Llanfapley last summer, and marvelled at his magical playing, will be delighted to learn he has recently won first prize in the most prestigious Breda International Organ Competition in The Netherlands. From a very high standard of organists from all over the world he not only came first but also won a subsidiary prize for best Toccata performance. Just fancy! We heard it first!
Felicity Orme began playing the harp at the age of thirteen and was accepted into Chetham’s School of Music just a year later.  She is very much in demand as a harpist and is currently the Harpist in Residence at the Landmark and Connaught hotels and regularly plays at the Ritz hotel.  Last year Felicity played at the Brit Awards and this year she can be seen playing in the film Brighton Rock.  Felicity took part in an ensemble of 60 harps at the Royal Opera House for Prince Charles’s 60th Birthday and she has recently performed at the Supreme Court, the House of Lords and Banqueting House.
Stephen Meakins is one of the UK’s busiest young accompanists, a keen collaborator and is in great demand as a chamber musician. He has performed in major concert venues as both soloist and accompanist. Recent venues have included St Martin’s in the Fields, St George’s Bristol, Dartington Hall and Wigmore Hall.  Stephen accompanies for the New Virtuosi Mastercourse, Bute House School for Girls, Royal College of Music Junior Department, Northampton Bach Choir and Dorking Choral Society.

Richard Pinell performed in Llanvapley Church on 26 June 2012

Stephen Meakins and Felicity Orme performed in Llanvapley Church on Saturday 21 July 2012

Clean up of church yard

On Saturday 9 June a team of villagers descended on Llanvapley Church for the annual spring clean and churchyard weeding session.  The day was mercifully dry and the group quickly got stuck into some serious tidying up. The work was assisted by liberal amounts of coffee and lemon drizzle cake. Apart from making the place look better there were also some major improvements to the drainage system which seems to be working overtime at the moment.  At the end of the session everyone was really pleased with what they had done and enjoyed standing back to admire it.

Visit from former rector’s wife

In May 2012 Hilda Austen visited Llanvapley Church.  Hilda is the wife of Ray Austen who was the vicar in Llanvapley from 1984 to 91.  Hilda is 98 years young and very much enjoyed seeing the church again.  She commented on its appearance and remembered all the groups she used to organise in the village.

Church members help out long distance travellers

On a rainy May night a small group of three young cyclists arrived in Llanvapley looking for shelter.  They decided to knock on the door of the Old Rectory hoping to be given a barn or a shed to shelter and to sleep in.  Tom Lowes immediately thought to offer the church for the night as it has been used before in unusual circumstances by travellers on their way to St David’s in Pembrokeshire.  However, after a quick phone call it was decided to offer them a warmer place to stay and the village pavilion was opened up.  They quickly made themselves at home, spreading their sleeping mats on the floor and then they opened a rather nice bottle of white wine which was given to them. There wasn’t anything particularly unusual about the group.  Young people nowadays like to travel and do things the unconventional way, knocking on doors and hoping for a warm welcome.  What was unusual was their journey which had started in 2010 and had taken them the length and breadth of Europe.  The night before they had spent in a small room adjacent to the church in Trecastle, Powys and the next day they were on their way to Gloucester on their way back home to France. In a world where we are told to be careful and not to trust people it was heartwarming to meet young people who have thrown the rule book out of the window.  It was a pleasure to meet them and who knows, Llanvapley may get a mention in the book they intend to write when they get home.  By the way, their particular interest as they travelled around Europe was farmers and farming, no joking!

Carole, Ligea and Myriam arrive in Llanvapley

The Llanvapley Church 5 Peaks Charity Challenge Saturday 14th April 2012

On the morning of 14 April at 7.15 am a group of four people from Llanvapley began walking up the mist covered slopes of the Brecon Beacons. At 5.30 pm, after succeeding in conquering five peaks in one day, Tom Lowes, Mary Davies, Owen Marsh and Les Taylor were greeted at the bottom of the Skirrid with champagne and chocolate cake. During the course of the day they had to face a wide range of weather conditions varying from snow to warm sunshine. The aim of the challenge was to raise funds for Help for Heroes, the Mothers’ Union in Abergavenny as well as Llanvapley Church. Money is still coming in, but it is hoped that the final total will be over £2000. Llanvapley Church PCC would like to thank everyone who took part in the challenge and everyone who gave money to support the nominated charities. A mention must also be made of those people who came along to the Skirrid to support and encourage the walkers on the last leg of the walk and to celebrate the achievement. I’ve heard people say they would walk a hundred miles to taste Fiona Lowes chocolate cake. I can now believe this is true!

New organ arrives in Llanvapley

 The organ at Llanvapley Church has given good service for a number of years and a long line of organists have worked wonders to encourage good singing from congregations large and small.  Recently the organ has been showing signs of old age and has been know to stop working during a hymn to the consternation of the vicar and the congregation.  The problem was patched up and the organ has “soldered” on regardless!  Despite the organ refusing to give up, the PCC began discussions to replace the organ with something more suitable.  After much internet research by our organist Robert Walker a replacement organ was found at a price which was considered to be reasonable and affordable.  The organ has now arrived and was played for the first time in the service on 22nd January.  It is hoped to organise an event in the near future in order to give people a better chance to hear what it can do.

Anthony Bogdan who sold the organ, Robert Walker, David Wilkinson from Viscount Organs and Peter Marchant of Llanvapley Church PCC

Cunning metal thief causes problems in Llanvapley Church tower

I am sure everyone is aware of the crime of metal theft and the problems caused by it. Rural churches in many areas have been the targets for the criminals who are happy to strip the lead off the church roof and pull the gutters down for the sake of a few pounds from a dodgy scrap metal dealer. Most of this happens in the dead of night and it is therefore good to know the police patrol this area at night looking for suspicious vehicles.  So far none of our churches have been targeted but a problem has arisen in Llanvapley when a hole was spotted in one of the gutters high on the church tower.
The hole was quite large and it appeared that it had been caused by something chewing away at the lead. It could have been caused by a bird but it seems that the most likely candidate would be one of the squirrels which live in the churchyard. The tower is close to a sweet chestnut tree and it seems one particularly agile squirrel must jump off the tree and onto the tower.  It seems squirrels like to chew lead in order to keep their teeth sharp. Llanvapley PCC has decided not to take direct action against the little furry metal thief – all things bright and beautiful and all that!  Instead it has decided to leave samples of lead around in the hope the squirrel will sharpen his teeth on something which will not damage the fabric of the church.  Any other ideas?

The hole made by the squirrel and the repair

Stairway to Heaven

St Mabli’s Church in Llanvapley has welcomed a steady stream of visitors over the summer months, many of whom have commented on the improvements which have been made. The tower is perhaps the least visited part of the church but this too has recently seen an important improvement.  The tower is used for a number of purposes.  The ground floor is used as a vestry and storeroom.  Steps in the vestry lead to the first floor where it is possible to gain access to seats in the west gallery.  The rest of the tower is a bit more mysterious and is rarely visited.  One of the problems has been the poor condition of the stairs and it has always been the intention to replace them.  Last month this finally happened when a splendid new set of wooden steps where added.  At the top of these stairs there is a dark room which is virtually empty.  There is little of interest here apart from a blocked out doorway which would have been used to gain access to the roof space when the roof was higher than it is at the moment. The next level of the tower contains the bells, only one of which is in use.  The bells date from 1626 and were possibly made in Gloucester by John Palmer.  The smaller bell (29 inches) is the one which is in use and has an inscription which reads – Give thanks to God 1626 TL DP C W DENS IP.  TL stands for Thomas Lewis and DP for David Powell who were the churchwardens (C W DENS).  It is thought that IP is possibly the initials of the vicar at the time.  The second bell (32.5 inches) is sadly not in use and its condition is uncertain.  There is no record of why it is not in use but there is speculation that it may be cracked. It too has an inscription which is the same as the other bell apart from the motto which is in Latin – Soli Deo De Tvr Gloria – which means “To God alone be the glory”.  Given the recent spate of metal thefts it is interesting to consider the weight of a church bell and how much the metal itself might is worth.  The second bell is about 300 lbs and with copper (the main metal in bronze) prices over £6000 a tonne it is very valuable just for the metal it contains.  The good news is that there is no way it could be moved and it has been smartwatered! There is one final level in the tower which is the roof which is accessible by a modern aluminium ladder.  From the roof it is possible to gain a fine view of the heavenly countryside around Llanvapley.

Llanvapley Arts and Crafts Exhibiton

Llanvapley Church held its first art and crafts exhibition on Saturday 10 September in St Mabli’s Church. There was a wide range of arts and crafts on display, all of which were of a very high standard. There was a steady flow of visitors throughout the afternoon and everyone who came enjoyed the displays and took the opportunity to relax and chat over a cup of tea and a cake. Thanks to all the people who exhibited and those who came along to support the event which raised over £110 for church funds. We hope to repeat the exhibition next year, which will give anyone who missed it another chance to get involved.

Llanvapley Harvest Service and Supper 2011

Llanvapley Harvest service was greatly enjoyed by everyone, as was the supper which was held in the pavilion. The supper was as always a very special event and the tables were filled with villagers and friends from the other parishes. It was good to welcome Gerald and Wendy Payne who have moved into Honeysuckle Cottage. Thank you to every one who was involved in decorating the church and in the service. A special thanks to Sue Taylor for organising ‘who-brings-what.’

Lunatic in the church

Strawberry Tea 2011

Llanvapley church held its annual strawberry tea on Sunday 10th July and it came as no surprise that the rain arrived exactly at the time it was due to start. Despite the weather, the event was well supported both from inside the village and beyond. Everyone enjoyed chatting and sampling the excellent range of cakes and other delicacies. Thanks to everyone who supported the event and to all those working in the kitchen to keep the cups of tea flowing. Llanvapley Sports and Social Association also helped by loaning tables, chairs and crockery. Thanks also go to Margaret Ricketts who works at White Castle and who directed a couple of families who were looking for something to do with their children on a wet afternoon. The event raised £200 for church funds and it is hoped to repeat it again next year. Anyone know a date that is guaranteed to be dry?

Safety checks uncover Victorian vault

Health and safety regulations require Llanvapley PCC to check on the stability of tombs and gravestones. This year the annual check was incorporated into the church spring clean which took place on 9th April. Many of the graves were covered in ivy and were untidy and it was decided to try to restore a number of graves. As the ivy was cleared around the largest of the graves in the churchyard an unusual discovery was made. The inscription on the monument read “Sacred to the memory of Archer Roland elder twin son of Richard Carlisle of Llanvapley died Jan 9th 1868 aged two years and nine months”. Also to the memory of Richard Carlisle Born March 19th 1817 entered into rest March 14th 1893. Rose Marie Carlisle wife Richard Carlisle. She passed from this life on May 17th 1898 at Mentone. Her ashes were laid under this stone on June 20th 1898 by her two surviving children.” Once the ivy was removed it was clear that this was a vault rather than a grave and it was decided to inspect the vault to see if it was still in safe condition. A set of steps was uncovered leading down to a brick lined vault which was still dry and in good condition. On the right hand side there were two urns and a four foot long metal coffin. Everyone was surprised at the discovery and by the scale of the vault. The Carlisle family lived in Llanvapley Court but it seems that Mrs Carlisle may have moved out of the area following the death of her husband. It is recorded that she died in Mentone. There are at least three places named Mentone, one in Australia and two in the United States and it is clear which one of these is correct.
Note : It appears that the other twin son died soon after Archer Roland.  In the Monmouthshire Merlin dated 15 January 1870 there is an announcement in the deaths section which states “On the 8th inst., H. D., son of Mr. R. Carlisle, of Llanvapley, Monmouthshire, at 28, Clarges-street, Piccadilly”.


Professor Luke Herrmann and Sir Henry Boyd Carpenter have sent notes to TNT about the Victorian vault in Llanfapley Churchyard……………….
Sir Henry writes……….I suspect that the Mentone referred to is likely to be the present-day Menton. This resort was very fashionable in the 19th century, and was visited frequently by Queen Victoria . The name Menton first appears in 1261, but in 1346 the town was bought by the Grimaldis of Monaco although it remained under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Ventimiglia. It is very close to the present Franco-Italian frontier and, with Monaco , it oscillated between the protection of France and Sardinia until it was permanently attached to France in 1860, being sold to France by the Grimaldi prince of the day. However the Italian/Sardinian name Mentone persisted, and was, I believe still in common though not exclusive use until well into the twentieth century. Menton/Mentone was a more likely retreat for

What is the Welsh name for Llanvapley?
The correct Welsh name for Llanvapley is a bit of a problem. Many people regard Llanfapley as being correct and this has entered common usage. But this is incorrect, even though it is correct to substitute F for a V as there is no V in the Welsh alphabet. The correct Welsh name is Llanfable which appears on old maps and can be found on a road sign at the top of Firs Road.
The new notice board used by Llanvapley Church has a rather smart sign on it. The design was done by Alice Taylor of Llanvapley who is currently studying Graphic Design at Leeds University. One of the problems encountered in designing the sign was to make the sign bilingual. St Mabli is a Celtic Saint and was female. Therefore the correct translation for St Mabli’s Church, Llanvapley is Yr Eglwys y Fabli Santes, Llanfable. The new sign has been created by Sally Wickens of Chillipper Signs who lives at the Hostry in Llantilio Crossenny.

Keeping Warm this Winter
A sale of cashmere jerseys, cardigans, gloves and scarves was held at Chwarelau on Friday 7th and Sat 8th October in aid of St Mabli’s Church. A succession of customers came from all over the county and our thanks go to all those who produced cakes, and gave prizes for the raffle, and particularly those who came to buy and help out on the day – they know who they are! Over £1000 was raised over the two days which made all the hard work worthwhile. Thank you to Graham and Bubbles Cooper for organising this so splendidly, and to Flossie Lowes and Helen Osborn

Harvest 2010 Harvest Loaf Making

Thank you to Janet Andrews for leading a good and enjoyable morning teaching the process of making a harvest loaf. The pictures show some proud ‘pupils’ who are very pleased with their efforts!

New Key for the tower door

Llanfapley are having the planned ‘after-works’ done to the building. It was part of the programme to deal with any snags or things that didn’t quite go to plan. The only difficulty was that the original builder ceased business so another firm, Capps and Capps have been brought in to complete the works. It is envisaged they will take some 10 days to finish and thanks to all involved in this.

A number of people do so much for Llanfapley Church, but not many can make a new key! Peter Marchant has created a beautiful key for the west door and here it is being tried for the first time.

Relief for creaking knees!

There will be a little more relief for creaking knees at St Mabli’s, now that we have kneelers to fill the whole width of the altar rail. The new pair have been provided thanks to the very kind donation of top quality upholstery foam by John and Judith Bannon, and top quality fabric by Janet Andrews, who also prepared it for fitting. Our grateful thanks to them all.

Strawberry Tea goes down well

Sunday 13th June was a very busy day in Llanvapley.  Apart from a service in the church there was also a Quaker service in the pavillion.  In the afternoon the pavillion was taken over by Llanvapley Cricket Club and at the same time Llanvapley Church organised a strawberry tea.  That makes four different things in one day – and they say nothing ever goes on in Llanvapley!.  The  strawberry tea was held in the open space behind the church and everyone was pleased with the excellent turnout.  The church had been tidied up and was looking at its best with some lovely floral displays.  The strawberries and cream were produced at a rate of knots by a strong team in the kitchen and everyone enjoyed the weather until the rain arrived.  Luckily most of the food had been served and everyone was happy to finish off inside the church.  It had been four years since the last strawberry tea.  Let’s hope it is not that long before the next one.
“The cloud with the silver lining”
It’s an ill wind as they say – because although the wedding reception for Fiona Lowes’ brother, Mark Dyer, due to be held on 24th April, at the Old Rectory, Llanvapley, was cancelled because the bride and her family were unable to leave their home in Dallas, Texas, thanks to the closure of British airspace because of the Icelandic ash cloud, it was decided by Llanvapley PCC to press on with a drinks party to raise funds for St Mabli’s fabric fund, and this was held in the Old Rectory garden the following Tuesday, duly raising £680!

Vital Spark appear in Llanvapley Church  8/5/10

The village of Llanvapley was treated to an excellent evening of live music from an amazing group of singers and musicians know as Vital Spark. Everyone was thoroughly entertained by the wide range of interesting music which filled the church  The group really appreciated playing in the church and were most complimentary of its acoustic qualities. Thanks go to everyone who helped in the organising and the setting up of this concert.

Church improvements

St Mabli’s acquired some much needed improvements over the Christmas period.  Some beautiful and practical curtains have gone up in the arch between the gallery and the tower to cut down on draughts.  Janet Andrews is to thank for giving her time and energy to sew them.  She has also provided the material and done the upholstery work to produce a pair of kneelers for the altar.  Fewer creaking joints from now on!
Terry Leader has very generously donated his old kitchen cupboards, which are in remarkably good condition, to bring the vestry/kitchen into the 20th century.  We hope to get into the 21st when we get water and drainage laid on!

Christmas Carol Service

Llanvapley Church held a very successful carol service on Sunday 13th December.  Over 40 people filled the church and everyone enjoyed the mulled wine and mince pies after the service.  Thanks to everyone who helped in preparing the church for the service.

New gravel added to the paths
Do you remember the disruption in Llanvapley in the summer when the council was resurfacing the roads? After applying chippings to the road the contractors waited a few days and then swept up the chippings and sold the sweepings to farmers. So the paths around Llanvapley Church have been resurfaced with road chippings kindly donated by Bernard Blackwell from Perth-y-pia Farm, Llanvapley. A big thank you goes to Bernard for his help and Peter Marchant who helped to spread the chippings.

Friends of Llanvapley Church
Llanvapley Church has been looking for fresh ideas to raise money and has come up with the idea of asking people in the village to put their loose change in a special jam jar. The jam jars have very kindly been distributed around the village by Doug and Jane Rutter and have proved an instant hit. Thank you very much to everyone who has offered to take a jam jar, they are an ideal way to get rid of all that loose change which is weighing you down and wearing a hole in your pocket! Jam jars can be emptied at any stage and the cash handed over to any of the churchwardens. If it’s more convenient you can hand it over next time the New Times is delivered.

Llanfapley PCC launch limited edition print of St Mabli’s Church
From an original drawing by local artist James Lowes, this super print is available in a strictly limited edition of 100 copies, all individually signed and numbered by the artist. Priced at only £10 each unframed, with a donation made to St Mabli’s Church funds for every one sold. To obtain your copy call Tom or Fiona Lowes on 01600 780337. James is well known for his house drawings and is always pleased to discuss individual commissions – and his drawings and prints can be economically framed by Paul of HS Picture Framing in Abergavenny Market.”

Snippets from the Llanvapley Preacher’s Book

Queen Victoria died on 21 January 1901 at the age of 81 at 6.30 in the evening. It is recorded in the preacher’s book that the news of her death arrived in Llanvapley at 9pm that evening and that the bell was rung 81 times.

Harvest Lunch in Llanvapley

Harvest celebrations in Llanvapley were a little different this year.  Rather than holding the service in the evening followed by Harvest Lunch in the pavillion it was suggested that there could be a Harvest Lunch following the Harvest Service.  The restoration of the church has made the building much more inviting and comfortable and so it seemed the perfect venue for our Harvest Lunch. Thanks to all those people who helped to decorate and arrange the church for the service and the lunch.  Once again the flowers and the arrangements were outstanding and made the church feel really special.  Thanks also to all those who helped in moving chairs and tables.  The tables and chairs were arranged in the chancel and despite it being a little bit of a tight squeeze everyone was able to sit down to an excellent lunch.
Llanvapley are getting on with plans to create a kitchen area in the vestry. A very generous parishioner has donated their former kitchen cabinets and sink etc, whilst Peter Marchant has drawn up plans to have them fitted. Inevitably, the DAC will have to grant a faculty to do this, as it is the disposal of wastewater – a very tricky problem involving building regulations and health and safety.

Concert in Llanvapley Church

If you were fortunate enough to be in St Mabli’s Church on the evening of 4th September I am sure that you too were spellbound by the music which you heard. An audience of over 80 people came together to listen to Dylan Fowler and Gillian Stevens play an eclectic mixture of acoustic music featuring a wide range of instruments. The concert aimed to raise funds for the further development of the church facilities and succeeded in raising over £650. Special thanks go to Richard Sidwell and Penny Harding who sponsored this concert and of course a special thanks to all those who supported the event. Dylan and Gillian clearly enjoyed playing in such an intimate venue and commented on the excellent acoustics of the church. It is hoped to be able to hold more musical events in the church in the future.

What would you have done?

In a few weeks’ time it will be the time of year when people like to hear scary stories, so here is a real scary one. Llanvapley Church is open most days for visitors and is locked every night. The opening and closing of the church is shared between the two churchwardens and it isn’t an onerous burden. However, I sometimes forget to close the church before it goes dark and I have to go across in the dark through the quiet churchyard. One cold and rainy night in July (one of many!) I had been out for the evening and I suddenly remembered at five minutes to midnight that the church was still open, so I made the decision to go across and lock up. As I entered the darkened church I had a fancy to look at the visitors’ book. I walked towards the font and shone my head torch on the book and then I heard a sound! I froze. From the far end of the church came a voice which simply said “Hello”. In the next second I imagined all sorts of things then I decided to walk towards the sound rather than run out. By this stage my voice was very shaky but I made sure that whoever it was knew I was there. To my amazement the voice turned out to belong to a young girl who was taking shelter in the church with two friends. I asked them what they were doing and they explained they were on pilgrimage from Gloucester to St David’s and had taken shelter in the church when it was going dark. They seemed just as surprised to see me as I was to see them. I didn’t think it was right to turn them out so I told them that they were welcome to stay. The next morning the builders were equally surprised when they arrived at 8.30 a.m. to find three sleeping bags arranged in the chancel. I came over with some cups of tea which they appreciated before they packed up and made their way up the hill towards Abergavenny. I now always make sure I lock up before it goes dark, and I always call out when I go in the church just in case……
The Church Warden

Rededication of the church

On Sunday 31 May at 11.00am, the Bishop of Monmouth will preside over a rededication service, and our MP David Davies will read a lesson.

The open evening on Friday 22 May and the open morning on Saturday 23 May proved to be a success with more than 20 people visiting the church to see what has been achieved.  There were lots of ideas for how the church might be used now that it has been renovated.