ST ISSUI, PATRICK), BRECKNOCK
There is remote, and then there is very remote. Turn north off the A465 at Llanfihangel, just north of Abergavenny, and you are on a back road; after a couple of miles and two more turns, you are climbing steeply into the foothills of the Black Mountains on a single-tracked road. Eventually you reach the remote spot where Patricio church stands, folded around by hills.
The lych gate is less than a century old, but looks as if it has always been part of the scene. Push open the church door to find about the most perfectly 'unspoilt' interior you are likely to see. All is stillness. On the north wall, rustic Royal Arms, pre-Union with Scotland, flanked by black letter texts; on one side the Creed, on the other Romans 13.1, 'Let
every soul subject himself to the powers from on high.' Facing these is a splendid, if restored, Decalogue. The west wall has an even earlier painting of a skeleton.
But the great treasure of Patricio is the medieval screen and loft, and in front of it, flanking the arch, two medieval stone altars still in place. A separate western chapel, perhaps earlier, contains another altar with its medievalmensa, to its side a modern statue of St Issui. Until 1908, Patricio church had never been restored, and its south wall was slipping away.
It was saved by W.D. Caroe in a most sensitive restoration.
Very much in the Southern Marches, Patricio church survives to delight us, light years away from the business of CofE pic (and not only because it is just over the border into Wales).
Consider the words of Psalm 121: Twill lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.' Pray for the work of Credo Cymru and for its members.
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