Penrhos Village News

Open gardens raise £7,000 for great causes

Penrhos is beautiful, nestling in a magical bucolic setting. A village blessed with a plethora of exceptional gardens, some of which are opened periodically under the National Garden Scheme. Can any other Welsh village boast more? You probably have noticed all those bright yellow signs scattered around the lanes during the Spring and Summer, tempting you down previously unnoticed rabbit holes. Do you feel drawn to follow them when trudging off for your weekend trip to Lidl or Waitrose? It has got to be better than wrestling with that trolley with petulant wheels.

Rush hour in Penrhos came with a vengeance on two glorious weekends in April and May. The sun shone and the usual five cars, a tractor and the school bus were replaced with 700 hungry garden lovers (or the partners of garden lovers persuaded to spend an afternoon in the great outdoors lured by the promise of cake).

Woodlands Farm gardens, created from scratch by Craig and supported brilliantly by Helen (the Amazon) and Sue (from Church View), The Old Vicarage gardens, superbly maintained by the quietly effective Hartley and Tandderwen woodland gardens, our star new entry, transformed by Mat and Andrea all opened this year to an eager public.

A stunning £7,000 was raised for great causes including the NGS sponsored charities, such as Macmillan and Marie Curie; the Monmouth and District Foodbank; our very own St. Cadoc’s church in Penrhos; and to start a fund to buy a defibrillator for the village.

A huge thank you from the garden owners to all those whom supported these two very successful weekends.

Village gardens open for charity and good causes

Three Penrhos gardens are opening together in May under the National Garden Scheme.

Do join in and support us on Saturday, 13 and Sunday, 14 May between 2 and 6pm.

Adults £6.50 and children free.

Details available on the NGS website:

The Old Vicarage

Woodlands Farm


Proceeds from the teas will go towards the church restoration or funding the purchase of a village defibrillator.

Church Update

A meeting took place in December 2016 about the future of the church.

Summary of meeting

A village meeting was held at Woodlands Farm Barn on 10 December 2016 to discuss the future of St Cadoc’s Church, Penrhos and its urgent need for repair.

There was a good attendance (23 attendees) including Heidi, our vicar. Peter Cobb chaired the meeting supported by Geoff Adams and Charles Horsfield. The agenda covered a wide range of issues associated with the church and in brief the conclusions from the meeting included the following:

  • We have funds allocated from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the development phase (obtaining costed works schedules for the repair, various surveys and a faculty from the Church in Wales ahead of repair works commencing). The HLF funding for carrying out the works and other specific items will not be made available unless the development phase is signed off by the HLF and alternative uses for the church are established (which will need support from the community).
  • The results of the Penrhos Questionnaire were instrumental in our obtaining the funding allocation from the HLF, which included proposals for alternative uses for the church in addition to religious worship.
  • Unanimous support was given to pursuing the pre-construction phase of the project which will be largely funded by the HLF with additional funding from us.
  • Once approved by the HLF the repair works will be funded up to 74% by the Heritage Lottery Fund, based on our initial estimates. Part of the balance, about £5,000, will be funded from donations and fund raising. The meeting confirmed unanimous support for this.
  • The meeting approved creating an exhibition in the church covering its history and restoration including providing windows into the inner workings of the roof space.
  • The meeting approved in principle the installation of wifi in the church and a telecom mast in the church tower which would be funded from existing funds or further donations. This will need further investigation.
  • The meeting approved the installation of a ramp, hearing loop and timed lock to give better access to the church.
  • The meeting approved the removal of the Leylandii, Cypress firs and other non indigenous trees as they are too big for the space and the foundations of the church may be being impacted. Expert advice to be sought to establish whether or not they (together with the copper beech) are affecting the church’s foundations.The Yews must be preserved.
  • The meeting approved the installation of a glass and wood screen with folding doors between the nave and the chancel to make the space more versatile. This will not be funded by the HLF.
  • The meeting unanimously approved the permanent removal of the pews (many of which are in poor repair) and replacing them with attractive chairs, subject to the obtaining of a faculty from the Church in Wales.
  • Alternative uses were considered for the church to support our Lottery funding application. The meeting approved the following uses:
  • As a play area/group and coffee morning social group  for mothers and children;
  • As a book/reading club;
  • As a gardening club;
  • As a Yoga and Jive club; and
  • As a walking/dog walking club
  • The proposal for alternative uses was a key element in our success in being allocated Lottery funding. Alex Glanville (head of property services within the Representative Body of the Church in Wales) has proposed that we incorporate a “glamping” pod in the vestry of the church (with a kitchenette, shower and outside lavatory). This would be funded by the Church in Wales. This was approved by the meeting.

Generous pledges have been made to the church fund. If there are any further pledges that have not been made to date, please let one of the church committee members know.

Full minutes of the meeting are available on request from one of the committee members.

Peter Cobb (chair)

Geoff Adams

Charles Horsfield

Bonnie Janes

Pip Rumsey (warden)

Posted on: Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Church update

March 2016 – Penrhos Church First Stage of Repair

An Application has been made to the Diocesan Office for permission to remove the bird debris from within the roof void and to prop up the rafters and repair some of the stone tiles that have slipped and then to cover the holes in the wall plate with mesh to prevent further ingress by the birds.

At the same time further panels will be opened up in the ceiling to ascertain the exact extent of the work will be necessary to secure the roof and to enable the nave to be brought back into use and to repair the internal wall plate and the ceiling areas.

This work which will be quite extensive will be funded hopefully by a grant From the Heritage Lottery Fund but they will not fund the full cost of the work so it will be necessary for us to raise money locally to fund the difference.

Until the further panels have been opened up it is not possible to get an accurate cost of the work and we’re hoping that certain other repairs might well be included within the application depending on the cost of the necessary work to the nave.

The funding for the removal of the bird debris and the propping up and repair of tiles has been secured together with the work to cover the holes in the wall plate.

We will have to fund the opening up of the panels from our own resources.

November 2015

The Representative Body of the Church in Wales has kindly confirmed that it will fund the Urgent Repair Work which is needed before we can move on to the next stage. The work that they are funding involves the removal of Bird /other debris in the space between the roof tiles and the inner ceiling which is a large contributing factor to the decay and beetle infestation that has led to the rafters and inner framework that supports the ceiling rotting. There is a “hole” in the outer wall plate which needs to be addressed within this work  We may have to contribute  to the work which the RBOCW are funding , since sensibly the work of replacing  the outer wall plate might well be  carried out at the same time as the work that they are funding.
We are currently in discussion with RBOCW , The Diocesan Office and the Consulting Engineers.

July 2015

Managing expectations is an important skill in so many walks of life. It applies as much to our church restoration as to other situations we encounter. Having had the nave of our church condemned by our advisers as unfit for use and terrifying telephone number cost estimates of repair, we started to become accustomed to the magnitude of the problem. We were ready for all eventualities.

Roll the clock forward to late Spring 2015 and following further more detailed investigation by engineers, funded by the Church in Wales, we now have access to cross sectional plans of St Cadoc’s church showing all the defects in three dimensional glory and we also have a clearer idea of the decay that needs addressing.

Although still sizeable: from vermin infestation to areas of material rot, the damage is considerably less disastrous than we were first led to believe. The nave roof, although in need of repair, is not immediately at risk of collapse and with relatively minor repair work can be made sufficiently safe for the nave to be reopened.

The cost of essential repairs, sufficient to arrest further decay, is somewhere between £50,000 and £100,000 – not the gargantuan sums first suggested by the experts, and on which we relied when preparing the Penrhos Questionnaire.

The committee is pleased to confirm that although we do need to fund some major works, the nave should be capable of being used again once essential safety works are carried out (hopefully at the Church in Wales’ cost) and the scale of funds needed to carry out other essential repairs is less unaffordable than originally feared.

Assuming grants are available, which is yet to be established, and which will be subject to our community matching grants pound for pound, we may collectively need to raise up to £50,000. Although a very large sum, it is on a different scale to the £500,000 plus we were originally led to believe was required.

So what next?

We need to:

  • carry out the safety works to the nave to enable it to be reopened, and
  • turn the various elements of essential repairs into a schedule of works, costed and phased, so that as funds become available we can get the repair works under way.

Once the phases and their costs are clearer and the quantum of grants established (for which the Penrhos Questionnaire results are essential), we will need to ask as many of you as are willing to do so to get involved. This will either be by making donations (or encouraging others to make donations), or pledging funds by way of Gift Aid or by hosting or getting involved with events that will raise money for the essential repairs. The Penrhos Questionnaire revealed a great willingness from the village to participate in this.

All help will be gratefully received and any ideas for fund raising please share with the committee. We really want to make this an opportunity to bring our community together and to raise enough money to preserve St Cadoc’s for future generations.

The use of the chancel, whilst the nave has been out of action, as a more intimate place of worship has been hugely successful, so much so that it is worth our considering installing doors between the nave and the chancel that can be closed for the smaller congregation at Sunday worship and kept open for larger events, such as the harvest supper, the carol service, weddings, baptisms and funerals and, of course, other wider community uses. This will also need to be costed.

Although much needs to be done to restore our beautiful church, the committee hopes you will agree that the enormity of the task does not feel so daunting.

More to follow…

St. Cadoc’s church committee
Geoff Adams (chair)
Peter Cobb
Charles Horsfield
Bonnie Janes
Pip Rumsey

Posted on: Saturday, 26 March 2016

Autumn 2015 in Penrhos

Penrhos is well known for its beautiful scenery, changing seasons, and changeable weather.  It is surprising how quickly the environment can change from a calm sunny day to a drenching squall, with little or no warning. Many a short walk has ended in a thorough drenching. These photographs were taken on the 13th November 2015, and clearly show how our autumn scenery can change within a matter of minutes. D

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Posted on: Monday, 30 November 2015