Madley, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

It’s enormous! A cruciform Norman church was built on the site of earlier work that marked the birthplace of St Dyfrig/Dubricius, a place of pilgrimage from the 6th century on; and that Norman church was then much enlarged in two campaigns, the last part being the wonderful polygonal apse which floods the east end with light. The south porch is a puzzle but Pevsner confidently tells us that it began life as the Norman church’s south transept, though I think an upper floor must have been added in the ?fifteenth century, and then lost, and the roofline is much disturbed.

The unusual dedication reflects the importance of the church as a later pilgrimage site, by then to Our Lady of Madley, who must have been enshrined in the striking crypt under the chancel, made even more striking by the modern artwork installed when it was rescued from use as a coal cellar.

There is much more to see – wall-paintings, an enclosed private pew, a fine pulpit, but I leave you with a “proper letter” written by the producer of Songs of Praise to the then vicar (I thought at first it was a fag dangling from his fingers) after the programme was filmed at Madley in 1964. I suspect that a short email suffices now.