Heritage Day !

On June 22, St Illtyd's Church in Llanhilleth will host groups including Gwent Archives, Gwent Family history society, Blaenau Gwent Heritage forum, Aberystruth History and Archaeology Society, plus much more.

The event will be held between 10am and 4pm - so make sure you make note in your diary.

Christmas Concert 2018 - Friday 7th

 December, starting at 7pm.

Christmas Concert 2017 - Friday 8th December 7pm

Everyone Have a Go at Bell Ringing Every New Years day at Noon

Winter Opening

We don't open up every Sunday in the winter months, but if you want to visit get in touch and a volunteer will open up for you

Summer Opening

The "Old Church" is open in the summer between Easter and the End of August Sunday between 14:30 - 16:30

We would love to meet you, so please get in touch beforehand if you are making a special trip to St Illtyd

Grass freshly cut at St Illtyd

Drop us an email to friends@illtyd.co.uk if you would like us to open up for you on another occasion.

and become our friend on


Dates for your Diary

Christmas Concert 2016 - Friday 9th December

Everyone Have a Go at Bell Ringing Every New Years day at Noon

On the mountain road between Pontypool and Aberbeeg, set your sat nav to NP13 2AY  or call 01495 320367


Open every Sunday afternoon from Easter - end August  2:30 - 4.30 p.m.

Some dates for your diary...

Everyone Have a Go at Bell Ringing Every New Years day at Noon

March 2015 - Good News at St Illtyd

Thanks to grants from

Silent Valley Environmental trust


Garfield Weston

and project management from


We were able get the pointing on the tower redone, so its now watertight again.

New pointing on the tower at St illtyd

Thanks to the contractors

For all their efforts


pen and ink sketch of the Old Church in Llanhilleth by W V  Jenkins in June 1930.

Pen and Ink sketch of the "Old Church c 1930 by W V Jenkins

Kindly donated by a John Nash from Australia who says "The Artist WV Jenkins was a friend of my father, Jack Nash who was born in Brynmawr and spent his early years in Six Bells before moving to Surrey in the 30s. He lived at 20 Upper Arrael St."

 The St Illtyd Christmas Service 2014 will be at 7.00pm 12th December

St Illtyd Christmas Service 2013

Christmas Concert Friday 13th  December at 7.00pm.

Come and Join the celebration, Mince Pies provided by M&S, plenty of carols to join in with.

St illtyd Christmas Concert 2013


Everyone have a go bell ringing noon on new years day


Dont forget Franks Guided walks

June Heritage Walks


An Evening Ramble (St Illtyd’s and Cwm Cyffin)



Date: Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Time: 7.00 pm – 9.00pm

Cost: Free

Starting/Finishing Point – St Illtyd’s Church, Brynithel

Distance: 3 miles

Leader: Frank Olding

Booking: 07971 081647 (Frank Olding) or 07968 472812 (Alyson Tippings)


This gentle ramble walk will look at the medieval landscape around St. Illtyd’s church and nearby Cwm Cyffin.  It will also look at industrial archaeology associated with the growth of the coal industry in the local area.


Walking boots, waterproofs essential.

Diamond Jubilee Bonfire 4 June 2012

A great collaboration between the "Brynithel Activities Group" and Friends of St Illtyd resulted in huge number of people working hard together to create a great night. Congratulations to all.

Much of Abertillery had a great view of the Jubilee Bonfire

Christmas Concert 2011

** St Illtyd Event News **

2011 Christmas Carol Concert

The Christmas Tree at St Illtyd last year

 Friday the 9th at 7.00 sharp

There should be mince pies donated by M&S, The Noteworthy Singers,  Abertillery & District Town Band and all the carols you can sing !

On the mountain road between Pontypool and Aberbeeg, set your sat nav to NP13 2AY  or call 01495 320367


Open every Sunday afternoon from Easter - end August  2:30 - 4.30 p.m.

Some dates for your diary...

Everyone Have a Go at Bell Ringing Every New Years day at Noon


Art Exibition



Art Exhibition

 Saturday 27th, Sunday 28th and August Bank Holiday Monday 29th August 2011

Late morning 11:00-13:00 hrs

Afternoon 14:00-16:00 hrs

Early Evening 18:00 - 20:00 hrs

 19:00 hrs

On the mountain road between Pontypool and Aberbeeg, set your sat nav to NP13 2AY  or call 01495 320367



See some of last years heritage day on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNFhCMkq81g

"A small but ancient gothic building."

Historic Background

This quaint deconsecrated church is the oldest building in north-west Gwent, and the site on which it stands was no doubt utilised before Christianity came to Britain. Tradition has it that the first Church on the site was a wooden structure built in the fifth century. However, the first written reference to the Church comes from a ninth/tenth century poem. This date ties in with current archaeological thinking which acknowledges the curvilinear church yard as indicative of the pre-Norman period. The existing stone font is believed to be contemporary to this phase. The Church was rebuilt by the Cistercian Monks (an order whose economy relied on sheep farming) in the late twelfth century and much of the fabric of the present building dates to that period. The Church was originally dedicated to Hylledd but why the dedication was altered has yet to be discovered. The Church which is a Grade II listed building underwent some drastic changes in the mid 19th Century when the bell tower was erected and the attractive cradle ceiling was constructed. A second period of renovation followed in 1891 when the original tombstone floor was replaced with intricately patterned tiles.

Recent History

The Church remained in service until 1957 when it was closed due to opencast coal working in the vicinity. When this came to an end in 1962 it was found that the building had badly decayed. The Church in Wales decided to close the Church permanently because of the poor state of repair and dwindling attendances. The building passed into private ownership in 1984. The Borough Council became increasingly concerned with the state of the Church and subsequently used statutory powers to acquire it.

The Renovation The Borough urgently set about a programme of restoration, with financial assistance from Cadw. Specialist architects and builders were employed to carry out the work, and trained archaeologists were brought in to excavate the floor of the Church. This work resulted in the discovery of a brick-built underfloor heating duct (1890); a low stone wall (possibly the base of a rood screen); parts of two inscribed grave stones; a quantity of disarticulated human bones and a number of undisturbed graves two of which were fully excavated (the others were buried at a depth which would not be disturbed by the new floor). All human remains were reburied within the Churchyard. Once the excavation was complete, the renovation work began. It was decided to use traditional methods and materials wherever possible, and when more modern techniques had to be used they were incorporated into the framework of the building in the most unobtrusive manner possible. One example of this is a concrete girdle inserted within the existing fabric of the building to stop the weight of the roof from forcing the walls apart. Now the Church is a focal point for visitors to this, one of the most interesting and intriguing areas of the Borough: for the Church is only part of what is on offer.

St Illtyd, The village

To the south-west of this site is an ancient mound which is on private land but can be viewed from the road. Many theories and stories have evolved to explain its existence; some say it is a Norman motte, others that it is the grave of a warrior or a beacon mound. One legend accredits it to local giant named Ithel who was in the area collecting stones in his apron with which to build a residence at Llanhilleth. As he passed this site his apron strings broke and the stones tumbled to the ground forming the heap. At the rear of Castle Cottages are the remains of two buildings, one circular and one cruciform in shape. These were excavated by Trevor Lewis in the 1920's and he interpreted them as being fortified medieval buildings. The name given to these - Castell Taliorum, probably derived from Castel Tal y Rhun (the castle in front of the head). However, Archdeacon Coxe (1801) imagined the name as being indicative of a Roman fortification. No archaeological evidence has ever been found which supports this claim. Local legend does link the area to the Romans, claiming that they walked along the ridge to and from Caerleon during their attempts to subjugate the Welsh, but this has yet to be proved, or disproved for that matter. Whatever the truth of the above, there is no doubt that drovers have crossed the mountain near to this spot for many centuries, and their tracks form the basis of the many footpaths which explore the mountain spur.


Why not visit St Illtyd ?

The Friends open St. Illtyds to visitors on Sunday afternoons from Easter to the end of August between 2:30                   p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Please contact us in advance, if you are travelling a long distance to visit us, as very occasionally our team of volunteers are not able to cover one or both of a particular Sunday afternoon's sessions.

The building is also available as a venue for concerts and events.

Visits can be arranged for larger groups at other times by appointment.

Want to get in touch ?




+44 (0) 1495 320367

Sign our virtual guest book

or By Post:

The Friends of St Illtyd,


St Illtyd,




NP13 2AY.