Remnants of Brecon Priory
Most of the thirteenth-century church remains and is incorporated within Brecon Cathedral.
The medieval church was cruciform in design with a central tower and a great Rood Screen at the crossing which became the focus of pilgrimage and healing in the later Middle Ages. This bore the figure of the crucified Christ flanked by St John and the Virgin Mary, the two thieves crucified alongside Christ and the four Evangelists.
The church served both the monks and the laity for whilst the monks occupied the chancel in the east end the nave served as the parish church. The chancel and the chapels in the north and south transepts were built in the Early English Gothic style; the nave was built later, in the fourteenth century. A stairway in the south transept may be a remnant of the nightstairs that led to the monks’ dormitory and provided sheltered access to the choir for the celebration of the Night Office.
There are other surviving relics of the former priory church such as a piece of the fourteenth-century reredos that is now set in the wall of the chancel; a large twelfth-century cresset stone that held oil for thirty candles (and is the largest of its kind in Britain); and the largest Norman font in the country. This carved font dates from the late twelfth century and depicts three Green Men, an eagle, a fish, scorpion and the Tree of Life.
Little survives of the conventual buildings which stood to the south of the church. Remnants of the medieval walls and roofs are preserved in the vestries and deanery (formerly the east range), the clergy house, the Heritage Centre and the Diocesan Centre.
Monastic sites related to this articleBrecon, Powys(Priory)