St. Beuno lived at the end of the 6th and beginning of 7th century and was connected by birth with the Princes of Powys. He prepared for the priesthood in Gwent and was given Berriew on the death of his father by Maun, the son of Prince Brochwel.
It is probable that Beuno proclaimed the Gospel at Maen Beuno (a monolith ) in Dyffryn Lane about a mile from the site of this church.
Beuno seems to have remained in Powys for some years before crossing the Berwyns into the Dee Valley. From here he moved northwards to Holywell, where his name is associated with the miraculous story of his niece, St. Winifred.
The final phase of his life and ministry was in the Lleyn peninsula at Clynnog Fawr.
He is said to have died on Low Sunday in 642 and is buried in his church at Clynnog Fawr. The importance and extent of his missionary zeal is indicated by the fact that there are more churches in Wales dedicated to him than any other single saint.
There has been a Church on this site since the time of St. Beuno but the first building for which we have details is the one pulled down in 1802.
‘The Parish Church, Berriew is a very ancient structure and is so greatly decayed in every part that the inhabitants cannot report there to hear Divine Service without endangering their lives.’
The church which replaced it had a large nave, with galleries on both sides and at the west end. The principal entrance was at the west end under the tower, which led into the Baptistry.
In 1875 the Architect Edward Haycock of Shrewsbury was invited to ‘reconstruct’ the Church. This was financed by subscription and special donations resulting in a complete rebuilding.
North and south aisles were introduced, the west door being replaced by a window, north and south porches added, and all the windows replaced by ‘gothic’ windows with traceried heads.
There is no medieval glass, the nave windows are all clear glass.
The east window is the earliest stained glass window (1859) by Hardman. It shows the Transfiguration, with two side panels representing the Good Samaritan and Christ blessing the children, and a Christ in Majesty in the tracery. The window is to the memory of John Winder Lyon Winder.
On the south side of the chancel there is a small window (1876) to the memory of the Revd. R.E.Price, curate-in-charge of the parish for over 15 years.
The window in the west wall is to the memory of Major William Corbett-Winder of Vaynor 1907.
This fine carved oak reredos, designed by F.R.Kempson and carved by Earp, has as its central subject the ‘Appearance of the Risen Lord’ to His disciples at the sea of Tiberias (Feed my Sheep) and flanked by the figures of four Celtic saints.
(i) Gwenfrewi (Winifred) with royal crown, a plain cope-like cloak, with Celtic ornament, sword of martyrdom in left hand, model of her well in right hand.
(ii) Beuno patron saint of this church, represented as a great missionary preacher, with Celtic tonsure, his hand holding a crucifix, dressed in monastic style.
(iii) Asaph in his full pontificals, in the attitude of benediction, his crown enriched with Celtic ornament.
(iv) Melangell (Monecella) represented as an abbess, with a crouching hare at her feet.
The Reredos was given by the Misses Howell of Rhiwport in 1896.
The two outstanding ones are the fine relief bust of white marble in the chancel to the memory of William Owen of Glansevern by E.H.Bailey and a larger early nineteenth century one to the Glansevern family.
The fine peal of six bells, the earliest dating back to 1706, were augmented by two additional bells by gift in 1962.
A glacial boulder by the path to the lych-gate marks the meeting point of three of the 15 townships in the parish, Berriew, Cil and Faenor Issa (Lower Vaynor).
The lych-gate was erected as a memorial to those who fell in the Great War 1914-1918. The names of those who fell in the Second World War 1939-1945 were added later.
© Berriew Parish Church