Village church plans chapel of remembrance to honour soldiers who died in the First and Second World Wars
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
The stories of the soldiers from a Monmouthshire village who died in the First and Second World Wars could soon be enshrined in a chapel of remembrance.
Planning permission has been granted to rebuild a derelict stone shed in the churchyard of St Teilo’s Church in Llantilio Pertholey, near Abergavenny, into a chapel of remembrance.
More than £32,000 has been raised, towards a target of £65,000, for the project which includes rebuilding the derelict stone building to incorporate it into the new structure which will include a glass door and windows.
A preaching cross in the churchyard is dedicated to those who died during the two world wars, and each year on Remembrance Sunday the community comes together to hear the names of those on the memorial read out.
Jessica Graham, churchwarden at St Teilo’s, began researching the stories behind the names on the memorial, collecting letters they had sent home and photos.
The plan for a chapel of remembrance aims to ensure those stories are not lost.
“With a derelict building in the churchyard the idea was born to transform it into a small chapel of remembrance where these men’s stories could be shared with the rest of the community,” Ms Graham said.
“It would be a valuable resource for our local primary school on the social history of our area.
“It would also mean that these men would no longer be just names on a wall.”
The stories which are planned to be featured include a father and son – William and Reginald Pritchard – who died on the same day in May 1916.
The chapel will include a display board featuring photos and information about some of the men who died.
Father Julian Gray, priest in charge at St Teilo’s Church, said the First World War had a big impact on the community.
“Mardy at that time was a small place,” he said.
“To lose that many young men, you can’t imagine the blow that it must have been to the community.”
The project is one of several which is helping to transform the churchyard at St Teilo’s Church.
Other improvements have seen a riverside walk introduced to celebrate the wildlife and nature surrounding the church, and a wildflower walk which uses flowers with biblical names to provide a visual journey through the Bible.
The planned chapel will also provide a place for people to go when the church is closed, and it is intended to serve the whole community.
Father Gray added: “It’s a really special place and we want to open it up to make it more inviting, to make it a place where people can come and visit.
“We want it to be something for the whole community, not just for our congregation, not just for Christians, for all faiths.
“It will be open to everybody to use as a quiet space for reflection.”