Powys Digital History Project 

Stephen W.Williams 4

Williams was involved in the 19th church renovation and rebuilding, which has since become a contentious issue. While it is certainly true that a great many of Mid Wales' parish churches were becoming seriously dilapidated, many commentators have come to feel that the reconstruction often destroyed humble local traditions along the way.
Williams declared himself to be a cautious restorer alert to the possibilities of desecration, but not all agree to his success in this regard.


County Archives

Newbridge churchAmong the churches he completely rebuilt were Llanyre, Llanbadarn Fawr and Llanddewi Ystradenni parish churches in Radnorshire. He restored parish churches at Llanhamlach, Llanfigan and Llanafan Fawr in Breconshire. He was also responsible for the completely new All Saints church in the Decorated style at Newbridge on Wye, for which he built his only lofty spire.

Williams also built the small chapel of ease at Nantgwyllt in the Elan Valley, which was needed to replace the older building lost under the waters of the reservoir.

Public Buildings
Williams was appointed architect to the Rhayader Union (he was already serving as the Union's Inspector of Nuisances) to build the new Rhayader workhouse which opened in 1879. (See pages on Care of the Poor).
Among the schools he built were the village school at Trefeglwys and the intermediate school at Builth.

The new house
and offices in
South Street,

Powys County Archives

Architect's drawing of Penralley 
  Penralley todayWith the great expansion of his work due to the huge Elan Valley project he felt he needed new offices of his own. He built new premises and a house for himself in 1893 on the site of the Old Penralley Cottage in South Street, Rhayader. His wife helped with ideas for interiors and the building (seen here in 1999) carries his monogram.
As well as his previously mentioned work at Llysdinam and Doldowlod, Williams undertook extensive alterations at Lwynbarried Hall in Nantmel parish, the home of the Middleton Evans family which like him had been closely involved with the development of Llandrindod Wells.
In 1886 he built Brynwern House near Newbridge-on-Wye. Some aspects of design in this house he was to develop further in Buckland in Breconshire, the house of which he is said to have been most proud.
 This was the family home of J.P.W. Gwynne Holford who had commissioned his work on the church at Llansantffraed. The house was completed in 1898 just a year before his death.

Illustration of
Buckland from
The Builder

County Archives

In the last year of his life he served as Sheriff of Radnorshire and Colonel of the Battalion of the Volunteers, but the cost of all the energy he had expended on his very many projects over the years was a breakdown in health which cut short his official duties.
Perhaps he had been involved in too many projects as there seems to have been some resentment of his many appointments. Despite this he had a tremendous influence on public life in Radnorshire and beyond. He died on 11th December 1899.
There are 4 pages on Stephen William Williams. Use the box links below to view the other pages.