By 2005 the Old Schoolroom at St Canna’s Church, built in the 1800’s, had fallen into a severe state of disrepair. Attempts were made to obtain grants to restore the building but were unsuccessful.
In 2008 the building had deteriorated further, the roof was leaking and the ceiling had come down in places, the floor was rotten and unsafe and the main structure was subsiding with the walls at the east end tearing away from the main church. The issue was to either restore or demolish the building. The then incumbent asked volunteers to make a final attempt to obtain a grant for restoration. The state of the building can be gathered from this photo
After much hard work by a small team a substantial grant was obtained from CFAP ( a Community Fund from the Welsh Government) with additional support from the Big Lottery, the Church in Wales and local people, on the understanding that the building should become a community meeting point, a role which , when proposed, had proved popular with all the local residents.
During the groundwork several medieval skeletons were uncovered and removed for analysis by the local Archaeological Trust. In 2014 these were returned and reinterred. While the painstaking excavations delayed the work it was fascinating to later learn more about such old residents of Llangan who all seemed to have lived hard and short lives with evidence of poor diets, broken bones and arthritis.
The physical results of the restoration can be seen easily by visiting the Old Schoolroom. Of particular note are the disabled access and new pathways and the disabled toilet, (future proofed as a potential wet room in case a shower is ever needed!). Less obvious but very ‘green’ is the rainwater harvesting and biosewage system. The building is so well insulated that it only requires heating for four months of the year and, indeed can get so hot when full even in the winter that the doors need to be opened for ventilation. The restoration has even won an architectural award!
We are pleased that the full potential of the room is being realised in creating a richer and more
welcoming community spirit.
The more recent development of the Churchyard has seen the children of Llangan School planting bulbs and the whole North area has been landscaped to improve access and open up the outstanding views across the Valley. Seating is being provided so everyone can enjoy the tranquillity of the grounds and wonderful views of St Mary Hill Church.