Partrishow Church, Powys: The church with a fresco of Death that can’t be painted over

A well with healing powers and a mysterious fresco mark Partrishow Church apart from the usual.

Some five miles from Abergavenny, gateway to the Brecon Beacons, sits the remote oddity of 14th-century Partrishow Church, built on the site of a 6th-century hermit’s abode.

The waters of St Ishow’s well have long been thought to possess healing powers and the little church is so far off the beaten track that its treasures remained untouched during the Reformation.

St Issui’s holy well (Ffynnon Ishow) on the hillside above the Nant Mair stream, Partrishow, Powys.

They include a 15th-century screen and loft of Irish bog oak, carved with dragons and saints, and a font a few hundred years older still with an inscription that translates as ‘Menhir made me in the time of Genillin’, a phrase that conjures Tolkien’s Middle-earth. A fresco depicting Death or Time is said to re-emerge spookily after every attempt to whitewash over it.

The medieval painting of Time (or Death) with an hourglass, scythe and spade in Patricio (Partrishow) church of St Issui, Powys.

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