People have worshipped at Clodock for 1500 years. A church was first built about 500AD as a shrine to St Clydawg, King of Ewias, who was murdered by a rival for a lady’s hand, who obviously thought in a confusedly masculine kind of way that this would be the pathway to her heart. At Clydawg’s funeral, the oxen pulling the cart refused to cross the River Monnow and so he was buried where they stopped. That night a column of fire observed to be rising from his grave was sufficient for the order to be given for an oratory to be built there.
The earliest part of the present church is the 12th century nave and it has been gradually added to over the centuries. But crucially, despite extensive work in the 17th century, it has not been subjected to the wholesale restoration that fundamentally altered so many churches, especially in the Victorian age. As a result, all manner of ecclesiastical features that would not have survived such a transmogrification have remained in place. Most obvious is the triple decker pulpit – once a feature of so many churches – with the pulpit with sounding boarding, the stall for the Vicar and one for the Parish Clerk. There is also a Laudian – or three-sided – communion rail and a West Gallery, designed to accommodate the village orchestra and choir.
The shrine of St Clydawg is a perfect example of an organic church, one which has developed and grown and continues to do so.