Plans have been lodged to convert well-known and nationally significant church buildings in Newtown into homes and tourism accommodation - but there could be bodies buried underneath the pulpit.

The Newtown United Reformed Church and School House located on the corners of Park Street and New Church Street closed in July 2016 and has been left empty and shown signs of decay during the seven years since it was sold.

An application has now been submitted to Powys County Council by Mr and Mrs P Davies, of Caersws, to "bring life back" into the Grade II-listed buildings which they say are no longer viable in their current use "due to changing times", and with no firm offers to bring the buildings back to use.

If the plans are given the go-ahead by council planners, the developer will have to consider removing bodies buried underneath the pulpit. Historical records, including a plaque inside the church, show that there could be remains of a former church minister and his wife underneath the floorboards.



County Times: The impressive organ will remain inside the church but there could be bodies buried beneath the pulpit.The impressive organ will remain inside the church but there could be bodies buried beneath the pulpit. (Image: Trysor)

County Times: The church has been showing signs of decay since it closed in 2016.The church has been showing signs of decay since it closed in 2016. (Image: Trysor)

Plans appear to show that the church building will be split into two three-storey tourism accommodation units which would include a large reception room, kitchen-diner area, lounge, balcony and five en-suite bedrooms in each property.

Internal fittings such as the pews and pulpit will be removed but the impressive organ and large stained-glass window will remain in place.

The separate schoolhouse building facing St David’s House will be divided into two two-storey homes.

The larger home includes three bedrooms, two of which will have an en-suite and dressing room; an open plan kitchen, diner and lounge; snug, shower room and utility.

The home next-door includes a ground floor kitchen-diner, lounge and utility, with two en-suite bedrooms on the first floor.

County Times: The schoolhouse would be converted into two homes.The schoolhouse would be converted into two homes. (Image: Google Street View)

The Gothic-style church and schoolhouse were built a few years apart in the 1870s and 1880s after the congregation, local businesses and donors raised more than half the estimated cost of £3,000 to build a large enough church to seat 400 worshippers on a site that was described at the time in the Newtown and Welshpool Express newspaper as an “eyesore, if not positively offensive to all who have an idea of what is required in the centre of a large and flourishing town".

A time capsule, which included autographs of the minister and seven deacons, was sealed inside the foundation stone which was laid at the site following a special service at the nearby Baptist Church in September 1876.

Reverend George Lewis, a “highly esteemed” pastor and theological college president who preached at congregational churches in Wrexham, Llanfyllin and Newtown died in 1822. Reverend Lewis and his wife Jane's remains are believed to have been moved from a previous church and reburied.

A heritage impact assessment suggests that there could be archaeological features below the church incidents remains of buildings on the plot before the church was built and also potential medieval remains.

Comments for the application 24/0126/FUL can be submitted online or to