A 13th Century church, which was dismantled and rebuilt 50 miles away from its original location, was officially opened by the Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday. St Teilo's Church, from Pontarddulais near Swansea, has been restored to recreate its appearance in 1520 at the National History Museum, St Fagans. Dr Williams said the church's restoration was an "amazing achievement" and a "real triumph for the country". The archbishop, who comes from Swansea, said the restoration was also part of the process of discovering more about Wales' history in the Middle Ages. "Our history didn't just begin when they discovered coal, our history didn't end when the Romans left. There's a long period in-between, when we were part of Europe and a big flourishing culture," said the archbishop. First Minister Rhodri Morgan, who also attended the ceremony, said: "I have watched the incredible skills of the restoration team that have reconstructed the building and saved the frescoes. "This is a stunning addition to the treasure trove of Welsh history contained in St Fagans." The museum has a number of buildings, representing Wales through the ages, but this was one of its most ambitious projects. Curator Gerallt Nash said: "Before we actually started the work of dismantling the building, we carried out a rescue operation to uncover what was hidden away beneath layer upon layers of lime wash. "That was when we found the amazing series of wall paintings here." The discovery of a series 16th century wall paintings influenced the decision to reconstruct the church as it would have looked in the 16th century - prior to the Reformation. Specialist craftsmen used traditional methods to build what, according to the museum, is the UK's first authentic reconstruction of a medieval masonry-built church. It contains all the elements of a late medieval Catholic church, including a rood screen and a loft, elaborately carved from oak. The church opens to the public today. Source: National History Museum
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