Eastern Conwy Churches Survey
Church of St Michael , Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr
Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr in the county of Conwy. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SH9896749423.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16347 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.
St Michael's church lies a short distance from the village of Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr, about 10 miles to the south-west of Ruthin. The small and relatively simple building has a long history and on the basis of two blocked windows may have originated as
early as the 13thC. It was extended in the 15thC, and restoration occurred in 1853 and at the beginning of the 20thC. Inside there are only a few 17thC and 18thC wooden furnishings and fittings. The churchyard is partially curvilinear but contains nothing
of any significance to this study.
Nave claimed as 13thC on basis of two blocked slit windows. Wider chancel added in 15thC, probably when nave re-roofed. Some rebuilding in late 18thC. West end of nave extended at beginning of 20thC; east wall partly rebuilt though perhaps not as much as
originally intended (see below).
The porch has been claimed as 14thC, but Thomas attributed it to the rebuilding of 1853.
Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1986 publication The Buildings of Wales: Clwyd by Edward Hubbard
The origin of the church is unknown - it could be early medieval and its position beside Afon Alwen and the curvilinearity of the churchyard would support such a belief.
The Norwich Taxation of 1254 refers to 'Ecc'a de lanwihagel' and the Taxation of 1291 has 'Eccl'ia de Lanvihagel' at a value of œ4.
Part of the east end of the church was swept away by a flood in 1781 which rose to a height of over 8'. Round-headed windows probably date from its subsequent restoration.
In 1853 the west end and the bellcote were rebuilt, also the east window; the south porch may have been added too. When Glynne visited the site in 1867 he thought it looked like a new church, all the windows modern and a new belfry, and of 'rather poor
Gothic work'. There was open seating though this did not appear to be modern.
Restoration of 1901-2 was by Harold Hughes. Church was enlarged slightly to west, though this extension has also been attributed to 1853. Faculty of 1900 allowed for the demolition of the east wall and upper part of the west wall, and top courses of side
walls; also new windows were to be introduced in the east and west walls, reflooring, chancel to be raised with steps leading to it, plaster ceiling in chancel to be removed, new panelling around sanctuary and new altar table, and new seating. The
restoration, at a cost of œ700, was generally in keeping with the existing building.
West gallery restored in recent years, and the drainage trench around the exterior also recent.
Llanfihangel church has a nave, a slightly wider chancel and a south porch close to the south-west corner of the nave. A bellcote surmounts the west end. It is oriented north-west/south-east but for descriptive purposes 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted
here. Conventional directions are retained for the churchyard.
Fabrics: 'A' consists of small to medium-sized blocks and slabs of grey shale, some more regular than others, and randomly coursed; also some large pebble stones, presumably from river. Walls surface is rough, there are traces of render and/or limewash,
and in places heavy pointing.
'B' is of regular slabs of slatey shale, coursed.
'C' is as 'A' but large blocks of stone are included. Limewash remnants.
'D' is of slabs of shale.
Roof: slates, ornamental red clay ridge tiles. the nave roof is dated 1900 in patterned slates. Single aperture bellcote with pinnacle finial above it.
Drainage: drainage trench up to 1m wide and filled with gravel around all sides.
Nave. North wall: in 'A' except for westernmost 1.5m which is in 'B'. A single round-headed window with two lights and Y-tracery, all in wood except for the sill. Set at the junction of the nave and chancel.
East wall: not present.
South wall: all in 'A'. East of porch are two windows, round-headed, two lights with Y-tracery as on north side. Of two blocked slit windows visible internally, the more easterly can be seen on the outside. Beneath more westerly of the two main windows
is a projecting foundation course, its significance uncertain. West of porch the fabric is 'B' containing one broad lancet window, chamfered in grey shale.
West wall: all built in 'B', and the buttress supporting bellcote also in 'B'. High up in this buttress is a rectangular window with two small, cusped lights, all in mustard yellow freestone.
Chancel. General. In 'C'. Chancel marginally wider than nave (c.0.2m or so on both sides); this unusual feature assumed to be an extension, and generally believed to be contemporary with the 15thC or early 16thC arched-braced trusses.
North wall: large blocks of stone protrude at base of wall, probably no more than a foundation course. Slight batter to wall. No windows.
East wall: round-headed window of three lights, intersecting tracery, hoodmould with simple stops, and a relieving arch in shale blocks; dressings in dull buff freestone. Wall from sill level upwards has been rebuilt in masonry more like 'B' and in more
regular fashion. Some protruding foundation stones.
South wall: one window in buff freestone, of standard type seen in nave. To east of this is a blocked rectangular window. At eaves level two stone blocks act as corbels to support wall plate.
Porch. East wall: plain wall in 'A'.
South wall: two-centred arch turned in shale edge stones, with jambs in slate exhibiting slight chamfer. Hinges for former gates. Above arch, fabric is 'D'.
Porch. General. Stone slab floor incorporates old gravestones of 18thC and 19thC. Walls plastered and painted. Roof of rafters and chamfered purlins with one cambered tie beam.
North wall: segmental-headed doorway with deep reveal; dressing re-painted except for one jamb with inscription: 'DAVID WYNNE RECTOR HVIVS PAROCHIAE INDVCTVS AD 1689' cut into two faces of the stone.
East wall: plain but for stone bench built into wall. Resting on this is an Incorporated Church Building Society plaque of 1901.
South wall: plain with no door or gate.
West wall: as east wall but for Owen Jones memorial of 1814; also a commemorative tablet of 1951 in Welsh.
Nave. General. Rear is panelled off beneath gallery. Floor has stone slabs, three at least graveslabs of 18thC date. Walls plastered and painted; gallery above has new timbers supporting it. Floor of church itself is carpetted and the benches raised on
wooden boarding. Walls plastered and painted and that on south side has definite outwards lean. Roof of four and a half bays with arch-braced collar trusses and raking struts, flat purlins and two tiers of cusped windbraces. At west end is a gallery which
may utilise former altar rails.
North wall: one splayed window close to junction with chancel and at this point the wall narrows in thickness, resulting in a sharp angle beneath the window and a sloping off above it. Two 19thC marble mural tablets.
East wall: step up plus low wall of red sandstone: modern.
South wall: two splayed widows, the dressings unpainted. Between them a splayed niche which must have been a slit window though it is now blocked, and there is a second at a higher level, also blocked, near the east end of the nave wall. Another
functioning splayed window provides light for the gallery stairs.
West wall: gallery stairs are modern as in fact is all the timberwork of the gallery itself. In west wall one window with virtually no splay.
Chancel. General. One step up to chancel, one to sanctuary, one to altar. Walls as nave. Roof has two bays comparable with those over nave, and a final bay as a wagon roof with chamfered purlins and closely set arched ribbing.
North wall: plain but for two 19thC marble tablets and one of the late 18thC; also a stone plaque reading simply 'LLIF MAWR MEHEFIN 1781'. In the sanctuary wall is a small rectangular alcove.
East wall: splayed window and to the south of it an alcove with a segmental head; its original purpose needs to be clarified.
South wall: wall face outset at junction with nave by about 0.3m; chancel wall has batter but not as pronounced as that of nave. Two marble memorials and a stone one, all of the 19thC.
St Michael's churchyard is small, level and well kept. It lies adjacent to Afon Alwen, its north-eastern side edged by the river, giving the enclosure a D shape.
Most recent burial is 1961.
Boundary: grassy bank surmounted by railings on south and south-west; on the west is a wall, on the north-east a wooden fence above a retaining wall.
Monuments: these are sparse particularly on south and north, with rather more to the south-east and the west. Chest tombs are found on the north-west, none obviously 18thC.
Earthworks: raised about 0.5m on south and west, 0.8m at east end, and more than one metre above the river on north.
Ancillary features: double iron gates of simple design give the only access, on the south side; tarmac path.
Vegetation: one yew tree in north-west, and another, in a railed plot, towards the eastern corner of the churchyard. Elsewhere holly and pine.
CPAT Field Visit: 21 January 1997
Faculty 1900: NLW
Glynne 1884, 254
Hubbard 1986, 212
Quinquennial Report 1989
Thomas 1911, 158
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Please note that many rural churches are closed to the public at certain times. It is advisable to check when the church will be open before visiting. Information about access, or how to contact parish clergy, can often be obtained from the relevant Diocesan Office which can be found through the Church in Wales website. Further information about Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr Church may also be found on the St Asaph Diocese website.
The CPAT Eastern Conwy Churches Survey Project was funded by Cadw as part of an all Wales survey of medieval parish churches.
This HTML page has been generated from the Cadw Churches Survey database & CPAT's Regional Historic Environment Record - 17/07/2007 ( 22:01:19 ).
Further information about this and other churches surveyed is available from the Regional Historic Environment Record, Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 7a Church Street, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 7DL tel - (01938) 553670, fax - (01938) 552179, email - firstname.lastname@example.org, website - www.cpat.org.uk.
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