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Montgomeryshire Churches Survey

Church of St Michael and All Angels , Criggion

Criggion Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Bausley with Criggion in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ2959215120.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16677 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Criggion Church, CPAT copyright photo 406-13.JPG


St Michael's church at Criggion, about 6 miles to the north-east of Welshpool, has an 18thC red-brick nave and western tower, with a stone-built chancel added in the following century. It retains a few fittings of the 18thC, but nothing earlier. The church is set within a D-shaped churchyard defined by a surrounding ditch, but appears to contain no monuments earlier than the 19thC.

Church entirely constructed in red brick in 1770, originally with round-headed Georgian style windows in keeping with a building of that date. In the nave these were later replaced with Gothic-style windows to compliment the mid-19thC chancel.

Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1979 publication The Buildings of Wales: Powys by Richard Haslam


The ecclesiastical parish of Criggion was known formerly as an 'ancient chapelry', but there is no information on any predecessors of the present building. It is claimed that the earliest church records go back to 1343, though these do not relate to the present site.

In 1686, the Bishop of Hereford's register recorded the granting of a license to Thomas Price, the curate of Criggion, but prior to this the Alberbury register records a baptism on January 26th 1676, of 'ye first child baptized in ye Chappell [at Criggion] where it now stands'. The present church bell dates to 1682 and was presumably in this early chapel, whose site is unknown, although a field in the parish is known as 'Chapel Field'.

Criggion is recorded in the Bishop's registers in 1767, when Thomas Eyton, the last Squire of Criggion, undertook to build a new church on his own land at his own expense, and promised that he and his family would maintain it. The new church, in red brick, was consecrated in 1770.

By 1838, the church, not 70 years old, was in a very poor state of repair and the churchyard was so ill-defined that it was marked out and consecrated anew. The church itself was restored, the exterior was painted, a stone font placed in the tower, replacing an 'ordinary basin', a gallery was inserted, and the clock was installed on the tower. In 1842, the vestry was added.

There is no faculty record of a chancel being added to the 18thC church. This appears to have been done at some point in the mid-19thC (and the listed building schedule gives a date of 1848, though this has not been verified), and the round-headed nave windows were replaced by pointed headed ones.

Until 1864, Criggion was a chapel-of-ease to the mother church at Alberbury. It was transferred from the Diocese of Hereford to that of St Asaph in 1920.

The heating system in the church was changed in 1962. The pyramidal roof on the tower was reconstructed to a new design in 1969 replacing a battlemented parapet, and the ridge of the nave was also repaired, and the nave roof ceiling was plastered and painted.


The church consists of a nave and narrower chancel, a west tower with the entrance beneath, and a north vestry with a lean-to boiler-house. The church is oriented south-west to north-east but for the purpose of description 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted here.

Fabrics: 'A' comprises local red brick with red sandstone dressings. 'B' is locally quarried greenish-grey Criggion igneous rock (dolerite), again with red sandstone dressings.

'A' is of 1770. 'B' is believed to be mid-19thC.

Roofs: slates with dark clay ridge tiles; sandstone cross finials to nave and chancel.

Drainage: north and south sides have guttering, and cast iron downspouts lead to soakaways. A drainage trench is a possibility although there is little visible evidence.


Tower. General. Undifferentiated three-stage tower in 'A', the quoins slightly proud of the wall faces; pyramidal slate roof surmounted by spirelet. Ground floor functions as western entrance to church.

North wall: a single round-headed louvred window to belfry in third stage; projecting springers and keystone.

East wall: window as north side.

South wall: belfry window as on north side. A clock face just below it.

West wall: heavy planked entrance door with wrought iron fittings set in a round-headed doorway which has a projecting keystone and springers. Above this is a circular window of six lights illuminating the gallery, and above two further windows, the higher one a standard louvred belfry window, the lower also round-headed, but slightly larger and glazed.

Nave. General. Constructed in fabric 'A', the quoins standing proud as on the tower.

North wall: low stone plinth at c.0.2m above ground level. From the west: i) a small square window with a wooden frame, high up in the wall to light the gallery; ii) a single-light window, with two-centred arch, red sandstone dressings; iii) a two-light two-centred window, the lights foiled with a quatrefoil above, and a hoodmould with block stops.

East wall: gable end visible above lower, chancel roof.

South wall: two two-centred arched windows with plain red sandstone dressings as north wall. Two modern memorial tablets to members of the Vickers family, owners of the Criggion estates during the 19thC renovations, inset into the wall at a low level.

Chancel. General. A 19thC addition in fabric 'B' with sandstone dressings. Walls and angle buttresses are battered to a height of c.0.3m.

North wall: two stepped buttresses with red sandstone capping. Single lancet window to the sanctuary with hoodmould; worn red sandstone dressings. Large blocks of red sandstone form a band along the length of the chancel at hoodmould level. Boiler house chimney protrudes through the roof. The chimney and the wall below it have been recently patched, and signs of the 1962 change in the heating system are visible.

East wall: a stepped buttress to either side of three, stepped lancet lights with hoodmould and foliate stops; relieving arches of voussoirs in alternate sandstone and dolerite. A red sandstone string course runs at sill level. Two large sandstone blocks are located above the window at the apex.

South wall: two stepped buttresses. Red sandstone blocks form a course as on the north wall. Single lancet to east, double lights to west, a continuous hoodmould linking the two windows with terminal foliate stops.

Vestry and boiler house. General. Annexed to north wall, and both brick built. The low stone plinth along the north wall of the nave continues along the west and north wall of the vestry. The north wall has a single round-headed window with half-round mouldings and the doorway in its west wall is likewise round-headed with engaged shafts and cushion capitals - a classic Norman-style doorway. The boiler room door utilises worn red sandstone dressings, suggestive of re-use, and on its north side is a further round-headed doorway with engaged shafts and cushion capitals, all in red sandstone that is weathering badly.


Tower. General. Ground floor is porch with red tiled floor, plastered walls, and the font. Its east wall has the entrance doors to the nave, and the south wall has the entrance to the gallery via a narrow dog-leg stairway.

Gallery. General. Wooden floors, plastered walls and ceiling, with an entrance hatch to the belfry. From the first floor of the tower, a two-centred arch gives access to the gallery which overhangs the nave, and is stepped down beneath plain, rather rustic, benches.

Nave. General. Tiled floor, carpetted down the aisle, underfloor heating grilles, and raised boarding under the box pews; plastered walls with exposed dressings; three-bay roof divided by two king-post tie-beam trusses with raking struts, and double purlins.

North wall: windows have internal hoodmoulds and head-stops. Sounding board of the pulpit affixed to wall. Vestry door at chancel end. War memorial brass.

East wall: two-centred chancel arch of red and yellow sandstone archstones, yellow sandstone Corinthian capitals and engaged shafts. There are red sandstone hoodmoulds with foliated stops on both the chancel and nave sides. One 19thC marble memorial tablet.

South wall: windows have hoodmoulds and pilaster shafts with foliate stops.

West wall: entrance door with gallery above. Gallery is supported on two thin wooden columns and wall brackets. Its front has decorated openwork panels.

Chancel. General. Three steps lead up from nave, and one to the sanctuary and another to the altar. Tiles carpetted over in chancel, exposed encaustic tiles in sanctuary. Walls as nave. Roof of eleven close-set arch-braced collars.

North wall: single splayed lancet, with alternating yellow and red sandstone dressings at the head. Two heating grilles set in the wall. One 19thC marble memorial tablet and a 19thC cope in a glass case.

East wall: three-light window with internal shafts, hoodmould and foliated stops. Sandstone moulding below window runs full width of wall. Reredos of mouldings in relief forming continuous round-headed arches and columns; painted over.

South wall: splayed single lancet, with sedile below, and two splayed two-light windows, both with alternating yellow and red dressings, and a continuous hoodmould terminating in foliated stops. The piscina has similar dressings to its two-centred head.

Vestry. General. Tiled floor, plastered walls and ceiling.


The church occupies a raised, D-shaped enclosure, surrounded by a ditch which presumably reflects its location on the floor of the Severn floodplain.

Boundary: consists of the aforementioned ditch, with a stone wall forming a revetment to its inner face. Inside this, on the east and parts of the south and north, is a low hedge.

Monuments: a mix of 19thC and 20thC graves, fairly regularly placed on the south side of church. Rows of chest tombs date to the late 19thC/early 20thC. The earliest recorded gravemarker is of 1843, a large slab south of entrance gates.

Furniture: none noticed.

Earthworks: interior raised by about 0.5m on the north and a little less on the east and south.

Ancillary features: pair of oak entrance gates (1948 memorial gift) set in a stone wall form a splayed entrance. Tarmac path leads up to west entrance door.

Vegetation: yew trees surround the site and there are broad-leaved species by the path.

Sources consulted

Cadw Schedule of Listed Buildings 1994
CPAT Field Visit: 5 December 1995 and 5 March 1998
Eisel 1986, 177
Haslam 1979, 95
NMR Aberystwyth
Powys SMR
Roberts 1972
Click here to view full project bibliography

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 Criggion Church may also be found on the St Asaph Diocese website.

The CPAT Montgomeryshire 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 ( 22:02:05 ).
Further information about this and other churches surveyed is available from the Regional Historic Environment Record, Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 41 Broad Street, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 7RR tel - (01938) 553670, fax - (01938) 552179, email -, website -

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