Radnorshire Churches Survey
Church of St Michael , Discoed
Discoed Church is in the Diocese of Hereford, in the community of Whitton in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SO2766564738.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16770 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.
St Michael's church, Discoed, occupies a small sub-triangular churchyard above a shallow but steep-sided valley that tips down to the valley of the Lugg, 4km to the west of Presteigne. Church lacks diagnostic architectural features, though contrary to
Haslam, some of the medieval building does survive, with Victorian additions. Churchyard is raised and has a couple of old yews.
The medieval shell of Discoed church survives, but without exception the windows and door were replaced in Victorian restoration together with some of the masonry. As a consequence it is not possible to put any date on the medieval structure.
Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1979 publication The Buildings of Wales: Powys by Richard Haslam
Manor, though not church referred to as 'Discote' in Domesday Book.
In the medieval period, it was a chapel of ease in ecclesiastical parish of Presteigne, under the control of Wigmore Abbey.
Church restored and partly rebuilt in 1869 at a cost of over œ500.
Discoed church consists of nave, chancel, north porch abutting nave near the north-west corner, and small spire. Alignment of church is slightly south of grid west.
Fabrics: 'A' is of small to medium slabs and a few blocks of grey and brown sedimentary rock (siltstone and the like?), randomly coursed, with no selection of particular stones as quoins.
'B' is of medium sized blocks and a few slabs of grey and iron-stained shale, some coursed; some fresh, others more weathered.
'A' is original fabric and probably medieval; 'B' is Victorian replacement.
Roofs: shale tiles for nave, chancel and porch, slate shingles for tower. Nave and chancel had ornamental ridge tiles, chancel a simple knobbed finial.
Drainage: nothing obvious on south and east sides. Bare ground around porch and part of north side of nave could indicate a drainage trench, or simply a flower bed.
Nave. North wall: bulging wall, with Fabric 'A' at west end and to east of porch, Fabric 'B' over much of rest. One flat-topped Victorian window, two lights with trefoil heads, in pale sandstone.
East wall: about 0.4m of nave wall visible on each side of chancel; roof of nave about 1.0m higher than chancel, but whole of gable coated in vertical slates.
South wall: wall bulges, leaning outwards in places. Western 2m-3m of wall all in Fabric 'B' as is masonry over windows; otherwise Fabric 'A'. Two two-light windows of same pattern and date as north wall; between them a mural tablet of 1789.
West wall: base battered to height of 0.8m; string-course level with eaves on long sides of nave, and wall above inset. Two simple Victorian lancets below string-course, one blocked Victorian quatrefoil light above. Fabric heavily lichened but largely 'B'.
Chancel. General. Chancel on visibly different axis from nave.
North wall: lower part of wall only in Fabric 'A' (bulges), rest in 'B' (tapers inwards). One single trefoil-headed light, of same pattern as those in nave.
East wall: wall bulges at base where Fabric 'A', with 'B' above. Masonry heavily weathered and lichened and impossible to distinguish accurately between two fabrics.
South wall: 'A' below, 'B' above, but two merge and difficulty in distinguishing between them. No windows.
West wall: not present.
Tower: General. Bell-turret with box-like base lit by three small rectangular windows in each vertical side, capped with a pyramid from which rises steep conical spire.
Porch. General. Victorian with low chamfered stone support walls and open arcaded timber frame above. Doorway of arch-braced collar with carved wooden cross in gable, and roll-moulded bargeboard outside it.
Porch. General. All Victorian with tiled floor, simple collared truss roof, and two-centred arched doorway to nave.
Nave. General. Floor of black and red tiles, carpet down aisle and also elsewhere, benches raised slightly on wooden boarding. No obvious heating vents, warmth being provided by stove next to pulpit. Victorian roof of tie-beams and collars with
intermediate arch-braced collars. Walls plastered but not whitewashed.
North wall: wall slopes outwards. Deeply splayed window.
East wall: ornate tie-beam and low arch, within which foiled wooden arches support the gable, the rest of which filled with plastered panels to apex.
South wall: outward sloping. Wall tablet of 1809.
West wall: splayed lancets. Wall above is inset at level of roof tie-beams but not utilised by one. Blocked roundel light visible.
Chancel. General. Tiled in red, black and white with carpets over. Choir benches raised. One step up from nave to chancel, one up to sanctuary, and one up to altar. Roof of closely set collared trusses.
North wall: splayed window.
East wall: splayed window.
South wall: no windows; piscina set in alcove with arch over - Victorian. Two mural tablets set into wall so faces flush with it - 1779 and 1833.
West wall: nothing.
Discoed churchyard is now sub-triangular in outline, though a slight scarp on north side suggests that originally it was more rectangular with a curvilinear east side. It is set close to the edge of a small valley which drops northwards to the valley of
the Lugg. Internally it is relatively flat, though with a slight fall from south-west to north-east.
Modern burials are concentrated to the north of the church, and this area is well-maintained. South of the church, it is rather overgrown.
The boundary is formed of an irregular stone wall, rebuilt in places. Material has banked up against this in some places, and the external ground level is lower by at least 0.5m; removal of a building in south-west corner has resulted in the erection of a
poor wire fence. On the east the stone wall acts as a revetment to the raised interior, and the external drop is nearly 2m.
Monuments: gravestones are locally dense but in some places very well spread. Earlier stones lie to the south of the church, but most are 19thC and the earliest recognisable is 1795.
Earthworks: slight scarp on north side could be earlier line of boundary (see above).
Ancillary features: a single large iron gate and a wooden stile provide the main access, in the north-west corner. A tarmac path leads to the church. On the south is a modern wooden stile.
Vegetation: two mature yews and a few other trees around the perimeter.
CPAT Field Visit: 15 February 1996
Haslam 1979, 229
Davies 1905, 175
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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 Discoed Church may also be found on the Hereford Diocese website.
The CPAT Radnorshire 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 ( 22:02:45 ).
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 - firstname.lastname@example.org, website - www.cpat.org.uk.
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