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St Michael's Church, Llanfihangel Cwmdu, Breconshire

Denomination: Anglican

Dedication: St Michael

Built: 15th century onwards

1. The village of Llanfihangel Cwmdu occupies a spur overlooking the Rhiangoll valley as it cuts though the Black Mountains, just before it opens out to the vale of the River Usk. Historical references date the parish church origins to the mid 11thC, though the present structure is no earlier than 15thC. The tower has been attributed to the earlier 15thC but its base could be earlier. The core of the building, with its much restored Perpendicular windows, thought to be contemporary and dated by Haslam to the 1430s, was largely rebuilt in 1830. The exception is the north side of the nave, demonstrably rebuilt when the north aisle was demolished in 1907. Masonry of this rebuild is similar to 15thC/19thC stonework elsewhere in structure suggesting considerable re-use of earlier materials. Added on are two porches thought to be 15thC and 19thC, and a 20thC organ chamber. A churchyard cross consisting of steps, base, and part of shaft, is topped by more recent octagonal stone to carry sundial.
[Adapted from Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT) website]
2. An 11th century consecration of a church here is recorded but there are no certain remains prior to the building of a nave with three bay arcades, narrow aisles with tall windows, and a south porch and large west tower in the 1430s. The 16th century priest's porch has niches of 1831 when the chancel was rebuilt retaining the original east window. There are fragments of two 11th or 12th centuiry crosses in the priest's porch.
[Extracted from SALTER, Mike (1991) The Old Parish Churches of Mid Wales, Folly Publications, Malvern, Worcestershire; ISBN 1-871731-11-9]

Further details and history: CPAT website

Photography: John Ball
Date: 28 August 2013 (main photo) and 18 July 2000 (gravestone)
Camera: Nikon D50 digital SLR (main photo) and Sony Mavica MVC-FD91 digital (gravestone)

St Michael's, Llanfihangel Cwmdu
Above: St Michael's Church, viewed from the southeast.

Below: The remains of the old church cross in St Michael's Churchyard.
Old Church Cross, St Michael's, Llanfihangel Cwmdu

Below: The gravestone of Margaret and John GEORGE in St Michael's Churchyard.
Gravestone, St Michael's, Llanfihangel Cwmdu

The monument was completely covered with grass, but by carefully peeling back the turf, the clear inscription was revealed. John George was originally from Llananno, Radnorshire, his wife from Llangurig, Montgomeryshire. Between 1840 and 1856 they had eight children, all born in Radnorshire. In 1880, their youngest child, Jane (born 1856), married William George JONES of Pen-yr-heol Farm, Llanfihangel Cwmdu. In 1884, after the births of their first three children, they emigrated to the USA, settling in Arvonia, Kansas, where they had five more children.

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