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Church of St Michael

A Grade II* Listed Building in Llanfihangel Cwmdu with Bwlch and Cathedine (Llanfihangel Cwm Du gyda Bwlch a Chathedin), Powys

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.9071 / 51°54'25"N

Longitude: -3.1927 / 3°11'33"W

OS Eastings: 318049

OS Northings: 223844

OS Grid: SO180238

Mapcode National: GBR YY.Q2P0

Mapcode Global: VH6C8.MB1C

Entry Name: Church of St Michael

Listing Date: 19 July 1963

Last Amended: 21 October 1998

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 6668

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Prominently sited at the N end of Cwmdu village, on E side of A479, and surrounded by churchyard.

County: Powys

Community: Llanfihangel Cwmdu with Bwlch and Cathedine (Llanfihangel Cwm Du gyda Bwlch a Chathedin)

Community: Llanfihangel Cwmdu with Bwlch and Cathedine

Locality: Cwmdu

Traditional County: Brecknockshire

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Cathedine

History

A church was consecrated here c1060 together with churches at Partrishow and Llanbedr. The church was enlarged C15, of which the tower survives and is the earliest component of the surviving fabric. Early C19 the building was said to be in a poor condition and was mostly rebuilt, with the exception of the tower, 1831-33 largely due to the efforts of the incumbent Thomas Price (the antiquary and Welsh historian known by his bardic name Carnhuanawc). The church was rebuilt using the original stone, the architect said to be Pratt of Crickhowell. At this time a SE porch was added and the chancel was shortened. A buttress was also added to the original S wall into which an early medieval inscribed stone was set by Thomas Price. It was brought from a field about 1.69km SSW of church, although its original location is not known. Internally, the rood screen was taken down and parts were re-used to make a reredos. Further restoration was undertaken in 1907 by W.D. Caroe with Hunt & Baldwin when the N aisle was removed and the nave and S aisle were re-roofed.

Exterior

Perpendicular style church consisting of nave with S aisle and SW and SE porches, short chancel and W tower. Rubble stone with bigger quoins, slate roof. The S aisle has diagonal buttresses and a large stepped buttress in centre. To L is a 3-light window and to R is a later Tudor-Gothic 5-light window with hood mould. The central buttress has a Celtic inscribed stone set into it, reading CATACUS HIC IACIT FILIUS TEGERNACUS (Here lies Cattoc son of Teyrnoc).

At L end of S aisle is SW porch, the main entrance. The doorway has a 2-centre arch renewed 1830s on C15 jambs, with continuous moulding and cast iron gates with quatrefoil frieze to lock rail. In the side walls are 2-light mullioned windows with arched heads. The C19 SE porch has a C15 4-centred arch with continuous sunk roll moulding (possibly a reclaimed original N door) and iron gates similar to SW porch. In the side walls are glazed quatrefoils (renewed to L). The S aisle has a 2-light W window above an offset and a tall 2-light E window below a plain parapet with ramped coping. The chancel is lower and short and has 2-light S and 5-light E window. Attached to chancel walls are C18 and early C19 grave slabs and commemorative tablets.

On N side is shallow organ projection of 1830s, remodelled 1907 when N aisle was removed. It has diagonal buttresses, a tall 2-light E window and small single-light in the N gable. The nave has three 3-light N windows.

Three-stage tower has an embattled parapet over a moulded cornice. The parapet rises higher on NE side to accommodate stair turret. In the bell stage are louvered 2-light windows, with single-light windows in the lower stages beneath string courses. The W door has a Tudor arch with continuous moulding and boarded door with decorative studs and strap hinges. On E side of tower is the creasing of the 1830s roof which spanned nave and aisles.

Interior

The SW porch has a ceiled wagon roof with moulded cornice and ribs. The S doorway is segmental pointed with continuous moulding. Against the side walls are 2 large grave slabs, dated c1658 and c1767. The SE porch has a similar wagon roof and recesses built across the angles beside the S door with round heads. On the floor is a fragment of early medieval inscribed stone with C12 or C13 inscription over an earlier Maltese cross.

Three-bay S arcade has octagonal piers, moulded capitals and 2-centred chamfered arches. The chancel arch is similar. The nave has an arched-brace roof of 1907; the chancel and organ recess have ribbed and boarded wagon roofs of 1830s; the S aisle has a flat boarded ceiling with plain ribs, of 1907. The tower arch is 4-centred with continuous moulding, with a similar but smaller doorway in the stage above. The tower base has a segmental tunnel vault.

The font has a plain octagonal bowl (renewed early C20) on a C13 pedestal composed of 4 clustered shafts, and is within a Tudor-arched recess at W end of S aisle, placed there 1830s. In the chancel is a reredos of 1830s continuing around the N and S walls consisting of the main lights of a former rood screen and a cornice of vine trails and billets, with some brattishing in the central section. The communion rails consist of similar rood screen lights but are plainer. Flanking E window are white marble tablets inscribed with the Creed, Lord's Prayer and 10 Commandments, made by Thomas & Son of Brecon in 1836. The N chancel wall has C18 memorial tablets in a similar style. In S aisle is a late C19 classical-style memorial tablet, and a Royal Arms carved in relief by J Jones of Crickhowell, set into a square tablet with panelled borders in Gothic style, probably of the 1830s rebuilding.

Reasons for Listing

Listed Grade II* as a good example of a Perpendicular style church with an especially fine tower.

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