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Latitude: 52.5417 / 52°32'30"N
Longitude: -3.9395 / 3°56'22"W
OS Eastings: 268566
OS Northings: 295527
OS Grid: SN685955
Mapcode National: GBR 8Y.DYH8
Mapcode Global: VH4DV.NCQW
Plus Code: 9C4RG3R6+M6
Entry Name: Church of St Michael
Listing Date: 17 February 1997
Last Amended: 25 September 2008
Source ID: 18242
Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Location: Situated at S end of village in large churchyard, with lych-gate to road.
Locality: Eglwys Fach
Traditional County: Cardiganshire
Anglican parish church built 1833 by George Clinton, architect, of Aberystwyth, D and W. Lewis, builders, at a cost of £500. The chancel was added in 1913, probably by G. T. Bassett of Aberystwyth. There had been an earlier church near the site built in 1623 by John Lloyd of Ynyshir as a chapel of ease to Llanfihangel Geneu'r Glyn and dedicated possibly to St Edwin, as the settlement seems to have known as Llanfihangel Capel Edwin. According to Meyrick in 1810 this church had a sundial on the E gable dated 1623, inside on the E wall was a shield with the Lloyd arms and a memorial to Anne Lloyd died 1778. It was 50' (15.25m) x 17' (5.19m) with a W gallery. The Rev. T. Jones, one of the founders of the British and Foreign Bible Society was curate here in 1774. The writer Thomas Love Peacock married Jane Gruffudd (or Gryffydh) at Eglwys Fach in 1819. They had met in N. Wales in 1810-11, she being the daughter of a Caernarfonshire clergyman who by 1819 was vicar of Eglwys Fach.
The poet the Rev. R. S. Thomas was vicar of Eglwys Fach from 1954-67, and during these years wrote some of his finest poems. He altered the church by having the woodwork painted black and introducing two hanging iron coronae, made by Alan Knight, blacksmith. He also had all the memorials removed save one. Restored 1997-8.
Anglican parish church, simple Tudor Gothic style. The church is oriented SSW-NNE but for convenience the liturgical compass points are used here. Aisleless nave, with W bellcote and porch, and early C20 short 5-sided chancel. Slaty stone (W end slate-hung in later C20, formerly rendered), slate roof, shouldered gable copings. Nave has plinth, stone projecting eaves course, and three long chamfered Tudor-arched windows with stone voussoirs each side. Timber Y-tracery, leaded lattice glazing. Slate sills. Diagonal two-step buttresses to corners with chamfered base and plinth. At W end, 2-light Tudor window above and two small pointed windows each side of large gabled porch. Porch has coped shouldered gable, cross finial, diagonal buttresses with slate caps, and tall chamfered Tudor-arched entry. Porch interior has slate flags, large Tudor-arched doorway with painted boarded double doors with cover strips. Plaster segmental-pointed ceiling with coved cornice. Bellcote is rubble stone gabled with Tudor arched bell-opening. Nave E has cross-gabled stone finial.
Chancel has 2-light window to S, buttresses at angles, single lights to canted sides and 3-light E window with broad segmental-pointed surround. Stone sills. Copper Celtic cross finial on roof hip. Small gabled store-room near W end of nave N wall.
Interior retains late Georgian 'preaching box' character, although chancel added. Entrance into lobby with side doors to vestry and gallery stairs, square-headed doorway into nave. Broad Tudor-arched plaster ceiling with central rib and coved cornices to side walls. White-painted walls, slate flag floors, black-painted wood-work throughout including the gallery, rails, pews, and even the organ. The black paintwork was an innovation of R. S. Thomas' time as vicar. W gallery on two thin iron columns of trefoil section: frieze and cornice under simple panelled front of vertical panels with square centre panel. Beneath gallery, to S, panelled partitions to N and E sides of vestry, centre double doors to lobby, and to N, baptistery with low rails to S, with cross-section uprights, and open screen to E. Plain Tudor arch to early C20 chancel. Plastered 5-sided chancel ceiling, no cornice. Panelled dado. Stone steps: two at chancel arch, one after stalls, one at rails and one under altar. Altar rails similar to those to baptistery, presumably reused. Tiled floor.
At W end, from lobby, is a board door to steep timber stairs on N side to raked gallery with original simple open-back benches in 6 rows. Panelled door to vestry on S.
Fittings: In baptistery probably early medieval bowl font, ashlar with rough incised lines near rim. Later square pedestal with splayed base. Black-painted pews and benches, including panelled box pews to front 5 rows. Black-painted octagonal wooden pulpit with paired panels, some with minimal Gothic tracery. Black-painted simple timber lectern with Gothic bookrest top (now in baptistery). Organ opposite pulpit, by G. Osmond, late C19, brought in c. 1945-6, also painted black. Two wrought-iron hanging corona lights of c. 1960 by A. Knight. On nave N wall painted boards with Lord Prayer, Commandments and Creed of c. 1833, similar painted ICBS board in baptistery with name of 'G. Clynton' surveyor and David & William Lewis contractors, 1833.
Memorials: plain plaque to George Jefferys died 1848 by J. Wills & Son.
Stained glass in apse of c. 1950. Left single light, Angel at the tomb, 1948, to C. and L. Kenyon of Ranger Lodge; 3-light E window, by G. Maile & Son Ascension, to Pughs of Cymerau and Voelas, c. 1950 but commemorations from Lewis Pugh Pugh, died 1906, to Nina Pugh died 1974; right single light, St George, Second World War memorial.
Included as a scarce example of an early C19 church retaining much of the late Georgian character often lost in Victorian liturgical reforms. Graded II* for the additional literary interest of its connection with the poet the Rev. R. S. Thomas, and the satirist and man of letters Thomas Love Peacock.
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