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St. Michael's Church

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What: Parish Church (also church hall)
Where: Llanfihangel Penbedw, Pembrokeshire
Built: Mediæval, enlarged 1859
Architect: Unknown, restored by John C. Davies
Abandoned: c. 1970
Listed: No
Visited: 2011
Last Known Condition: Derelict, latterly used as an animal shelter
Page Updated: February 2014

Llanfihangel Penbedw is a relic: a parish of less than 400 people, a village which is barely there at all. The earliest record of a rectory here is from 1325, and reveals that shortly before that date the patronage of the benefice belonged to John de Hastings, Earl of Pembroke. On December 3rd of that year, the church of 'Lanvihanel in Wales,' with an annual value of 6 marks, was assigned to Thomas Le Blount on his marriage to Hastings' widow Juliana. The first recorded rector is John ap Henry in 1387 and by 1594 the living had come to be owned by the Crown.

The church was enlarged and 'restored' following a grant of 1859, by architect John C. Davies, whose works included a new vestry on the northern side and the relocation of the door from the south wall to underneath the tower. The interior was plain white and undecorated, except for the legend 'Sancteiddrwydd a weddai i'th dy' ('holiness becometh thy house', Psalm 93:5) above the chancel arch.

Never blessed with a large congregation, by 1921 the parish had been united with neighbouring Capel Colman and was later amalgamated with Boncath. The last marriage is believed to have been conducted here in 1970 and the church fell out of use shortly afterwards. A church hall nearby probably closed at the same time.

: West aspect and tower
West aspect and tower

: Stained glass vestry window
Stained glass vestry window

: Minute book in the church hall
Minute book in the church hall

[click images below to expand & enlarge]

: Approaching Penbedw : Lych gate : South aspect : East aspect : Entrance and unhinged door : Nave looking towards altar end : Font : Nave window : Vestry fireplace : East window : Church Hall : Church Hall : Hymnals, etc : 1859 plan (© church plans online)

Inside the church, all fixtures has been removed except for the font, two pews at the back and the remains of the vestry partition lying on the floor. The polychrome tile floor is strewn with manure and the windows are all broken. It is not known whether there are any plans for restoration, but given the state of the church and its remote location it seems unlikely.

Select Bibliography

Davies, Graham (2001) 'Parish of Llanfihangel Penbedw.', http://members.multimania.co.uk/Graham_Davies/Cil100/Llanfihangel.html Retrieved 07.04.11.

Hicks, Gareth (25 Octr 2007) 'LLANFIHANGEL PENBEDW' http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/wal/PEM/LlanfihangelPenbedw/index.html Retrieved 07.04.11.

Registers of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials date from 1680 and are held by the National Library of Wales.


The Derelict Miscellany: website and all content © D. A. Gregory unless stated to be otherwise.