St Michael, Llanfihangel Ystrad, Ceredigion (PRN 17370)


Dyfed PRN 17370

 RB No. 3628

 NGR SN 5245 5622

 Listed Building no. 17430

 Grade II listed (1998)

First Listed in 1996. Last amended in 1996.

Reasons for Listing: Listed as a well-designed late C19 parish church, surprisingly large for rural Cardiganshire, which retains medieval masonry and unusual emphasis on reproducing idea of aisled plan of old church.


19th century church; 0% pre-19th century core fabric. On site of, and same location as, medieval church (Dyfed PRN 4777).

A multicell church, large. Consists of chancel, 3 bays; nave, 4 bays; vestry, 1 bay; store-room, 1 bay; north aisle, 4 bays; all 1877. South porch, 1928. Construction is in local rubble throughout. Slate gable roofs, continuous over vestry and store-room. Openings are mainly from 1877, neo-gothic, with yellow oolite dressings; external buttressing, 1877. Gabled single bellcote over porch, 1928.

Roofs, floors and finishes: 1877; 1928 in porch.

Condition – good. Roof timbers fair.

Archaeological potential – good. no external cutting or drain; floors suspended over a void in 90% of church; external memorials significantly close to 30% of church.

Structural value (pre 19th century) – poor. 0% pre 19th century core fabric.

Group value – medium. Landmark C19 church in valley floor location; large churchyard with good memorials.


Phase 1 – Chancel, nave, vestry, store-room, north aisle, 1877.

Phase 2 – South porch, 1928.


St Michael, Llanfihangel Ystrad, is a multicelled church, of large size. It was entirely (re)built in 1877 on the same site, and in the same location as its predecessor, but nothing was retained from the earlier fabric  (Dyfed PRN 4777).

The present church consists of a 3-bayed chancel, a 4-bayed nave, a single-bayed vestry north of the chancel centre bay, a single-bayed store-room north of the chancel west bay, 4 4-bayed north aisle, and a south porch. Construction is in local rubble throughout; external pointing is mainly from 1877, and the interior is plastered. Openings are mainly from 1877 and neogothic, with yellow oolite dressings, the windows comprising simple double lancets and multi-light windows with Geometric tracery. The exterior is buttressed throughout, from 1877. The south porch is from 1928 and its southern gable carries a gabled single bellcote offset from a square base. The roofs are slated gables throughout, the vestry and store-room being roofed as one.

The medieval church survived until 1877, and in 1810 was described ‘an ancient building’ consisting of a nave and north aisle separated by an arcade of four 2-centred arches on ‘five square pillars’ (Crossley and Ridgway, 1946, 52). A carved timber rood-screen bore the inscription ‘MILET . C.W. 1672. I.E. ME. FECIT.’ (Evans, 1918, 336). Samuel Lewis, writing in 1833, mentions in addition a south aisle (Lewis, 1833) but this may merely represent a misreading of Meyrick’s 1810 description; the tithe map of 1843 (NLW, Llanfihangel Ystrad, 1843) is not helpful.

No south aisle, nor the screen, are mentioned in a description of 1847 (Glynne, 1898, 353). The north aisle arcade is described as ‘very rude’, there was no defined chancel and no porch, and an ‘open’ bellcote lay at the west end. The whole was ‘glaring with whitewash’.

The church was entirely rebuilt in 1877-8, to the designs of the architect John Middleton of Cheltenham; ther is no evidence that any medieval masonry was retained, as suggested in Cadw, 1996, 1.

The porch, with its bellcote, was added in 1928 to the designs of the architect C. W. Mercer (NLW, SD/F/338). Prior to this, a ‘temporary’ timber bellcote was situated in the churchyard (Evans, 1918, 337).

The font has a square scalloped bowl and a cylindrical stem, from the 12th century (Anon., 1914, 11).

There is one bell, cast by William Evans of Chepstow in 1738 (Evans, 1918, 338).

There is a neither an external cutting nor a drain. Floors are suspended except in the porch. External memorials lie significantly close to the south wall.

The church was Grade II listed in 1998.

First Listed in 1996. Last amended in 1996.


 There is some evidence for the pre-conquest religious use of the site:-

Pre-conquest Latin dedication?.

St Michael, Llanfihangel Ystrad, was not a parish church during the post-conquest period (Rees, 1932), but a chapelry of the medieval Deanery of Sub-Aeron. It was a possession of St Davids as a prebend of the collegiate church at Llanddewi Brefi, rated in the king’s books at £7 14 4½d (Lewis, 1833).

Llanfihangel Ystrad had become a parish by 1833 when the living, a discharged vicarage in the patronage of the Bishop as an impropriation, was rated in the king’s books at £4 18s 1½d and endowed with £400 parliamentary grant (ibid.).

In 1998 St Michael, Llanfihangel Ystrad, was a parish church. The living was a vicarage, held with Cilcennin, Trefilan and Nantcwnlle (Benefice no. 698) in the Archdeaconry of Cardigan, Rural Deanery of Glyn Aeron (St Davids, 1997-8).


 Map Evidence

Blaeu, J., 1648, Map of Cardiganshire.

NLW, Ordnance Survey 1:2500, Second Edition, Sheet XXXIII.7.

NLW, Parish of Llanfihangel Ystrad, Tithe Map, 1843.

Rees, W., 1932, South Wales and the Border in the XIVth century.

Church in Wales Records

Hook Mason, 1994, Quinquennial Report, Llanfihangel Ystrad.

St Davids, 1997-8, Diocesan Year Book.

NLW, SD/F/338, Faculty – Erecting porch, 1928.

Printed Accounts

Anon., 1914, ‘Cardiganshire Fonts’, Transactions of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society Vol. I.

Anon., 1915, ‘Carved Work in Cardiganshire Churches’, Transactions of the Cardiganshire Antiquarian Society Vol. II.

Anon., 1931, ‘Lampeter – Report’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. LXXXVI

Cadw, 1996, Buildings of Special Architectural Interest (Llanfihangel Ystrad, Ceredigion).

Crossley, F. H., and Ridgway, M. H., 1946, ‘Screens, Lofts and Stalls situated in Wales and Monmouthshire: Part 8’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol. XCVIII.

Evans, G. E., 1917, ‘Parish Churches’, Trans. Carms. Antiq. Soc. Vol 11.

Evans, G. E., 1918, ‘Cardiganshire: Its Plate, Records and Registers’, Archaeol. Cambrensis Vol. XVIII, Sixth Series.

Glynne, S.R, 1898, ‘Notes on the Older Churches in the Four Welsh Dioceses’, Archaeol. Cambrensis, Vol XV, Fifth Series.

Lewis, S., 1833, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales.

Salter, M., 1994, The Old Parish Churches of South West Wales.

Various, 1994, ‘The Church in Ceredigion in the Early Middle Ages’, in Davies, J. L., and Kirby, D. P. (eds.), Cardiganshire County History Vol. I.

Up dated – September 2021 – PKR.

Heneb - The Trust for Welsh Archaeology