St Michael, Trefgarn, Pembrokeshire

ST MICHAEL, TREFGARN, PEMBROKESHIRE (PRESELI)

 Dyfed PRN 37116

 RB No. 3554

 NGR SM 9570 2370

 Not listed (1998)

 SUMMARY

19th century church; 0% pre-19th century core fabric. On site of, and in same location as, medieval church (Dyfed PRN 4582).

A 2-cell church, small. Consists of chancel, 1 bay; nave, 2 bays; all (re)built in the later 19th century. Construction is in limestone rubble. Neo-gothic. All internal walls are rendered/plastered. Slate gable roofs. All openings are later 19th century and include the south doorway and chancel arch. Western single bellcote, later 19th century. Roofs and floors, later 19th century. Finishes, later 19th century.

Condition – good.

Archaeological potential – good. Church entirely rebuilt in the later 19th century, in same location as earlier church; no structural or physical evidence for earlier church; medium-deep external cutting around 50% of church; shallow-medium depth external drain around 40% of church; no evidence for floor level changes; underfloor void; no crypt/vault evident; no evidence of former components beyond church, memorials significantly close to 25% of church.

Structural value (pre 19th century) – poor. 0% pre-19th century core fabric (stoup fragment preserved.)

Group value – low-medium. 19th century church in medieval churchyard.

Phasing:

All later 19th century.

DESCRIPTION

St Michael, Trefgarn, is a 2-celled church, of small size. It was (re)built in 1881 (Jones, 1994, 1) but the architect responsible is not known. The church was built in the same location as its predecessor, ‘probably upon the foundations’ (RCAHM, 1925, 401) but it is apparent that the rebuild was total, retaining none of the earlier fabric.

The present church consists of a 2-bayed chancel and a 2-bayed nave, both of the same width.

Construction is in limestone rubble throughout, with roughly squared quoins. The external pointing is good quality, from 1881. All internal walls are rendered/plastered. All dressings are in oolite; the detail is all from 1881 and neo-gothic. It includes the chancel arch, the windows, with plain 2-centred surrounds, and the 2-centred south entry door. The nave west wall carries a simple gabled bellcote, with a single 2-centred opening, from 1881. Both roofs are slated gables from 1881; the nave may not always have been roofed at a higher level. The floors are possibly suspended except in the porch, and from 1881.

There is no structural or physical evidence for the earlier church. A medium-deep earth-cut cutting runs around the north and west walls, primary? (re)excavated in the late 19th century?. An external drain runs along the south wall, late 19th century?. There is no evidence for internal floor level changes. There is probably an underfloor void beneath the suspended floors, but no vault or crypt is evident. Memorials lie significantly close to the chancel south wall.

The form of the earlier church is not known. It is depicted, in the same location as the present building, on the tithe map of 1843 (NLW, Treffgarne, 1843) but as a cross symbol. The Ordnance Survey 1:2500 of 1889 (NLW, OS First Edition 1:2500, 1889) shows a structure of the same dimensions and plan as the present church, but the plan is too simple for any conclusions to be drawn. The earlier church, unusually, was not described by Samuel Lewis in 1833 (Lewis, 1833).

The font has an octagonal bowl and circular shaft, of probable 14th-15th century date. The base was ‘modern’ in 1925 (RCAHM, 1925, 148). A fragment of a crude stoup within the present church was presumably also recovered from the earlier building.

The present church was not listed in 1998.

SITE HISTORY

There is no firm evidence for any pre-conquest religious use of the site.

St Michael, Trefgarn was a parish church during the post-conquest period, of the medieval Deanery of Rhos (Rees, 1932). The rectory appears always to have been in private patronage (Green, 1914, 226), by the late 16th century appendent to the Manor of Trefgarn. In 1536 – as ‘Tref Garn’ – its annual value was 33s 7d, the sum payable being 3s 4½d.

In 1786 the annual value of the discharged rectory was £14, rated in the king’s books at £1 13s 9d. By 1811 the advowson had been purchased by a Dr Evans; the rectory was described as ‘of small value’ (Fenton, 1903, 182).

In 1998 St Michael, Trefgarn, was a parish church. The living was a rectory, held with Spittal, Ambleston and St Dogwells (Benefice 819) in the Archdeaconry of St Davids, Rural Deanery of Daugleddau (St Davids, 1997-8).

SOURCES CONSULTED

 Map Evidence

NLW, Ordnance Survey 1:2500, First Edition, XXII.4, 1889.

NLW, Parish of Treffgarne, Tithe Map, 1843.

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

Church in Wales Records

Jones, W., 1994, Quinquennial Report, Trefgarn.

St Davids, 1997-8, Diocesan Year Book.

NLW, SD/F/656 – Faculty, new altar table and bracket, 1929.

Parish Records, Pembrokeshire Record Office, Haverfordwest

(HPR/35 – Trefgarn)

Printed Accounts

Fenton, R., 1903, A Historical Tour through Pembrokeshire.

Green, F., 1914, ‘Pembrokeshire Parsons’, West Wales Historical Records Vol. IV.

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

RCAHM, 1925, Inventory: Pembrokeshire.

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