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Radnorshire Churches Survey

Church of St Michael , Llanfihangel Rhydithon

Llanfihangel Rhydithon Church is in the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon, in the community of Llanfihangel Rhydithon in the county of Powys. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SO1513966713.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16856 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llanfihangel Rhydithon Church, CPAT copyright photo 431-10.JPG


St Michael and All Angels is a small church of wholly Victorian (and perhaps later) date located some 15km south-west of Knighton. It is undistinguished architecturally and internally its main pre-19thC fittings are a medieval font and a small group of monuments. The churchyard is polygonal and shows no sign of early modification.

Whole building re-erected, though at two different times, in the 19thC. New masonry used, though the Victorian lancets may echo earlier fenestration.

Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1979 publication The Buildings of Wales: Powys by Richard Haslam


The origin and early development of this church are unknown. No medieval references to its existence have been encountered.

Nothing of the medieval church survives.

The west tower was reportedly rebuilt in its entirety by B. Wishlade in 1838 (but see below); the nave and chancel were rebuilt by S. W. Williams in 1891. Among features to disappear in 1891 were the gallery that once covered a third of the chancel, a barrel organ and square pews.

A faculty with accompanying specification dated to 1906 refers to pulling down the tower, some of the wall between the tower and the nave, inserting a new doorway, re-using selected tower stone, excavating drains, re-slating the roof, inserting new window sills and putting a new door in the vestry. It is not clear how many (if any) of these proposals were adopted and no other reference has been found to them.


Llanfihangel church consists of a west tower, nave, small chancel and north vestry. It is oriented west-north-west/east-south-east, but for descriptive purposes 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted here.

Fabrics: 'A' is of blocks of grey shaly sandstone, small to medium in size, and occasionally coursed. 'B' is of medium-sized and regularly fashioned blocks of buff coloured shale, weathering to grey, and coursed. 'C' is of slightly larger blocks of shale than 'B' but otherwise similar.

All fabrics are of Victorian date.

Roofs: slates with ceramic ridge tiles; cross finials to nave and chancel. Weathervane on top of tower.

Drainage: around east and south is 0.6m wide, slab-lined gully, and a similar feature on east side of vestry. Nothing comparable on west and north sides.


Tower. General. Fabric 'A' with dressings all in golden-yellow sandstone. Chamfered plinth at c.1.0m+; string-course just beneath battlemented parapet. Two-centred arched windows with single trefoil-headed lights and hoodmouldings. Two to each wall (except east) and above are double lights in a similar design for belfry. Door to church on south side with stopped chamfers but of same basic design.

Nave and Chancel. General. All in Fabric 'B' but south wall of nave in Fabric 'C', and west wall adjacent to tower in Fabric 'A'. Body of church also plinthed at c.1.0m. Two-centred arched windows with two cinquefoil-traceried lights and small cusped lights above, and hoodmouldings. Three on south side of building, two on north side - all light the nave. Chancel lit by east window of three lights in similar form, and a single lancet in south wall.


Tower. General. Floor flagged; ceiling panelled; brick and concrete steps to belfry. Broken gravestone of 1767 ( of shepherds lost in blizzard) leans against west wall.

Nave. General. Tiled floor, flush wooden block flooring under benches; heating vent grilles beneath carpet in aisle. Panelled roof with tie-beam trusses and ornamental struts. Plastered walls. Two-centred chancel arch with half-round responds and capitals. Six mural slabs and one brass of 19thC; one mural tablet of 1787/1797.

Chancel. General. One step up into chancel, one to sanctuary, one to altar. Tiled floor with carpet. Panelled roof. Plastered walls. Mural slabs relating to one family from 1785, 1816 and 1831.


Church and churchyard occupy a prominent point on the southern lip of the valley of a small steam tributary to the River Alan.

The churchyard has been extended on south side during the present century (1930s?), but its original shape is still discernible as a small polygonal enclosure; only on the north side is its shape dictated by the topography. The ground within the churchyard is level except in the south-east corner where it rises, though this is probably a function of burial within.

Boundary consists of a stone wall, in part a revetment, which may have been rebuilt in places if collapsed material on south-east side is an indication. North of the church are railings and a fence set on the wall stub. The interior raised by at least 1m (on south) to 2m on north.

Monuments: these are of variable density, the largest concentration on the south side of church. New burial in extension to south. Of the older monuments there is one of 1780 south-east of chancel and others that are overgrown, perhaps from the 18thC also. But many are moss-covered and flaking, and difficult to read.

Furniture: none, but a metal pipe with round plate on top, just to south of nave, looks like the support for a sundial.

Earthworks: former boundary on south reflected in scarp <1m high.

Ancillary features: access on south-west provided by modern, double metal gates with tarmac and gravel paths.

Vegetation: several yews of no great age, and a few other coniferous trees within the enclosed area.

Sources consulted

CPAT Field Visit: 22 February 1996
Faculty 1906: NLW/SD/F/336
Haslam 1979, 253
Howse 1949, 249
Click here to view full project bibliography

Please note that many rural churches are closed to the public at certain times. It is advisable to check when the church will be open before visiting. Information about access, or how to contact parish clergy, can often be obtained from the relevant Diocesan Office which can be found through the Church in Wales website. Further information about Llanfihangel Rhydithon Church may also be found on the Swansea and Brecon Diocese website.

The CPAT Radnorshire Churches Survey Project was funded by Cadw as part of an all Wales survey of medieval parish churches.

This HTML page has been generated from the Cadw Churches Survey database & CPAT's Regional Historic Environment Record - 17/07/2007 ( 22:02:45 ).
Further information about this and other churches surveyed is available from the Regional Historic Environment Record, Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 41 Broad Street, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 7RR tel - (01938) 553670, fax - (01938) 552179, email -, website -

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