St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

Date

2 August 2014
Location

Betws-y-Coed

SH 79578 56538; 53.09241°N, 3.79971°W

Information

The Grade II* listed St Michael’s Church, dating back to the 14th century and situated on the banks of the Afon Conwy, is the oldest building in Betws-y-Coed. Three huge yew trees in its churchyard are thought to be around 1000 years old and the church stands on the site of the original ‘Betws’ (prayer house) that gave the village its name.

Thomas Telford put Betws-y-Coed on the map by including it in his mail route from London to Holyhead. The scenic village’s popularity as a tourist destination saw a marked increase once his A5 road through the village opened in the 1820s. The church subsequently became too small to serve the needs of the community and it was therefore enlarged when it was rebuilt in 1843. A further surge in the numbers of visitors came with the opening in 1868 of the LNWR railway station in the village. A second, larger church — St Mary’s — was therefore built in 1873 as a replacement.

During the 20th century the use of St Michael’s declined and by the 1990s the building had fallen into a state of disrepair. It was declared redundant in 1996, but was not de-consecrated — at least two services are still held there annually. The building is leased from the Church in Wales by the charity Friends of St Michael’s, which was founded in 1994 and which has been responsible for its restoration.

Further Reading

Friends of St Michael’s

 

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

The oldest tombstones in the cemetery date back to the 17th century. The religious site itself is, however, much older, with its yew trees being approximately 1000 years old.

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

Reading Desk detail. The pulpit and reading desk are thought to be made from panelling from Gwydir Castle in Llanrwst and were installed during the 1843 rebuild.

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

Effigy of the knight Gruffyd ap Dafydd Goch. This 14th century limestone funerary sculpture would originally have rested on top of a table tomb. There are claims that this local landowner and veteran of the Battle of Poitiers (1356) may have been the great-great-grandson of Llewelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd from 1200-1240. Gruffyd died around 1380.

St Michael's Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

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8 thoughts on “St Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed

  1. Really fine work. You have caught the strange atmosphere of the place perfectly. I love your mastery of the geometric and the way you use texture and reflection on the slate slab grave stones. I have tried to photo this place several times, but I won’t bother now 🙂

  2. Pingback: Vision in Grey | GeoTopoi

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