Betws y Coed – St Michael’s Church

History

   The church of St. Michael in Betws y Coed was built in the fourteenth or fifteenth century. In 1843, it underwent a thorough reconstruction, but from 1873 began to decline due to the construction of a new, larger temple in the village. Necessary repairs were carried out only in the 90s of the twentieth century.

Architecture

   The original medieval church was a simple, aisleless building on a rectangular plan. The entrance to it led through a plain portal located in the western part of the south wall, with a jamb formed in the upper part of vertically and obliquely arranged flat stones. Inside, in the eastern part of the northern wall, there was a large pointed arcade placed with a carved effigy of an armed knight inside a niche.

Current state

   The church was significantly transformed in the early modern period by adding a northern chapel and a southern sacristy in 1843. The original, medieval elements are: the southern, pointed portal of the nave and the niche in the northern wall of the presbytery. It houses the effigy of the knight Gruffydd ap Dafydd Goch. The Romanesque baptismal font has also been preserved from the original furnishings.
   The church is open to visitors daily from 10.00 to 17.00, from April to the end of October. During the remaining period, the key is available over opening hours at the Conwy Valley Railway Museum, opposite the church. Although the temple is now officially closed to regular public worship, services are held on St. Michael’s Day in September and at Christmas.

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bibliography:
Salter M., The old parish churches of North Wales, Malvern 1993.

Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.
Website stmichaelsbyc.org.uk, Restoring St. Michael’s Old Church, Betws-y-Coed.