Betws y Coed – St Michael’s Church


   The church of St. Michael in Betws y Coed was most likely built in the 14th century. In 1843, it underwent a thorough reconstruction, during which, among other things, two annexes were added to it, 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.


   The original medieval church was a simple, aisleless building on a rectangular plan, devoid of external and internal division into the nave and chancel. It was built of uncoursed, erratic stones, on a low plinth, slightly higher on the western side than on the eastern side. The entrance to it led through a simple portal located in the western part of the south wall, with a jamb formed in the archivolt of vertically and diagonally arranged flat stones. Inside, in the eastern part of the northern wall, there was a large pointed arcade made with a carved tombstone of an armed knight inside the recess. The church was covered with an open, wooden roof truss (arch braced collar beams).

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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Salter M., The old parish churches of North Wales, Malvern 1993.
The Royal Commission on The Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions in Wales and Monmouthshire. An Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments in Caernarvonshire, volume I: east, the Cantref of Arllechwedd and the Commote of Creuddyn, London 1956.

Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.