St. Michael was probably built in the 12th century, and in the 13th century it was enlarged with a chancel. In the fifteenth century, the chancel was slightly widened and the nave was rebuilt. In the 17th century, the building was enlarged with a porch. The church was renovated in 1887 and then in 1957.
The church was built as a simple, rural aisleless building, consisting only of a long, four-bay, rectangular nave, without an externally separated chancel and without a tower. The chancel was added in the 13th or possibly in the 14th century, it was shorter and lower, two-bay, ended with a straight wall from the east, and an arcade from the west. In the fifteenth century, after dismantling the northern and partly eastern walls, it was widened to the north, so that the entire building lost its symmetry. The entrance to the church led from the west, through the early Gothic portal.
Apart from the small fragments of the nave’s southern wall, the church has preserved walls from various periods of the Middle Ages. The porch added to the western façade is probably already an early modern element, although stylistically it does not differ from the medieval parts. Some of the windows were transformed (eastern in chancel, southern in the nave), while some come from the Middle Ages (northern in the nave and presbytery).
Inside the nave, a magnificent roof truss from the 15th century, one of the two survived in south-west Wales, has been preserved. Also noteworthy is the 13th-century baptismal font in the porch, transferred here from Cenarth, another medieval, square baptismal font in the church and the original, narrow, pointed windows in the chancel wall.
Salter M., The old parish churches of South-West Wales, Malvern 2003.
Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.
Website britishlistedbuildings.co.uk, Church of St Michael A Grade I Listed Building in Penbryn, Ceredigion.
Website coflein.gov.uk, St Michael’s church, Penbryn.