St Michael's Church, Betws-y-coed
St Michael’s Church, Betws-y-coed
The tidy condition of this church is testament to the efforts of volunteers who reversed the results of over a century of neglect. St Michael’s Church is Betws-y-coed’s oldest building. It dates from the 14th century, and probaby replaced an even earlier prayer building (a “bede house” or “betws” in Welsh). Among the memorials inside is a life-sized stone carving of Gruffydd ap Dafydd Goch in battle armour. He lived locally and was buried here, probably between 1370 and 1380. He was probably related to Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the last indigenous Prince of Wales, and fought in the Battle of Poitiers for the Black Prince (son of King Edward III).
The arrival of Telford’s London-Holyhead road (now the A5) and later the railway line greatly increased tourism in Betws-y-coed, and the town expanded quickly – on the opposite side of the railway from St Michael’s. St Mary’s Church was opened in 1873, in a more central location than St Michael’s, which received little maintenance until the Friends of St Michael’s was formed in 1994. The group drew attention to the building’s leaking roof and general dilapidation, and raised funds for restoration.
The church was declared redundant in 2000 but remains consecrated. It’s now leased from the Church in Wales by the Friends’ registered charity. A service is held at the church on St Michael’s Day, 29th September, and a carol service at Christmas.
Postcode: LL24 0AL
Website of the Friends of St Michael's Church