St Michael's Church, Llanfihangel Crucorney
It’s thought that a church was established on this site c.800AD. The first stone church was built in medieval times, and part of the existing nave’s western wall is believed to date from the 12th century. Other medieval remnants include the stone altar table and the base of the tower, which was extended upwards later, perhaps in the 17th century.
A monk from Abergavenny priory would take services here on Sundays, until the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century. After that, tithes (church taxes) in the form of corn and hay from this parish were used to support the King Henry VIII Grammar School in Abergavenny.
In 1834 a public subscription raised funds for rebuilding works. As parts of the old church were demolished, a stone came to light on which was an image of the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus, and a crucifixion scene on the reverse side. Further rebuilding in the 1880s altered the church’s windows and many other features.
If you stand in the nave and look west, you can see a window in the base of the tower which aligns with a window on the far wall of the tower (the church’s external wall). These were positioned so that on Michaelmas (the Feast of St Michael and All Angels, 29 September) the setting sun would shine through both windows and illuminate the altar at the opposite end of the nave.
In 1974 an earth tremor caused the nave roof, dating from 1835, to move southwards. The roof was removed for safety reasons. The chancel was sealed off and used for services for more than two years, while a new roof was built over part of the nave. The rest of the nave was open to the elements until 2004, when the remainder of the nave roof was rebuilt.
The church’s oldest monument is to John Williams Parry (d.1653), who was a local magistrate. The east window, in memory of Imogen Hall of Llanfihangel Court, is by Charles Eamer Kempe, who became a renowned stained-glass artist after his speech impediment stopped him becoming a priest.
In the churchyard is Fanny Price, who worked at the nearby Skirrid Mountain Inn. She died, aged 35, in 1875 and her ghost is said to haunt the pub. See the map below if you’d like to find her grave.
The church tower has two 18th-century bells. The church contains war memorials to people from the parish who died in the First and Second World Wars.
Postcode: NP7 8DH View Location Map