St Michael's, Llanfihangel y Pennant - History
The Church sits in an oval churchyard of Celtic origins and there may have been an earlier church on the site before the present building was erected in the 12th Century. The present building has been altered several times with a probable lengthening of the chancel and the addition of the north chapel in the late 15th or early 16th Century. The roof of the north chapel is original and of special interest. The stained-glass window above the altar was inserted in about 1871 and seating, pulpit, reading desk and communion rails were added in the early 19th Century and in the 1930s. The lychgate is thought to be 17th or 18th Century.
St Michael’s is well-known for its association with Mary Jones and there is more about her in this website. It is also one of the few churches where you will find a Lepers’ Window, allowing sufferers to view the service from outside.
The Church’s Grade II* listing relates to it being a well preserved simple country church retaining medieval fabric, including a good font, unusual post-medieval features including windows, all conservatively restored to maintain its simple character. The font is a scalloped bowl on top a cylindrical column and is thought to be 12th century. It is possible that it came from the chapel in nearby Castell-y-Bere. The Grade II-listed lychgate is a good example of a characteristic type of lychgate used in small rural churchyards in West Wales. Also listed at Grade II in the graveyard is a monument of unusual form, with its associated inscription retaining part of a traditional Roman formula, rare for the period.
At some time in the 20th Century the congregation became too small to allow regular services to be held at the Church and it is now maintained by Bro Ystumanner Ministry Area for the many visitors from all over the UK and from overseas who come to the church, evidenced by Visitors Books dating back to 1981. Donations towards the upkeep of the church are very welcome and there are plans to develop it as a pilgrimage church.