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St Michael's Church, Golden Grove

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Map ReferenceSN51NE
Grid ReferenceSN5897219714
Unitary (Local) AuthorityCarmarthenshire
Old CountyCarmarthenshire
CommunityLlanfihangel Aberbythych
Type Of SiteCHURCH
PeriodPost Medieval
St Michael's Church is situated within a roughly circular churchyard, in Golden Grove Park, some 900m east-south-east of Golden Grove Mansion (NPRN 17391). St Michael's Church was a parish church during the post-conquest period, belonging to the Deanery of Stradtowy. The rectory was in the gift of Talley Abbey. After the dissolution the church fell into private patronage. In 1833 the living was a perpetual curacy in the patronage of Earl Cawdor, endowed with £200 private benefaction, £400 royal bounty and £800 parliamentary grant. According to local tradition, the original site of the church was on the towy floodplain, to the north of the present site. There is a lych gate in the north-east churchyard boundary. The former church school (NPRN 417971) is locate dsome 20m north of the north churchyard boundary.

Nothing remains of the pre-nineteenth century church, thought to have been a small church with north transept. It is thought to have been constructed in 1617 by Sir JOhn Vaughan. It was repaired in 1753 by his descendant, the hon. John Vaughan. The church was remarkable for the region, as it had a timber bellcote/turret, which rose from the floor of the nave west bay and emerged through the roof.

The church was entirely rebuilt around 1850, to the designs of Sir George Gilbert Scott, in the same location and on the same site as its predecessor. It is constructed of squared and coursed Old Red Sandstone rubble, and consists of three-bayed nave, two-bayed chancel, north transept, north porch, vestry and bellcote/turret. In the later twentieth century a boiler was installedin the vestry. Its below-ground oil tank is located between the vestry and the chancel north wall. Openings are all neo-gothic, with dressings in sandstone and grey oolite. There are external buttresses at the east and west ends. The present bellcote/turret is a faithful copy of the original. It is louvred throughout, and has a fish-scale slated spire, supported on internal timbers. There is a disused chimney in the north transept gable end.

Sources include:
Cambria Archaeology, 2000, Carmarthenshire Churches, gazetteer, 48

N Vousden, RCAHMW 29 April 2013