Meilfod Church

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Meilfod Church

Linguistic origins describe a relationship to 'Mai fod' being 'the dwelling on the floor in the Vale'. Alternatively it has been suggested to be the May/Summer inhabitation. There is a notice on the southern entrance door of the church which describes Meilfod as an 'ancient Cathedral Church'. In turn it has received two dedications being that to St Tysilo and St. Mary. An earlier one is to another church dedicated to St Gwyddfarch that was still visible in the 17th century.

St Tysilo is the next person connected to Miefod, being of royal decent from Brochwel Ysgythrog, Prince of Powys whose seat was located at Shrewsbury, before it was lost to the Anglo Saxons c. 750. Again tradition has Tysilo being educated at Bangor is Coed which was the seat of learning for Powys until the Battle of Chester c. 613. Meifod develop as the main religious centre of Powys and continues until the arrival of the Cistercians and the foundation of Vale Crusis in the late 12th Century.


The church has retained its traditional rectangular shape as no cruciform shape has been imposed on the building. The earliest archaeological remains date to the 11th Century being the pillars and arches constructed in red sandstone; it is not a local material and has been acquired from outside the area. (Date could be incorrect and could relate to the 12th century, with the re dedication of the church by Madog ap Muredudd 1154 to St Mary.) Other parts of the building such as the bell tower indicate 16th century reconstruction on the south side. The north face is dated to the 19th century. 



The general personal feelings indicate the area of the bell tower leading up the three additional aisles are extensions to the original church site. This in fact is supported that the 19th century uncovering of a vault under the eastern Chancel rails. A vault is said to have been uncovered under the floor enclosed within the 16th century building construction. It is from this area, what has been described as a coffin lid was uncovered that now adorns the west wall on the south aisle. It became commonly known as the "Miefod Cross" and was described by Archdeacon in the late 19th century in the history of St. Asaph. Alternatively it has been argued, that this is the decorative cover of the coffin in which Madog ap Muredud remains rested.

Original October 2003

Last Updated: July 17, 2005