St Michael and All Angels Church
St Michael and all Saints was designed by G E Street, R.A., and built as a gift to the new Parish of Dafen by leading local employers, Messrs Phillips, Nunes and Company of Dafen Tinplate Works. Construction started in 1870, and was completed by 1874. It was consecrated and dedicated by the Bishop of St. David’s in September of that year. From 1854 Phillips, Nunes and Company employed a curate for the community. The church remained under a curate when Dafen became a parish in 1874. In 1879 its first vicar was appointed.
The church is a Grade II* listed building, constructed of local brown sandstone, randomly coursed with a rock faced finish, and with dressings of Bath limestone ashlar. Gothic Revival in style, Dafen church was designed to be seen from the north side. It has a nave and chancel of almost equal height, steep-roofed, with a thin octagonal open bell turret terminating as a spire marking the junction. The north aisle has a shallower roof pitch, flanked by the gabled block of the vestry to the left and the entrance porch to the right. Further colour contrast comes from the Whitland Abbey green slate roof, with a red tile ridge, laid in graded courses. The detailing is of increasing elaboration as one proceeds towards the chancel end. There are crossed corner-buttresses to the nave and chancel gables, and one intermediate buttress on the north and south sides at the chancel-wall position, masking the slight change of width of the building. The nave and the chancel both have two additional buttresses on the south side. The nave buttresses have sloping offsets and tops; while the chancel ones have additional offsets and gables at top. There are original cast-iron rainwater heads and downpipes, but the gutters have been replaced.
The interior was designed for 300 persons. The interior is of dark grey sandstone with a pecked finish, coarsely jointed, contrasting with limestone ashlar dressings painted white. The windows are linked by a string course. The porch opens into the west end of the north aisle as well as into the nave, and there is an arcade of three arches with octagonal pillars. The nave roof is of four bays with braced collar beam trusses in pitch pine. The chancel roof is of facetted barrel form, in panels separated by ribs. The chancel arch is wide and of two orders. There are two steps up, with a low wall each side with trefoiled panels, and a stone pulpit to the right. The pulpit has quatrefoil pierced openings at front and stands on a base with dark marble colonnettes. There are carved oak choir stalls, and altar rail on wrought-iron standards, a Sienna marble reredos with cross centrepiece, green and gilt wall-tiles each side, two sedilia and a piscina under trefoil heads with dark marble colonnettes and a Gothic altar table, carved (by their sister) as a memorial to Ellen and Kate Harries (1932). Four stained glass windows made by Clayton and Bell, probably to Street’s design, were installed before the consecration. Street’s windows are to the east and west, and the two south windows of the nave. The east window is of three lights and comprises Christ Crucified with St Mary and St John. The life of Christ is shown in the west window, in many scenes from Annunciation to Ascension, with coming of the Holy Spirit and Christ in Majesty. The south window near the pulpit shows scenes from the parables, and the other shows the miracles. The other stained glass windows are in the south wall of the chancel and three at north of the aisle, all mid-twentieth c. Those in the chancel show Christ in Majesty and the Good Shepherd and King David with musicians. One in the north aisle is a war memorial, showing the Blessed Virgin Mary with the infant Christ in one light and with St Anne in the other. The second shows St George and St Michael. The third shows Christ blessing the children. The other stained glass is of mid-C20 date, as are the organ, installed in 1910, and the altar table, installed in 1932. The lectern was Mr Street’s gift to the church. The north aisle windows are two-light, with plate-tracery and trefoil heads to the lights, the apex of the arch voussoirs being truncated at the eaves. The window to the vestry gable is similar but of three lights in an outer arch. The main entrance door is equilateral-pointed with a simple moulding. The windows on the south side are much larger; those of the nave have four lights with tracery, without labels; those to the chancel of two lights but with labels. The east window has three wide lights, labels with floral stops, and is the only window to stand clear of the string course. One consecration cross is carved on a stone at the foot of the wall beneath the vestry window.
Our normal weekly services are
8am Holy Eucharist
10.30am Sung Eucharist
(1st Sunday family service, 3rd Sunday Bilingual, 5th Sunday Morning Prayer)
6pm Sung Evensong and Sermon (1st and 3rd Sunday)
Hwyrol Weddi a Phregeth (2nd and 4th Sunday)
Sung Eucharist (5th Sunday)
10.30am Holy Eucharist