friends of st michaels

Restoration of St. Michael's Old Church in Betws-y-Coed

The aim of the repair work at St Michael’s is to restore the church to its appearance of about the 1850 era. The main problem that we faced was the fact that the roof was leaking, particularly in the roof valleys either side of the north transept, which had led to the collapse of part of the internal ceiling.

In addition, some of the roof timbers were rotten (including one of the main cross beams), the bell cote was in a state of collapse, and the verge coping stones at the three gable ends of the north, west, and east ends of the building were about to fall on unsuspecting passers by!

discussing church restoration work

Friends Chairman Jim Boughton (right) discusses progress with the contractors whilst on the scaffolding

st michaels church betws-y-coed restoration work

Re-pointing the bell cote.

new slate roof

Re-slating the vestry roof.

rotten timbers at church in betws-y-coed

Opening up the roof valleys reveals the rotten timbers underneath.

By 2001, we had raised sufficient funds together with a grant from CADW to pay for all the above work to be done. The roof has now been made watertight, the bell has been re-hung in the repaired bell cote (including turning it round, so it can be rung from inside the church rather than outside), the vestry has been re-slated and the verge copings have all been re-secured.

During the repair work, which was carried out by Emerton Roofing of Nantwich, it was necessary to close the church to visitors for 2½ months in the early summer of 2001.

Following a very generous bequest to the Friends, we were able to proceed with Phase II of the repair work in 2004. We appointed Schärer Conservation of Betws-y-Coed as the main contractor for the work, which involved re-pointing large areas of the exterior, including the whole of the south wall, re-plastering the areas of missing plaster using traditional methods which accounted for some 30% of the internal wall area, rebuilding the soffits above the two west facing windows which had both collapsed, fixing guttering and drainage to the vestry, and providing mains electricity together with concealed heating and discreet and unobtrusive lighting. The project involved erecting a huge scaffold rig inside the building to enable all of the internal walls and ceiling to be worked on, together with digging a trench through the churchyard to bury the mains electricity cable.

More recently, we have re-leaded some of the windows and installed new candle holders. There is, however, still more work to do and Phase III is still ongoing!

internal view before plastering

View of the inside in 2002 showing the areas of plaster which will be replaced.

church with scaffoldingscaffolding by ceiling

Phase II work gets underway in April 2004 with St Michael's full of scaffolding.

contractor and architect

Contractor Ned Schärer and architect Adam Voelcker discuss the project at a site meeting.

inside restored church

Work is almost complete - all it needs now is a clean!

st michaels church betws-y-coed restoration work

Ned busy plastering the ceiling.


On with the top layer of plaster.

digging a trench

Digging the trench through the churchyard for the electricity cable.

church interior interior  

Why not help by joining the Friends of St Michael's?

If you’d like to know more about what we are doing to preserve the church, why not join the Friends of St Michael’s and receive our regular newsletter? Membership costs just £15 per annum (£25 to cover 2 adults at the same address) – join or make a donation now.

home | history | restoration | join here