The dragon, the forest, and the archangel
St Michael the Archangel, leader of heavenly armies, is reputed to have fought a war in heaven against Lucifer, and is usually portrayed with a sword in his hand subduing the Devil in the form of a writhing dragon at his feet and, in fact, within the boundaries of the old county of Radnorshire there are ten churches dedicated to St. Michael.
However, this area has an extra special need for protection due to the old belief that a fearsome dragon – the last dragon in Wales – lives within the Radnor Forest, and indeed five St Michael churches surround it- the “Radnor Ring”
Llanfihangel (St Michael) Nant Melan – a 12th century church in a setting which predates it as can be seen by the ancient yews in the church yard.
Llanfihangel Cefnllys – partially 13th century but well restored!
Llanfihangel Rhydithon – now wholly Victorian.
Llanfihangel Discoed – where the yew, one of the five oldest in the UK, suggests a pre-Christian past.
Llanfihangel Cascob – is medieval in origin, possibly built on a pre-Christian sacred site and the tower is built over what may be a large prehistoric burial mound. Sheep graze the church yard. Inside the church is a framed ‘abracadabra’ spell. The story goes of local girl, Elizabeth Lloyd, for whom the spell was used in the 18th Century to free her from ‘witchcraft’ and ‘all Evil spirites and all evil men of women or Wizards’’.
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