St. Michael in Gwent J. Daryll Evans To those who know St. Michael's name only as a trademark of Marks and Spencer, the extent of the archangel's popularity in the past may come as a surprise. That he occupied a prominent place in the thoughts and prayers of our forebears is demonstrated by the number of churches dedicated to him in Gwent-sixteen of them in all. Seven have Welsh names. In that language Michael becomes Mihangel, which mutates in combination with Llan, to give Llanfihangel, St. Michael's church. With so many Llanfihangels, each of them needs a second part to the name in order to distinguish it from the others. Thus we have Llanfihangel Gobion, Llanfihangel Crucorney, Llanfihangel- ystern-llewern, Llanfihangel Llantarnam, Llanfihangel tor-y-mynydd, Llanfihangel juxta Rogiett and Llanfihangel Pontymoel. The first three in this list are mentioned in documents of the thirteenth century. At that time two valuations of clerical incomes were undertaken. The Valuation of Norwich (named after the Bishop of Norwich, who with two other prelates supervised the project) was in 1254. It records "Ecclesia Sancti Michaelis iuxta Usk", known today as Llanfihangel nigh Usk or Llanfihangel Gobion, and "Sancti Michaelis de Crukorn", which is Llanfihangel Crucorney. The Valuation of Pope Nicholas IV, produced in 1291, has another Llanfihangel-"Lanvyhangel Estelweon", the scribe's approximation to Llanfihangel-ystern-llewern. Four other Michael churches are listed in these sources, but with no indication of their locations. They are likely to be the remaining churches given above-with one exception. That exception is Llanfihangel Pontymoel, known until the late sixteenth century as Cilgoegan. The older name means "the cell of Coegan", and refers to the hermit who built a rude shelter where the present church now stands. So the fourth "Ecclesia Sancti Michaelis" cannot be Llanfihangel Pontymoel: it is probably Michaelstone-y-Fedw. Of the remaining dedications familiar today, two are of Roman Catholic churches. The others belong to the Church in Wales. They are: Lower Machen, Mitchel Troy, Glascoed, Tintern Parva, Gwernesney and Abertillery (the only recent foundation amongst them). In addition to these there have been others, now long disappeared. One stood at the summit of the Skirrid. (Many Michael churches are to be found on hill-tops, though not generally in Gwent.) The Pope Nicholas Valuation reveals another "Lamyhangel" which once stood in the rural deanery of Usk. The parish