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Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Llangelynnin Church

 Llangelynnin Church

Had a quick trip with my mate Paul to this little church high in the hills above Conwy, a place I've wanted to visit and photograph for a long time but never got round to it for some reason. This church can be found at OS Grid ref:- SH751737.the access is via a narrow single track road from Tal y Cafn and Henryd village and is clearly sign posted from the road.There is limited parking at the end of the road.

Llangelynnin Church (Welsh: Eglwys Llangelynnin) is possibly one of the remotest churches in Wales , and is amongst the oldest; the church at Llanrhychwyn further up the valley, is a little older. Saint Cylenin to whom the church is dedicated lived in the 6th century and probably established the first religious settlement here. It lies at a height of just over 900 feet above the village of Henryd in the Conwy valley, in the shelter of Tal y Fan (610m), a small hill to the south-west.
A small and simple building, it probably dates from the 12th century (although some sources cite the 13th century), and was probably pre-dated by an earlier church of timber construction.

The porch was added in the 15th century, and has an unusual 'squint window' in the east wall.  Repairs to the porch roof were made usingYew wood, and therefore it is quite possible that these came from the churchyard, which at one time contained trees. The door hinges and threshold date from the 14th century, although the door itself is more recent.
The nave is the oldest part of the church, dating from the 12th century, and the present chancel was added later, probably in the 14th century. Originally the nave would not have been paved, as it is today, and indeed, the rear of the north chapel remains unpaved even today. The roof contains dark oak rafters.
The north transept was added in the 15th century and was known as Capel Meibion, the "men's chapel". The window at the back of the chapel was a more recent addition.This name may derive from the drovers who passed by and shelterd and worshiped at the church, the 'Capel Meibion'would allow the local congregation to be separate from the drovers whom they though of as not the most clean and trustworthy of visitors.
Opposite the north transept, a south transept was also added, probably in the 16th century. This was called Capel Eirianws (meaning "Plum Orchard", the name of a local farm), whose owner possibly had it built. This chapel was demolished in the 19th century, but some remains are still visible from outside.
The present east window dates from the 15th century, and replaced a smaller 14th century window.
Since demolition of the south chapel (and the gallery) in the 19th century, the church has changed little.


The twist-turned altar rails and the altar screen date from the 17th century. The removal of a pulpit to the left of the altar revealed inscriptions on the east wall, and further removal of whitewash revealed the Creed the Lord's Prayer and theTen Commandments, in Welsh. The inscription "Fear God and honour the King", together with scrollwork, can clearly be seen today, as can a skull and cross-bones! this may not be aluding to pirates but to the drovers as many drovers grave stones have skull and cross-bones carved on them The Welsh version of the Lord's Prayer, on the sill, is hardly visible, after vandalism.
The remains of the rood screen in front of the more recent lectern date from the 14th century, and would have separated the nave from the chancel. The church once had arood loft and gallery, and the remains of these can be seen in on the nave walls, and from the beam at the back of the church. The gallery was demolished in the 19th century.
The reader's desk possibly dates from the 16th century, although the door is more recent.
The wooden benches in the nave date from the 18th century, although at least one bench in the church dates from 1629. One bench (at the front of the north chapel) still bears the initials R.O.B., this being the Reverend Owen Bulkeley, a former rector, who died in 1737. A church terrier of 1742 records a particular bench which was used by women only.
Just inside the church, on the wall, is a holy water stoup used until the 19th century for making the sign of the Cross. At the back of the church is an octagonal font, which probably dates from the 13th or 14th century. The bell has no inscription and its date is therefore unknown.
On the wall in the nave is a bier, used to carry the dead to the churchyard.

1 comment:

  1. I like the bag of moonlight you threw over the first shot Ken :-))