Dolwyddelan – St Gwyddelan’s Church


   The church of St. Gwyddelan was built on the site of an earlier temple around 1500, and between 1570 and 1580 a south chapel was added to it. According to Sir John Wynn of Gwydir, who lived in the 17th century, the church was built by his ancestor Maredudd ap Ieuan, who purchased Dolwyddelan Castle in 1488 and rebuilt the church because was afraid he would be attacked by bandits in an old church far away. Around 1850, the porch and the new belfry were added.


   The church from the beginning of the 16th century consisted of a rectangular nave without an externally separated chancel. Inside the presbytery, the nave was originally separated by an oak rood screen. In the second half of the sixteenth century, a chapel was added on the south side. It was quite unusually opened to the nave with two semicircular arcades supported by a central, cylindrical pillar. The church was topped with an wooden arch-braced truss.

Current state

   St. Gwyddelan is a small and simple, late medieval rural church, valuable due to its original form, without many significant modernizations (porch, bellcote). Noteworthy is the carved dragon placed near the north window. A window from the Tudor period has been preserved on the left side of the porch, in the eastern wall of the nave and in the southern and eastern wall of the chapel. The 19th century openings are the lancet southern windows located on the site of the former entrance and the western window. The northern portal in the porch comes from the 16th century. 

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Salter M., The old parish churches of North Wales, Malvern 1993.

Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.
Website, Church of St. Gwyddelan A Grade I Listed Building in Dolwyddelan, Conwy.

Website, St Gwyddelan’s Church.