Llangernyw – St Digain’s Church


   The Church of St. Digain in Llangernyw was probably built in the 13th century, in the place of an early mediaeval temple, erected in accordance with tradition by Saint Digain. In the late medieval period the building was probably enlarged by transept, as indicated by its shape on the plan of the cross. In 1720 and again in the nineteenth century, the church was renovated, which unfortunately was associated with the removal of the original equipment and most architectural details, such as windows. In this period, a porch, south-western sacristy and buttresses supporting the bellcote were added.


   The medieval church consisted of a thirteenth-century nave on a rectangular plan and a presbytery, also rectangular, of a of similar width. At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, the building was enlarged with the shallow but wide arms of the transept and a new, very short, four-sided chancel. Thanks to this, the church obtained the shape of a building on a Latin cross plan, rarely found in the region of North Wales, where simple, undeveloped structures dominated. The interior of the church was traditionally covered with a wooden, open roof truss. The entrance to it was originally located in the western part of the southern wall of the nave.

Current state

   The present building has not retained any original windows, although the early modern jambs and traceries give the impression that it were probably modeled on the original windows during the replacement. The sacristy on the south side and the northern porch are contemporary annexes, but in the sacristy the 15th-century entrance portal has been preserved.  Inside the church, a late-medieval roof truss and a 15th-century baptismal font have survived. South of the church is a pair of standing stones, one of which has a carved cross, probably made in the 7th-9th centuries, and the other has a cross dating from the 9th – 11th centuries.

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Salter M., The old parish churches of North Wales, Malvern 1993.
The Royal Commission on The Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions in Wales and Monmouthshire. An Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments in Wales and Monmouthshire, IV County of Denbigh, London 1914.

Website cpat.demon.co.uk, Church of St Digain, Llangernyw.