Llangwyfan – St Cwyfan’s Church


   The church at Llangwyfan was erected in the 12th century. Initially, it stood at the end of the peninsula, between two bays. As the years passed, the sea slowly eroded around the coast, cutting off a patch of land and turning it into a small island of Cribinau. Access to the building was provided than by a causeway, but in the nineteenth century, the sea waves came close enough to the building that the church graves began to be washed away into the water. During this period, the church was already in ruin, the walls were roofless and it could not be used. In 1893, a local architect, Harold Hughes, to save the church, collected money, built a breakwater around the island and rebuilt the temple.
The church at Llangwyfan was also a witness of English-Welsh frictions. In 1766 bishop of Bangor appointed Thomas Bowles as a priest in Trefdraeth, which also included the church of St. Cwyfan. Bowles did not know Welsh, and only five out of five hundred people in parish understood English. As a result, the local population protested against his appointment and the case was examined at the bishop’s court in 1773. The judge ruled that priests speaking in Welsh should be sent primarily to a Welsh-speaking parish.


   The church is a simple, rural building consisting of a twelfth-century rectangular nave, without a separate chancel. In the fourteenth century it was extended. In the fifteenth century, the north nave was added with a separate entrance on the north side. It was pulled down in the nineteenth century, and its existence is confirmed only by the traces of three arcades in the north wall of the building. In the east wall there is a 14th-century ogival window, the rest comes from the 15th century, including the window in the northern wall, which was moved after the side nave was demolished.

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Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.
Website anglesey-history.co.uk, Llangwyfan – St Cwyfan’s Church.
Website coflein.gov.uk, St Cwyfan’s church, Llangwyfan.