Tal y Llyn – St Mary’s Church


   The exact date of the construction of the church is not known, but probably the oldest part of it, may come from the twelfth century. In the sixteenth century, the chancel was rebuilt, and the side chapel was added in the 17th century. Originally, the church was a chapel of ease of the church in Llanbeulan, but it lost its importance when Tal y llyn village disappeared, probably after the period of the fourteenth-century plague. The building underwent minor modifications in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


   The church was originally a simple, rural building consisting of an aisleless nave, built on a rectangular plan with dimensions of 7.6 x 4 meters, and a late-medieval presbytery measuring 5 x 3.4 meters. A simple entrance portal was placed in the west facade. Between the nave and the presbytery there was an arcade with a slightly shaped ogee arch, probably rebuilt in the 16th century. During this period, some of the windows were also transformed, including a large, three-light window with a rectangular reveal in the eastern wall of the chancel. The remaining, original windows were small, of an unknown form, atypically pierced only on the north side.   The interior was covered with an open, wooden roof truss with slightly curved collar beams and massive rafters.

Current state

   The church is a rare example of a simple sacral building that has survived to the present day without major changes. The early modern modifications only affected the window openings, and a small chapel was added to the southern wall of the chancel already in the post Middle Ages period, but it did not differ stylistically from the rest of the building. The 16th-century three-light window in the eastern wall of the presbytery is the only original opening. The roof truss inside the church dates back to the 15th and 17th centuries. The octagonal baptismal font from the 15th century is also noteworthy.

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Kinross J., Discovering the smallest churches in Wales, Stroud 2007.
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 Monuments in Anglesey, London 1937.