Tywyn – St Cadfan’s Church

History

According to the chronicle of Brut y Tywysogion, the original temple in Tywyn was destroyed by the Vikings in 963. The present church of St. Cadfan was erected in the 12th century. In 1693, the church tower collapsed, destroying the southern transept and part of the southern wall of the presbytery. In 1735-1737 a new tower was built, however, it was erected on the west side of the nave, which was also shortened. During the renovation of 1881-1884, the new tower was pulled down, the worn chancel and the transepts were thoroughly rebuilt and a new tower was erected at intersection of the naves.

Architecture

The church consists of a three-nave corpus in the form of a basilica, a rectangular chancel on the east, north and south transepts and a tower at the intersection of naves. Originally the nave was about 4 meters longer towards the west. Apart this difference, the current layout of the building corresponds to its medieval appearance, however, the 12th-century, medieval substance is located only in the central nave and aisles, the rest is largely the result of the nineteenth-century renovations. Inside the church you can see two carved stones from the 8th/9th century. On the Cadfan Stone there are the earliest inscriptions in Welsh: “Tegrumui married wife of Adgan (lying) near But Marciau”, “here lie three”, “Cun wife of Celen, loss and grief remain”, “here lie four”. On the second stone, there is a hole at the top, in which the peg was originally embedded, defining time by the sun. In addition, inside the church can see the 14th-century tombstone of the priest and knight Gruffud ap Adda.

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bibliography:
Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.
Website britishlistedbuildings.co.uk, Church of St Cadfan A Grade I Listed Building in Tywyn, Gwynedd.
Website coflein.gov.uk, Tywyn 4 St Cadfan’s church, Tywyn.