St Mary’s Church, Betws-y-coed

St Mary’s Church, Betws-y-coed

This church was completed in 1873. Previously services were held at St Michael’s Church, now preserved by a local charity. The ancient building was too small for the growing local population and holidaymakers who wished to worship. St Mary’s Church was built at a cost of £5,000 on a field donated by the Gwydir Estate. This open space had previously been used for fairs, eisteddfodau (festivals centred on Welsh literary and musical competitions), open-air preaching and even cockfighting.

The church was designed by Lancaster-based Paley & Austin and is regarded as one of their finest works. Construction was by local stonemason Owen Gethin Jones, who also built the town’s railway station and other local buildings. He is commemorated by Pont Gethin, the elegant stone viaduct which carries the Conwy Valley railway over the A470 road and river Lledr south of Betws-y-coed.

The tower was completed in 1907. It contains tubular bells which are played from a keyboard in the vestry. The original organ, restored in 1969, is used for services and for the choral concerts which entertain visitors in summer.

The stained glass windows and fittings are explained in a guide on the parish website – follow the link below.

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Parish website