St Mary’s Church, Llanfair Talhaiarn

 
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St Mary’s Church, Llanfair Talhaiarn

Taxation records from 1291 list this church as being in Lanveyrdalhaern and Lanveyr Dalhaeayn. Tailhaiarn was reputedly a saint and bard in the 5th century, but there’s no evidence that this church was originally dedicated to him.

The structure of the church we see today largely dates from rebuilding in the 19th century. Parts of the earlier structure have survived, including elements of the roof and, probably, the south wall.

Unusually, the church has a tank where people could be baptised through immersion. There are also three fonts, of varying antiquity. On the 17th-century door is a sanctuary ring. People could gain immunity from justice by grabbing hold of sanctuary rings on church doors but on condition they would then leave Britain, carrying a cross with them and going straight to the nearest port. If there were no imminent sailings to foreign lands, they would have to wade into the water each day they waited.

Buried in the churchyard is poet and architect John Jones, born at the nearby Harp Inn (now a house) in 1810. He’s best known today for some of his songs and satirical verses. Starting as a joiner, he rose to be a supervisor in the construction of London’s Crystal Palace and of some large buildings in France. Suffering from arthritis, he retired to his home village and shot himself at the Harp Inn in 1869.

In 1747 the parishioners agreed that anyone who brought a dog into the church during divine service would be fined one shilling. Two years later, the sexton was granted quarterly payment “for keeping the church clear of ’em” and a stool to sit on by the church door, where he would be ready to intercept four-legged interlopers.

Where is this HiPoint?

Parish website