St Peblig’s Church, Llanbeblig
In the 13th century, Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf (Prince Llywelyn the Last) granted this church to Aberconwy Abbey. The building we see today is essentially a 14th-century update of that earlier church. The tower was added in the 15th and 16th centuries. Other alterations were made in later centuries, including a major restoration in 1894.
St Peblig’s remains the parish church for Llanbeblig. In the early 14th century St Mary’s Church, inside the town walls, was created as a chapel of ease for St Peblig’s. The Llanbeblig Book of Hours, dating from c.1400, is kept at the National Library of Wales – you can view it on the library’s website here. It provided a calendar for lay people to follow liturgical routines at home.
Peblig is the Welsh name for Publicius. His father was Magnus Maximus, known in Wales as Macsen Wledig. His mother was Helen, daughter of a Welsh chieftain. According to legend, Macsen saw her in a dream while he slept in Rome, then sent out messengers to find the maiden. Some of them eventually reached Snowdonia. Recognising the mountains and valleys Macsen had seen in the dream, they found Helen. She insisted that if Macsen loved her he would travel from Rome to North Wales.
Macsen ruled the western Roman empire from 383 until his death in 388. Macsen and Peblig are thought to have spent time at the Roman camp of Segontium, the remains of which can be seen a little to the west of the church. It’s said that Peblig founded a church here in 433. The large churchyard probably originated as the Romans’ burial ground.
Inside the Vaynol Chapel are tomb effigies depicting William Griffiths (died 1593) and his wife Margaret (d.1587), he in armour and she in Tudor clothing.
Another notable memorial is the brass plaque for Richard Foxwist (d.1500). It depicts him dying in bed, holding a shield on which are the five sacred wounds of Christ on the cross.
Near the main entrance to the churchyard is the former Sexton's Cottage, dated 1825.