Llantysilio Church, Llangollen

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Llantysilio Church, near Llangollen

A chapel probably existed here in the 12th century. It was recorded in 1254 as capellanum de Lantesiliau.

The current building, including its oak ceiling and oak lectern, is mostly from the late medieval period. Some elements of the windows date from the 15th century. The north chapel was added in 1718 to cope with an increase in the congregation’s size.

The church is one of several in Wales dedicated to Tysilio, a 7th-century saint who hailed from Powys and lived in various parts of Wales and probably overseas.

Inside the church is a memorial plaque to English poet Robert Browning (1812-1889). He worshipped regularly in the church in 1886, when he stayed for 10 weeks at the Hand Hotel, Llangollen. The plaque was given by his friends in the area, Sir Theodore and Lady Martin of Bryntysilio.

In the 19th century, an annual “Hospital Sunday” service was held in the church to raise money for the local cottage hospital. Guest priests delivered the sermons.

Among the graves in the churchyard is a tomb chest for Thomas Jones of nearby Llantysilio Hall. Several generations of Thomas Joneses owned the hall. The last died, leaving no direct descendants, in 1820. Later that century his coffin was opened – by people hunting for his will! Soon afterwards they were convicted of a criminal offence.

In 1915 six men tried to look inside the tomb but only managed to strip off the ivy and prise open the lid before police were alerted by a vigilant church official. The Thomas Jones who died in 1761 had claimed he was heir to the Pritchard estates, which included the land on which Liverpool's town hall was built. By 1915 the estates were extremely valuable and various people asserted that they were the rightful inheritors of the “Pritchard millions”.

Skeletons exhumed in the 19th century at Valle Crucis Abbey were buried in the churchyard.

Also buried here is German-born Charles Frederick Beyer, co-founder in 1853 of the Beyer Peacock steam-locomotive factory in Manchester. He lived latterly at Llantysilio Hall and died in 1876. One of Beyer Peacock’s early successes, a 4-4-0t loco, was supplied to the Metropolitan Railway (later part of London Underground) and exported to Australia, Spain and Germany. The Cambrian Railways eventually bought some of the Metropolitan locos. Beyer Peacock was later famed for the Beyer Garratt articulated loco, several of which now haul tourist trains on the Welsh Highland Railway (Caernarfon-Porthmadog).

In 1864 a church window was installed here in memory of Charlotte Andrew of Plas Newydd. She and her partner had attempted to continue the tradition of the Ladies of Llangollen. The window was later moved to Trevor Church.

With thanks to Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust

Postcode: LL20 8BT     View Location Map

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