St Cadfan’s Church, Tywyn

St Cadfan’s Church, Tywyn

This church occupies the site of a clas, an early Christian institution. The clas had its own abbot, a tradition which continued into the 12th century.

It’s thought that Saint Cadfan came to Wales from Brittany in the 6th century and established the monastery on Ynys Enlli (Bardsey) as well as the clas at Tywyn.

Much of the present church dates from the 12th century, although the tower was built after the previous one collapsed in 1692! The church was enlarged in Tudor times and renovated in the 1880s.

Inside the church are stone pillars with inscriptions believed to date from the 9th century. One is particularly significant because it includes Welsh as well as Latin inscriptions – possibly the earliest surviving Welsh script. It was still standing in the churchyard in the late 17th century but moved to private property before returning here in 1914. It is sometimes known as the “Cadfan stone” but has no known connection to St Cadfan.

The other inscribed stone was used as a sundial initially, denoting prayer times. It was reused as a milestone and still bears an inscription recording that it was one mile (c.1.5km) from Tywyn.

There are two medieval effigies inside the church, one of a knight and one of a priest. Both are shown with their feet resting on animals! Their identities aren’t known but the knight is said to be Guffydd ab Adda, of Dolgoch and Ynysmaengwyn. Later owners of the Ynysmaengwyn estate are commemorated by 18th-century memorials in the church.

Also displayed inside is an old cello, played during services before the church received its first organ in 1897.

The church porch has tablets with the names of local people who died in the First and Second World Wars. They are also commemorated by the town’s main war memorial at Bryn-y-Paderau.

Water from a well dedicated to St Cadfan in the north-west corner of the original churchyard was thought to cure skin diseases and rheumatism.

Postcode: LL36 9BS    View Location Map

Church website – Bro Ystumanner ministry area