St Carannog’s Church, Llangrannog


Link to French translationSt Carannog’s Church, Llangrannog

This church was built in 1884 on the foundations of a medieval church. The font bowl may date from the 13th century.

The church is dedicated to St Carannog (or Crannog), an early Christian who occupied a nearby cave – ogof in Welsh. The village’s name denotes the walled enclosure or church of Crannog.

The church was recorded as Gogof in 1284, Gogoff in 1535 and other variants. Ogof also provides the last element of nearby Llandysiliogogo. Llangrannog’s church was a chapel in Llandysiliogogo parish before becoming a parish church in its own right.

In 1843 the Rev Eleazar Evans, vicar of Llangrannog, was threatened with a visit from “Rebecca and 500 or 600 of her daughters”. Since 1839 tollgates and other property in West Wales had been attacked by men disguised in women’s clothing who called themselves merched Beca (“Rebecca’s daughters”), protesting over grievances including tithes – payments by farmers to support the Anglican church.

Many Nonconformists (who worshipped in chapels) had contributed money for a new school in the parish. The Rev Evans had the building consecrated for Anglican church services, for people who found St Carannog’s Church hard to reach (he’d previously preached to them in a farmhouse).

The threatening anonymous letter, posted in Carmarthen in June 1843, demanded the vicar return the money donated for the school and complained about the parish tithe, which had increased by £27. In the same month, the parish tithe collector was put up for sale at a mock auction in Llangrannog. The winning bidder was the devil. Later the vicar was beaten up, suffering broken ribs, for giving evidence to the Rebecca Riots inquiry.

Buried in the churchyard is Sarah Jane Rees, better known by her bardic name Cranogwen. She was born at Dolgoy Fach Farm, Llangrannog, in 1838 to a ship’s captain. After her schooling in Ceredigion and Liverpool, she worked on her father’s coastal cargo vessel for about two years, from the age of 15. Returning to land, she resumed studying and obtained her master mariner’s certificate.

She became a teacher in Llangrannog and passed on her seafaring knowledge to boys destined for careers at sea. Her poetry won eisteddfod competitions, and she founded and edited a women’s magazine, Y Frythones. She lectured in the USA. She was also a musician, preacher and temperance campaigner. She died in 1916.

With thanks to Prof Hywel Wyn Owen, of the Welsh Place-Name Society, for place-name information

Postcode: SA44 6SB    View Location Map

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