St Doged’s Church, Llanddoged
The current church was remodelled in 1838-1839 but some of its 16th-century features survived, including windows and wood panelling. The font is medieval.
The church is dedicated to King Doged who lived and in the 5th century and, according to legend, was killed by a ruler called Cilydd simply so that the latter could steal the king’s wife! Cilydd was father of Culhwch, who features in the Mabinogion tale Culhwch and Olwen. Cilydd’s own wife had died in childbirth. She asked him on her deathbed not to remarry until he saw a double-headed thorn growing beside her grave. He saw such a plant seven years later and appropriated King Doged’s wife, who went with her daughter to live in Cilydd’s court.
The king’s remains may have been buried in the walled area which now forms the churchyard. Ffynnon Ddoged, a well dedicated to Doged, is about 50 metres north of the church, beside the entrance to the cul-de-sac called Ffynnon Ddoged. The well water was once thought to cure eye complaints.
The pews inside the church are arranged in square “boxes” – a layout often found in chapels but rare in Anglican churches. The pews were installed during the 1830s rebuilding, when Rev Thomas Davies and his friend Rev David Owen, of nearby Eglwysbach, were eager to stem the drift of Welsh people to Nonconformist chapels. You can still see the words “boys and girls” by the tiered seating at the western end.
Some of the memorials in the church date from the 17th and 18th centuries. Several relate to the Kyffin family, who became major landowners after David Kyffin, rector of Llanddoged, bought some of the Maenan Abbey lands after it was dissolved in the 16th century.
Plaques in the church porch commemorate the local men who died in the First and Second World Wars.