St Hilary’s Church, Llanilar

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St Hilary’s Church, Llanilar

This church is thought to date from the 14th century. The churchyard’s circular shape suggests that an enclosure with a religious cell at its centre – known as a llan – was founded here in the early centuries of Welsh Christianity. The church’s dedication is either to Hilary, bishop of the French city of Poitiers, or to an early Welsh Christian called Ilar.

The medieval church building was modified during restoration in the 1870s. In the porch is a stone with Celtic carving which was previously at Gaer Maesmynach, a hillfort near Lampeter.

The tower was probably higher originally, and reduced in the 19th century. It has two bells. One dates from c.1350 and was previously in the church at Rhosygarth and moved to Llanilar when the church was abandoned after the Second World War. This is thought to be the oldest functioning church bell in Wales.

According to tradition, Henry Tudor and the nucleus of his army passed through Llanilar in August 1485 on their way from Pembrokeshire to the Battle of Bosworth. It’s said that the future King Henry VII mounted his horse by standing on a stone which you can still see today by the churchyard gateway. He reputedly spent the night at Llidiardau, a large house c.1.4km east of Llanilar, while his men slept in the church.

Postcode: SY23 4SA    View Location Map

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