St Tanwg’s Church, Llandanwg

St Tanwg’s Church, Llandanwg

This small church, amid the sand dunes, has relics from early Christianity. It’s dedicated to St Tanwg, one of nine sons of Ithel Hael of Brittany. In the 6th century Tanwg went to the religious community on Ynys Enlli (Bardsey) and may have established a hermit’s cell here.

Inside there are three stones with inscriptions from the 5th or 6th century. One bears the Latin inscription EQUESTRINOMINE. The first half could relate to the name of the grave’s occupant. Another stone, probably from a few centuries later, has an ancient cross scratched into its surface and is built into the western gable wall.

The current church is medieval. The nave probably dates from the 13th century. There were extensions and alterations in the 15th and 17th century. The font (15th century) was moved to the new St Tanwg’s Church in Harlech in 1841.

The original churchyard is largely covered by sand. The bard Siôn Phylip was buried there in 1620 after he drowned near Pwllheli while returning from Caernarfonshire to his home near Llandanwg. He left a widow and six children, some of whom became poets. Hundreds of Siôn’s poems survive, including a cywydd (a type of ode) about a herring gull!

In Victorian times, the church stood roofless and battered by wind-blown sand. In 1883 it was reported that fishermen would spread their nets over the gravestones. Later that decade it was re-roofed and restored by conservationists. Today the church is Grade 1-listed and is in the care of the Church in Wales.

Postcode: LL46 2SD    View Location Map

Church website

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