St Tysilio’s Church, Menai Bridge

Link to French translationSt Tysilio’s Church, Menai Bridge

Old photo of Church Island with farm
Old photo of Church Island with farm on right
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021

The small medieval building on Church Island marks the site of a religious cell established by St Tysilio in the late 6th century or early 7th. He moved here to get away from his father, a prince of Powys who had wanted Tysilio to be a leader in his army.

The current building is thought to date from the early 15th century. Its roof is a rare example on Anglesey of construction with cruck trusses (curved timbers rising from the ground to the upper part of the roof). Inside the church you can see an ancient font which reputedly dates from the 14th century.

The church was supplanted in the 1850s by the new St Mary’s Church, which was closer to the town and its growing population. The old church continued to be used for occasional events. In August 1892 a curate visiting from Cardiff had to preach at the church door because only part of the large congregation could fit inside, the remainder sitting in the churchyard.

Old photo of St Tysilio's ChurchMost of Church Island was occupied by a farm (see upper photo) until August 1918, when the Bishop of Bangor consecrated the whole island for burials. This was possible because the Marquis of Anglesey had given the land to the church when the farm’s lease expired. At the time the bishop suggested that the island’s rocky outcrop be topped with a memorial to the local people who had died in the First World War. You can see the memorial there today.

Click here to discover the interesting graves featured in our mini-tour of the churchyard.

Also buried here are some of the men who died while constructing the Britannia Bridge. A small plaque near the entrance to the churchyard commemorates men who died in construction of the Menai Suspension Bridge but this is a relatively recent memorial and local historians are unsure of its accuracy.

With thanks to the Royal Collection Trust for the photo showing the farm on the island

Postcode: LL59 5HD    View Location Map

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