Church of St Tanwg
Llandanwg is just the other side of Harlech(south) . Just follow the signs, turn right and follow the road to the bottom. Church is open during the day.
This lovely ancient church is dedicated to St Tanwg who may have founded it. It is thought to date back to 435 AD and is one of the oldest christian foundations in Britain and perhaps the oldest with a continuous Christian history.
Llanganwg at that time was one of the key anchorages in North Wales for reaching Ireland.
It is thought it was founded as part of St Patrick’s communication systems between Britain and Ireland.
The original church on the site is thought to be much smaller and built from stones off the beach, oak timbers and thatch. The remains of the original church may be under the present floor.
The present building is thought to have its roots in the early middle ages late 5th – 10th Century where it was developed over the years with.
In 1839 a new church was built in Harlech and by 1845 the church was only being used for burials. A few years later the roof collapsed and created substantial damage and it said that local fishermen then used it to dry their nets. There is confusion over when the last burial was performed . The last burial is recorded as Lewis Thomos on 14th July 1884 and the general register closed in 1903 , However there is also a note that Emily Jones was buried in 1921 in a separate register for Llandanwg.
In 1884 The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings stated their intention to re roof the building but due to lack of funds this did not happen until after 1890. Further work was done before and after World War ll . In 1879 a major preservation project was completed thanks to the initiative of the parishioners. In 2006 the bell cradle was renewed and in 2008 the original steps to the church were removed and new pathways laid to improve access.
Inside there are some stones of great historical interest .
Ingenvus stone – 8’ long , 5th Century pillar stone , being the 2nd largest stone of its date in Britain. Thought to come from the Wicklow hills in Ireland.
Equester stone – 6th Century
West Gable stone – part of a gravestone built into the west gable, above the door 7th – 9th Century.
Stone Cross – thought to be a focal point in the churchyard 9th Century.
The Gerontius stone – a pillar stone 5 ‘6 high from the early 6th Century.
Ellis Wynne was the rector of Llandanwg from January 1705 until 1711 when he moved to Llanfair. He died in 1734 and was buried at Llanfair. His infant son and wife are buried at Llandanwg. His birthplace is Las Ynys, Harlech , just a short distance up the road.
These days numerous services are held in the church including Christenings, Christmas morning, New year, flower festivals. A wedding was held on the 29th August 1992 and 22nd July 1995 , both by special permission of the Archbishop of Canterbury. First weddings for over a century.
Numerous weddings are now conducted following the church regaining its licence in 2000.
It’s a lovely little church and well worth the drive over there. Awesome walk on the beach to follow and a lovely little cafe which serves lovely coffee, gluten free cakes and awesome pasties. The car park is Gwynedd owned and its pay and display.
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