Pilgrim Churches of the Llyn Peninsula

St Hywyn’s Church, Aberdaron

The last stop on the pilgrim route to Bardsey Island and an idyllic situation above the beach

St Hywyn, a 6thC Celtic saint, is thought to have established a small oratory here. The present church dates from 1137 when Gruffudd ap Cynan, King of Gwynedd, replaced the earlier wooden structure with stone. The north aisle and west doorway date from this time. It became a sanctuary church where disputes could be settled and fugitives could not be ejected for 40 days and nights.

Overlooking the beach, the church was the final stop on the pilgrim route to Bardsey Island and was enlarged in the C15th when the south aisle was added. It is a low two aisle stone building with a single bell cote. Constant erosion by the sea means the grave yard is protected by a substantial sea wall which has metal railings along the top. It can be exposed here and the slate roof of the church is held down by stone slabs along the ends.

Aberdaron Church

Entry is through a Norman doorway at the west end which has three eroded round arches.

Aberdaron Church

Inside it is a simple building with octagonal pillars with low round arches separating the two aisles which have a wooden truss roof.

Aberdaron Church

There are simple altars at the ends of the aisles. Chairs now replace the pews in the south aisle although some of the old pews are  arranged in a semi-circle in the north aisle.

Aberdaron Church

There is an octagonal stone font between the pillars and and a highly carved dark wood pulpit.

Aberdaron Church  Aberdaron Church

At the back of the church is a small exhibition about the poet R.S.Thomas who was vicar of the parish from 1967 to 1978.

A lot of money has been spent on the church since we last visited. The church always felt cold and damp. The roof has been repaired and problems with damp have been addressed. Plaster has been removed from the walls exposing the stonework. The church now feels warm.

The church is open throughout the year and there is parking in the National Trust car park in the village. The nearest post code is LL53 8BE. The grid reference is SH173264.

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