Pilgrim Churches of the Llyn Peninsula

St Bueno’s Church, Clynnog Fawr - Part 1

Some history and the outside

St Bueuno’s Church is a splendid perpendicular church which dominates the small settlement of Clynnog Fawr on the north coast of the Llyn Peninsula. It was built at a strategic point at the north end of a pass through the mountains to the south coast of the peninsula. 

St Bueno was one of the most important of the early saints and descended from the Princes of Powys. He founded a monastery here in the C7th which became an important centre of learning with the Abbot entitled to a seat in the court of the Princes of Gwynedd.

Legends associate him with miraculous healing powers. He is credited with restoring St Winefride to life after she had her head cut off  by a jealous suitor. When he died, he was buried under what is now St Beuno’s Chapel.

The church was burnt by the Vikings in the C10th and again by the Normans. The present building is C15/16th and is a fine example of Perpendicular architecture and is described as one of the finest Tudor churches in Wales. It became an important stopping point for pilgrims on the way to Bardsey Island.

At the west end is a solid square tower with battlements. The nave, chancel and transepts are battlemented with crocketted pinnacles at the ends.

Clynnog Fawr Church

Clynnog Fawr Church

Joined to the tower by a short passageway is St Bueno’s Chapel

Clynnog Fawr Church

The massive north porch has two rooms above it.

Clynnog Fawr Church

In the churchyard outside St Bueno’s Chapel is a stone sundial dating from the late C10 to early C12th which marks the times of the canonical hours.

Clynnog Fawr Church

The church is unlocked and a board outside the lych gate advertises an exhibition about Pilgrimage in the church. Unfortunately St Bueno’s Chapel was locked when we visited and there was no access to it. There is on street parking. The post code is LL54 5NH and the grid reference is SH 414497.

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