Tywyn, St Cadfan's Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: The St Cadfan Stone is the earliest known example of Welsh writing
The significance of these worn incised carvings are that they show that the leading families of the area were using the Welsh language, rather than Latin. The best preserved writing is on the side facing south (facing you as you enter the church). The stone was carved some time around 800 AD, and was discovered serving as a gatepost for a pigsty!
Note: Do not mistake this St Cadfan's Stone for Cadfan's Stone at Llangadwaladr church on Anglesey.
The first church settlement, or clas, was founded at Tywyn around 516 AD by Cadfan, a missionary from Brittany. Accordimg to the Book of Llandaf, Cadfan brought twelve brothers with him, and established a settlement centred around a nearby well.
Cadfan's church became the most important in the Comote of Meirionnydd, and became the mother church of all the others in the region. Two wooden churches wee sacked and destroyed by the Vikings. The monks at Tywyn adopted the Augustinian rule, and established an ecclesiastical college (the street that runs beside the church is still called College Green). The Augustinian brethren built the first stone church in the 12th century. Remains of that Norman building include the very large, rounded columns in the nave, and the narrow, deeply set clerestory windows.
St Cadfan's originally had a central tower, but that tower fell down in 1693 and was rebuilt at the west end in 1736. That tower was pulled down in the late 19th century and the entire structure was rebuilt along its original lines.
St Cadfan's Stone stands in the north west corner of the church, near a much later monolithic stone that once served as a sundial. This stone has a rounded top carved with a semi-circular sundial, and a later 17th century inscription below. It is possible that it was brought here from a nearby abbey.
In the chancel are a pair of medieval effigies. One depicts an armoured knight, known as The Crying Knight. The effigy is thought to represent Gruffudd ap Adda of Dôl-goch, who died around 1331. The identification is based on a nearby inscription on the wall, but the inscription is much later than the effigy and in a different script, so the identification is uncertain at best. The moniker The Crying Knight comes from the fact that when the weather is wet, the effigy appears to weep, though it seems there are more practical explainations for the phenomena, the 'tears' have given rise to many romantic tales.
The other figure is that of an unknown priest, or, as some accounts have it, an unknown female. Other items of interest include a very simple Norman font just inside the south door, and a beautifully carved early 20th century organ case.
In the 12th century a poet named Llewelyn Fardd (d. c. 1175) wrote a verse about the church.
About Tywyn, St Cadfan's Church
Address: College Green, Tywyn, Gwynedd, Wales
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: At the junction of College Green (A493) and Gwalia Road
Website: Tywyn, St Cadfan's Church
Tywyn, St Cadfan's Church Photos
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Talyllyn Railway and Narrow Gauge Railway Museum - 0.3 miles (Museum)
Castell Cynfael - 1.7 miles (Castle)
Llanegryn Church Screen - 3 miles (Historic Church)
Castell-y-Bere - 6.8 miles (Castle)
Pennal, St Peter ad Vincula Church - 6.9 miles (Historic Church)
Dyfi Furnace - 7 miles (Historic Building)
Llanfihangel-y-pennant, St Michael's Church - 7.1 miles (Historic Church)
Landre, St Michael's Church - 9 miles (Historic Church)
Nearest Accommodation to Tywyn, St Cadfan's Church:
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts
Nearest Tourist Information Centre ('as the crow flies')