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Trip Report Pilgrim Churches of the Llyn Peninsula

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We spent a week in North Wales over Easter. Among other things we sent time visiting some of the lovely old medieval churches. Many were established in the C6th by Celtic saints. In the Middle Ages, three trips to Bardsey Island off the tip of the Peninsula were regarded as the equivalent of one trip to Rome. Thousands of pilgrims made the journey stopping at these churches. My web site of pictures is here:
http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/churches/wales/llyn/index.html

Many of the churches are small but St Bueno’s Church in Clynnog Fawr is a huge church and was once an important centre of learning. The outside of the church is splendid, dwarfing the small settlement that surrounds it. The church is C16th and regarded as one of the best Tudor churches in wales. The inside however doesn’t live up to the outside and is cold and damp. We got the feeling the congregation and the authorities weren’t sure what to do with a church that was too big for the parish. There is a rather turgid and very worthy exhibition about Pilgrimage in the transept. It does have a splendid rood screen and loft a well as medieval choir stalls.
http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/churches/wales/llyn/pistyll/index.html


Completely different is the tiny church of Pistyll, hardly changed over the centuries. St Bueno used to disappear here for peace and time to meditate away from the bustle of Clynnog Fawr. Traditions of the old Celtic Christianity still linger here and the church is decorated with yew branches and moss on the window sills.
http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/churches/wales/llyn/pistyll/index.html

St Engan’s Church in Llanengan is lovingly cared for and has a splendid carved rood screen which is thought to have come from Cymner Abbey after the Dissolution of the monasteries. The lovely old choir pews probably came from St Mary’s Abbey on Bardsey.
http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/churches/wales/llyn/llanengan/lanengan_two/index.html

St Mary’s Church at Penllech is no longer used and is lovingly cared for by the Friends of Friendless Churches. They have restored the church and it is a wonderful example of an unspoilt Georgian church. Next to a working farm, the sheep dog comes to greet you.
http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/churches/wales/llyn/penllech/index.html

Perhaps our favourite is St Tudwen’s Church in Llandudwen. It is in the depths of the countryside with views across to Caernarfon Bay and the peaks of Boduan, Madryn and the Rivals. With just a farm for company, the only sounds are birdsong and cows. It has two services a month and is again lovingly cared for.
http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/churches/wales/llyn/llandudwen/index.html

St Hywen’s in Aberdaron is set above the beach and was the last stop on the way to Bardsey. Sitting on the churchyard wall eating a scone from the bakers was always a tradition of past family holidays.
http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/churches/wales/llyn/aberdaron/index.html

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