Wales is excellent isn’t it? I had the pleasure to visit St Hywyn’s church in Aberdaron on a beautiful day. I had never visited either Wales, or Aberdaron before, so was of course enchanted by both.
St Hywyn’s sits within the village of Aberdaron, very close to the sea. Hywyn* was a disciple of Cadfan and founded a prayer cell in Aberdaron where he preached the Gospel to people locally. This cell was first made of wood and was probably replaced with the earliest part of the present church during the building scheme of Gruffydd ap Cynan, King of Gwynedd, from 1137 onwards.
Look at that lovely Romanesque arch! The arch and the stonework surrounding it are somewhat out of kilter due to later repairs to the church.
Hywyn’s saint day is the 6th January – which is also epiphany. A wise man of Aberdaron indeed.
Other ‘wise men’ you can find here are the tomstones of two Christian priests – Veracius and Senacus. I was absolutely thrilled to the CORE to examine these up close. Dating from the late 5th to the early 6th century (say 475-525AD) these are natural water-worn boulders carefully inscribed.
VERAC/PBR/HIC/IACIT = Veracius priest lies here
Discovered in the eighteenth century, they were carefully looked after by a local family, until they found their way to the church. How fitting.
I was also pleased see this lovely 18th century headstone preserved.
The other thrill was to find out that R S Thomas was vicar here. There are lovely displays at the back of the church, encouraging you to explore his work.
There is also a space where you can read a poem and use the church as a place of quiet poetic contemplation, which I think is just wonderful.
Aberdaron itself appears to depend on tourism – many people holiday on the Llyn peninsula and even on a blustery weekday the car parks were full. To that end, what I think I liked most was the shrine to travellers and those making journeys (it is a pilgrimage site too).This seemed to me, so inclusive and so welcoming. Thank you.
Do check the website if you’re planning a visit http://www.st-hywyn.org.uk/default.html.
*In the Celtic church, ‘saint’ simply denoted that a person was a Christian.