St Grwst’s Church, Llanrwst

I first spotted St Grwst’s Church from across the Conwy River when I was photographing the area and that reminded me that I’d read in the history of St Mary’s Church in Conwy that a connection to Llywelyn the Great could be found at St Grwst’s and it was somewhere worth visiting. According to legend a Welsh nobleman called Nefydd Hardd murdered a son of Owain Gwynedd, king of Gwynedd, North Wales and in atonement for his actions Nefydd’s son had the church built in 1170. It was dedicated to Grwst, a saint who had set up a church nearby in the 6th century.

The 1170 church was completely destroyed in the Wars of the Roses in 1468, so this present church dates from the rebuilding two years later in 1470. In 1634 Gwydir Chapel was added to the southeast corner by Richard Wynn of Gwydir Castle and the tower was added in the early nineteenth century. It’s a very nice church and extremely quiet – I didn’t see a single other person there, not even any staff.

It’s in the Gwydir Chapel part of the church that you can find it’s greatest claim to fame because here lies the supposed stone coffin of Llywelyn the Great – you’ll remember his statue in Conwy. He died in 1240 at Aberconwy Abbey but when Edward I forced the monks to move to Maenan Abbey in 1283 they took Llywelyn’s body with them. When Henry VIII later dissolved all the monasteries the coffin was brought to Grwst. His body is thought to have been lost during the journey.

There are some other lovely and moving monuments in the Gwydir Chapel. The most impressive are the beautifully carved obelisks.

The saddest memorial is that of Sydney, the daughter of Owen and Grace Wynn who died when she was just four weeks old. The scratches you can see are from vandals attacking it when the church was in disrepair.

And of course no visit I make is complete without a survey of the stained glass windows and the church had some quite bright examples with some great detailing of the animals.

This is also the first building, never mind church, that I’ve ever been into that has a toilet twinned with another country’s toilet. I have to say though it was impeccably clean.

Free to enter (I left a small donation) you can find more photos here.

Categories: Llanrwst, Wales | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “St Grwst’s Church, Llanrwst

  1. ThingsHelenLoves

    A beautiful church, the twinned toilet is a good idea, if a bit surprising. I’ve not heard of that before!


  2. Louise Jayne

    Yes, I was very amused when I saw the sign, but such a good idea. Just as well I needed to use the facilities myself or I might have missed it!


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