St Cadfan's Church, Tywyn (Towyn), Merionethshire
Dedication: St Cadfan
Built: 12th century (nave)
Rebuilt: 19th century (transept and chancel)
1. The church is noted for its Romanesque architecture and for housing the Cadfan Stone, a stone cross dating from ninth century or earlier which is inscribed with the oldest known written Welsh. The earliest parts of the building date to the twelfth century, and it originally had a central tower, although this fell down in 1693. The church houses two fourteenth-century monuments. One of the effigies is of an unknown priest in full Eucharistic vestments. The other is a military figure thought to be Gruffudd ab Adda (d. c. 1350) of Dôl-goch and Ynysymaengwyn. The effigy is known as the 'Crying Knight' due to a flaw in the stone at his right eye which becomes damp during wet weather, giving the impression of weeping.
[Source: Wikipedia online encyclopaedia (accessed 18 Sep 2015)]
2. The Norman Church of St Cadfan, the earliest parts of which date from the 12th century, houses two 14th century stone effigies and most importantly the Cadfan/Nitanam early Christian inscribed stone dating from the 8th or 9th century AD. The stone is inscribed with the oldest known written Welsh.
St Cadfan's is a cruciform monastic church but at first sight appears to be just one of many Welsh churches that were built or renovated in the Victorian age. However, although the crossing, chancel and transepts are modern (rebuilt on ancient foundations) the massive double aisled nave is original 12th century work. The church is well worth a visit for the nave alone. The nave has great circular pillars and a simple arcade the pillars may look primitive but they make effective architecture and add great character to the church.
The Tywyn stone or Cadfan/Nitanam stone was found in the early 17th century close to the present church. The 5ft stone had been used as a gate post and was broken before being brought to the church in 1761. The broken section now stands beside the main piece. The inscription is written vertically on all four sides. It reads both downwards and upwards. It is of such importance as it is the only inscription in Welsh among the early stone monuments of Gwynedd and is the earliest record of the Welsh language as it emerged as a distinctive form of British Celtic.
[Source: Wales Directory website (accessed 18 Sep 2015)]
|Monochrome photography: John Ball (1959)
Colour photography: Google StreetView (April 2010)