The church of Llanycil sits beside Llyn Tegid, Bala Lake, in the old county of Merionethshire, Wales. The Llanycil church is built on an ancient Celtic Christian site. The church was renowned as the destination for 15-year-old Mary Jones in 1800 when she walked 26 miles from Llanfihangel-y-Pennant to buy a bible from Rev Thomas Charles. Thomas Charles, Lewis Edwards, Dafydd Cadwaladr, Ellis Gwyn Jones (Bala and Llangwm)and Elisabeth Davies, to name a few, were laid to rest in the church's yard. Sadly the church was declared redundant by the Church in Wales in 2003 and placed on the market much to the dismay of many.
Fortunately the church has been rescued from redundancy and is to be converted into a heritage centre by the Bible Society. News of the purchase has been received well by local residents, who in previous months had been struggling to protect the church. The purchase was made by the Bible Society and is linked to the Society's deep historical associations with the Bala area. Mary Jones' walk contributed to the founding of Bible Society as the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1804.
The Llanycil church is expected to become a magnet for a wide range of visitors from those who might have general interests in old churches, Welsh heritage, and people following the "Mary Jones Walk" from Llanfihangel y Pennant to Bala.
Work started in February 2014 to turn the deconsecrated church of St Beuno's in North Wales into a new £1 million visitor centre.
Mary Jones World will be based at St Beuno’s Church, at Llanycil, Bala. The site has been a place of Christian worship for more than 1,500 years and has strong links with Bible Society, which bought the redundant Grade 2-listed building in 2007 and the adjoining field in 2009.
It was in 1800 that Mary Jones, aged 15, walked 25 miles from Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, across the Welsh mountains, to Bala to get a Bible from Revd. Thomas Charles. Mary saved for six years to purchase one and Thomas Charles was so moved by her determination that he helped establish Bible Society four years later. He is one of a number of notable figures buried in the churchyard at Llanycil.
The new centre will tell the story of Mary Jones and Thomas Charles and give visitors the chance to learn about the Bible’s impact in Wales and the rest of the world. It will also be an educational centre.
Dorothi Evans, Mayor of Bala said, ‘This is fantastic news. We are really looking forward to this visitor centre. The story of Mary Jones and Thomas Charles is what we have been brought up with, but a lot of people don’t know about them and in learning about them and learning about the history of the Bible Society local people will be amazed.
Review Llanycil Church.