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St Gwenfaen's Church RhoscolynSt Gwenfaen's Church is to be found in a beautiful location on the south of Holy Island, Anglesey.

The original church was established in 630 AD, when it was dedicated to Saint Gwenfaen, daughter of Pawl Hen of Manaw (Isle of Man), who made her cloister here.

Legend has it that Gwenfaen was chased away from her cell by druids and escaped by climbing the rock stack off Rhoscolyn head. The tide came in and she was carried away by angels, which is how Saints Bay got its name.

A subsequent church, built on the site around the 15th Century was destroyed by fire and the present church was rebuilt in the 1870’s using the stone from the earlier 15th Century church. The 15th Century doorway was inserted into the south wall of the new church and a porch was added.

The bell-cote contains a bell dated 1611 and the font is a three-tier octagonal bowl from the 15th Century, and, unusually for a small country church, there is fine stained-glass in all the windows, including those in the porch. The windows above the altar are particularly beautiful and use for their representation of the sea The sacred Well of St Gwenfaen Rhoscolyn headlanda depiction of Rhoscolyn bay and the Beacon Rocks. In the churchyard stands a monument to five crew members of the local lifeboat who died during a storm in December 1920, trying to rescue the crew of the “Timbo”.

Some distance from the church, on the west slope of Rhoscolyn headland, stands St Gwenfaen’s Well, having two sunken chambers including an enclosed pool whose water is credited with curing mental problems – traditionally an offering of two white quartz pebbles had to be made. But I am afraid you would have to be mad to drink from the Well these days as it is contaminated with dead sheep and sheep droppings.

Directions:    [ Map of St Gwenfaen's Church, Rhoscolyn  ]

From the Menai Bridge continue on the A55 toward Holyhead. Leave A55 at Junction 3 to Valley. Take B4545 to Trearddur Bay, then follow the sign to Rhoscolyn. Continue to St Gwenfaen's Church that sits on the hilltop. Parking is available close to the church.

St Gwenfaen's Church website >
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Please - click on the pictures - for enlarged pictures of St Gwenfaen's Church, Rhoscolyn. © All pictures and text copyright Bernard Wellings

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