Home | The Ancient Church of Llandrillo yn Rhos,
Conwy, North Wales.
A short history with pictures.

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St Trillo's Chapel

Rhos on Sea

A selection of pictures About Llandrillo yn Rhos Location
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The Church of Llandrillo yn Rhos.

After the withdrawal of the Roman Legions from Britain in the time known as 'the Dark Ages', or here in Wales 'the Age of the Saints', there arrived on our shores missionaries from Brittany and Ireland to convert the 'heathens'.

Prominent amongst those who came in the 6th century was Trillo who established his church, or llan, in the vicinity now known as Rhos on Sea. Llandrillo was originally the mother church of a large parish which included places as far apart as Eglwysbach and Eglwys Rhos (llan rhos).

Where the first building stood is uncertain. One story says that it was erected a mile and a half to the east of Rhos Fynach on land now covered by the sea. That the waves have encroached is an undoubted fact. Sodden tree stumps can be found in the sand at Rhos during exceptionally low tides. But no proof has come to light that a church stood out there. Indeed the expert opinion (the late Mr N. Tucker to whom I am grateful for his work on the history of the church), is that it would seem illogical to build on a bleak low lying morfa when better sites, complete with wood and stone were close to hand. However having seen the tree stumps myself as a child in the 1950's and remembering the Towyn flood of 1990 when the sea took over (albeit for a short time) a large area of the land just 8-9 miles down the coast I have an open mind about the position of the original church, and see no reason to doubt the legend.

It is also possible that Trillo chose for the site of his 'llan' the vicinity of the well which may still be seen in the
tiny chapel on the shore.
Having established his church where ever, the strange fact was that it was not named after him. In all ancient records the parish is termed Dinerth. In the Norwich taxation of 1254 and the Lincoln taxation of 1291 the name is Dinerth. Not until 1540 is Llandrillo encountered. The alteration may have arisen from the change of church government or because of the sale of the lands of Aberconwy Abbey.

The north aisle is the oldest portion of the church , in the outer wall of which are two built-up acutely pointed arches and a closed doorway, all of the 13th century. The arches were carried through the wall and represent an early chapel. This is believed to have been the private chapel of Ednyfed Fychan Seneschal to Llewellyn the Great. It seems to have been demolished (when it was no longer required) in order to provide materials for the extension. (With respect to Mr Tucker this doesn't make sense to me as you don't knock one room down on the side of your house to use the bricks to build a room on the other side) Not the least of Llandrillo's claim to fame is this connection with Ednyfed Fychan whose 'cheifest manor house' was on Bryn Euryn several hundred yards to the south.
In a charter of 1230 Llewellyn the Great sanctioned the purchase of the land between Bryn Euryn and the sea shore known as Rhos Fynach by Ednyfed Fychan, a condition being that Ednyfed and his heirs 'shall pay yearly to God and the Church of Dineyrth, two shillings towards lamps at Easter-Tide'.

When King Henry the V11, Henry Tudor, ascended the throne his heralds traced his ancestry to Ednyfed whose 'chiefest house was in Creuddyn'.

The south aisle was built in the beginning of the sixteenth century, due to the beneficence of the 'Ladies Conwy'. The aisles are separated by four arches of the late Perpendicular period. Above the pillars are carved stone angels holding shields. They seem to have been removed from some other building and inserted as the stone has been chipped to make room for them.
The porch and chancel appear to have been added after 1540 as the will of a Hugh Conway, a later occupant of the Llys Euryn site, left the money to construct them.
The tower is so conspicuous that it seems to have been designed to serve as a look out. The top is 'stepped Irish fashion', and its design suggests secular use. The turret at the south west corner which goes by the name of the Rector's Chair, was intended to hold an iron basket containing combustibles to flare as a warning beacon should enemy ships be sighted. The Ancient Monuments Commisssion claimed that the tower is as old as the earliest part of the church, but another authority states that it was erected in 1552 through the generosity of the Conway family.

The lych gate bore a plaque dated 1677 and was restored in 1907 and again in 1998. This latest restoration, although of excellent workmanship, has included an unnecessary and inappropriate twentieth century roofing felt to the roof structure.

Rhos on Sea, Colwyn Bay, Conwy, North Wales.
he church is situated on the A546 between Colwyn Bay and Llandudno. Exit the A55 expressway at the Rhos on Sea slip road. Persevere along Brompton Avenue toward Llandudno for 1 mile and the church is on the top of the hill, nearby the Ship Inn Hotel and Restaurant.

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With Acknowledgement to "The Parish Church of Llandrillo-yn-Rhos" by Norman Tucker, F.R.Hist.S.
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