St. Tyfodwg's Church

St. Tyfodwg's Church or St. Dyfodwg's church is situated in the parish of Llandyfodwg on the outskirts Bridgend, Glamorgan. The church is thought to have been founded during the 6th century by the Celtic Saint, Tyfodwg ap Gwilfyw of which very little evidence survives.

There are two theories regarding who this man actually was:
The first being: Tyfodwg was said to be a Breton monk, a disciple of St. Illtyd's of Llantwit Major.
The second being: Tyfodwg was a local chieftain who was promised sainthood by the missionaries of St. Illtyd if he and his followers converted to Christianity.

Evidence support the second theory can be found in the naming of the nearby Ystradyfodwg (Vale of Tyfodwg) The parish church is dedicated to St. John rather than St. Tyfodwg which suggests that he was a chieftain rather than a Saint.

The church of St. Tyfodwg 

The church of St. Tyfodwg is sited on the East Wales pilgrimage route to St. David's Cathedral. Nothing remains of the original 6th century church which would have been constructed of clay and wattle. The church foundations can be dated form both the 13th and 14th centuries.
Part of the medieval building is visible in the tower and parts of the South and North outer walls of the nave.

Most of the building was extensively altered during the late 1800s by respected architect John Pritchard. In 1893/94 the South and East walls were, at the behest of of Miss Olive Talbot rebuilt by G.E Hailliday. Both wall has been in a ruinous state for over 60 years.

The Alter Rails date from 1893.
The Octagonal Pulpit is carved of softwood which dates from 1870.
The Prayer Desk is of hardwood and also dates from 1870.
The Organ was originally a barrel-organ which was built in 1857 by a J.W. Walker of London.
The Font dates from the 14th century.
The Lectern is made of wood and was previously that of St. Mary's in Treherbert.
The Tower Entrance Arch is a wide pointed Norman arch which leads form the vestry into the tower. It is thought that the archway was once the original church entrance before the construction of the tower.

The Bells: Originally four bells were hung in the tower but due to safety one was removed and sold in 1884. The three remaining bells were cast by Evan Evans of Chepstow in 1720.

  • One of these bells is inscribed with the names of Vicar and Churchwardens of 1720.
  • The second is inscribed with 'Prosperity to those who love good bells, and the third peace and good neighbourhood.'
  • The third is inscribed with 'Peace and good neighbourhood.'.

The Altar.

Sundial dated 1769.

The Monuments - Fixed to the interior walls of the church are a number of memorials.

  • The slate tablet of Mary Tudor of Pantyveed (d.1813) – her husband and his second wife were later added.
  • The two limestone tablets of Elizabeth William (d. 1823) and Evan Richard (d.1693) 
  • A monument to Thomas Rees Pritchard of Inisybywt House, Blackmill (d.1918)
  • A white marble plaque of William Tudor (d.1841)
  • The memorial plaque of George Lucas (d.1688) and his son William Lucas (d.1777)
  • Set into the South external wall are two stone monuments dating from 1728 and 1797.

Two monuments set into the external wall.

The Pilgrim Stone

This stone is set into the chancel floor (south side of the altar) and dates from the 13th/14th century. It is an effigy of a pilgrim carrying his staff and purse. It shows symbols of his journeys to the Holy Land, to Rome and to Compostela.

Local tradition tells of this pilgrim was travelling from Penrhys to Llantwit Major or St. David's Cathedral when he died. He was subsequently buried at the church of St. Tyfodwg.

This stone is recognised as being of national importance in Britain.

The Pilgrim Stone

1 comment

  1. Fascinating! I'm so ignorant of Welsh churches it's embarrassing. Keep up the good work!


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