Church is located in the seaside town of Tywyn in the
county of Gwynedd on the west coast of Wales.
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
St Cadfan's is a cruciform monastic church but at first sight appears
to be one of many Welsh churches that were built 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
The inscribed stone is not to be confused with the Cadfan Stone
in Llangadwaladr, Anglesey
(the Anglesey stone was erected to commemorate Cadfan a 7th century King
of Gwynedd )
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.
The inscriptions have been variously translated as:
"the body of Cingen" ....
"lies beneath" ....TRICET / NITANAM
"the tomb ... four" .....MOLT /
" Egryn, Mallteg, Gwaddian" ...TENGRUIN MALTE(C) GU/ADGAN
"together with Dyfod and Marciau" ........ANTERUNC
In this interpretation the stone marks the grave of Cingen and invokes
the protection of other persons or local Saints. (Ack.
A guide to ancient and historic Gwynedd by Francis Lynch. HMSO)