Cerrigydrudion (also known as Cerrig-y-Drudion) is to be found on the high moorlands in the county of Conwy, North Wales. The village straddles a set of crossroads linking the agricultural communities of this Welsh-speaking area of north Wales. One road the busy A5 is the historic coach road that links London to Holyhead. While the B5105 links the moorland uplands of Hiraethog to the pastoral plains of the Vale of Clwyd. The B4501 that cuts through the village links the heartlands of Denbighshire via the Denbigh moors and the Hiraethog reservoirs to the old county of Meirionethshire and the market town of Bala.
In the 21st Century, the people of Cerrigydrudion and district have had to change from a purely agricultural community to a mixed economy embracing both agriculture and tourism. With the ever-growing popularity of activity holidays and extreme sports, Cerrig is ideally placed to benefit from this growing trend.
Llyn Brenig is just a short drive, some 4 miles, from Cerrigydrudion, while Bala Lake and the White Water Rafting Centre is but 7 miles or so from the village. The inland holiday resorts of Llangollen, 19 miles, and Betws y Coed, 12 miles, are also within an easy driving distance from the village. Mountain Bike Trails are to be found in the Gwydir Forest at Penmachno.
In the 19th century, Cerrigydrudion was a staging post on Thomas Telford's great achievement the A5 London to Holyhead road. This would explain why such a small village once had three Public Houses. The A5 may bypass the centre of the village today but two of the three Public Houses, the White Lion and the Saracens, still remain to slake the thirst of the farm workers and tourists who inhabit the catchment area of Cerrig-y-Drudion.
At the heart of the village lies a row of Alms houses, The Hafan Prys Almshouses are a group of fine stone houses with a colourful coat of arms on display. The spiritual needs of the parish have long been in the care of the church of St Mary Magdalene and the non conformist chapels of Jerusalem and Moriah.
Close by are the reservoirs of Llyn Brenig and Llyn Alwen. The Brenig reservoir was built in the 1970's and is used to regulate the water in the River Dee. Today it is one of the most important tourist attractions in the area and provides for a number of watersports, including sailing, fishing, and canoeing. For those who prefer to keep to dry land there is the "round the lake mountain bike trail" and a number of archaeological trails around the lake leading to Bronze Age Burial Mounds. The visitor centre close to the lake offers refreshments and toilet facilities and displays archaeological information about the area.
The Gwydir forests at Penmachno some 12 miles to the west are famed for their Mountain Bike Trails.
Betws y Coed an inland holiday resort is renowned for riverside and mountain trails, beautiful lakes amid the forests and more Mountain Bike Trails.
The spiritual needs of the parish have long been in the care of the church of St Mary Magdalene and the non conformist chapels of Jerusalem and Moriah. Indeed St Mary Magdalene's is believed to have been founded as early as AD 440, and was mentioned in the Norwich Taxation of 1254. The church was repaired and enlarged in 1503, and, as with many Welsh churches, restored by the Victorians. Some of the surviving masonry may be of 16th Century and a foundation course from an earlier, possibly medieval structure, is apparent. There is a re-used 14th Century window and inside the roof is late medieval, perhaps of 1503. There is a chest of 1730, a few wall memorials and a benefaction board of 1737.
Myths and Legends
The Legend of Llyn y ddau ychain, the Devil, and Cerrigydrudion Church: Cerrigydrudion Church once became possessed of the Devil. His hideous face could be seen grinning out of the windows, even in broad daylight, and the people became too frightened to walk past the church, let alone worship there. The simple villagers were at a loss for what to do to get rid of the spirit, but at last they consulted a Wise Man from Cefn Cyfarwydd a settlement above the Conwy Valley. He told them that no one could dislodge their enemy but the Dau ychain Banawg. Two giant oxen. They knew of the two long-horned cattle, which fed on Waen Banawg. There, therefore, they went, and brought the powerful yoke to the church.
The Wise Man said they would need special chains to bind the Devil. This was done by soaking the chains in the holy water of Llanelian. He told the villagers of the magic charms needed to trick the Devil. A fair maiden called Eira Wyn (Snow White), a child of seven brothers and sisters, was brought the way from Llangwm, a village close enough to offer aid but distant enough for the maiden to know no fear of this Devil.
Come the Sunday night the bravest of the villagers gathered close to the church. Many hid behind the churchyard walls and waited, trembling. Brave Eira Wyn skipped into the churchyard and lay flowers upon the graves. The Evil One broke off from his satanic rituals within the church and glared out of the window, not believing what he was seeing. In a rage, he stormed out of the church breathing fire and brimstone. The maiden held her ground and threw the last of her flowers into his face.
This was too much for him to bear and the Devil reached out to grab Eira Wyn. However, the villagers leapt upon the evil being from all sides, wrapped the magic chains around his limbs, and tightly pulled.
What now Laughed the devil, believing he was safe from mere mortals.
Quickly the villagers brought forward both a sledge and the massive oxen the Dau ychain Banawg. The Devil, now struggling to get free, was dragged along by the powerful oxen towards a lake on Hiraethog Mountain. However, so ponderous was their load and so fearful was the spirit's contentions that the sledge ploughed the land between the church and the lake as they went along, leaving in the course that they took deep furrows. Moreover, when they came to the hill so terrible were the struggles of the oxen to get along that the marks of their hoofs were left in the rocks where they may still be seen.
When at last they reached the lake the spirit would not yield, and therefore oxen, sledge, and spirit were driven into the lake, and thus was the country rid of the evil one, and hence the name of the lake—the Lake of the Two Oxen—for the oxen likewise perished in the lake.