St. Gwyddelan's Church is not the original Church in Dolwyddelan. The
original Church was nearer to Dolwyddelan
Castle at Bryn y Bedd. But Meredydd
ab Ieuan (Maredudd ab Ieuan) ap Robert, the ancestor of the Wynn family
of Gwydir and Llanrwst came
to live in Dolwyddelan
in the late fifteenth century. At the time the area was over run with
bandits, a gang of outlaws based at the Knights of St. John hospice in
Ysbyty Ifan (nothing changes !).
had a household in Cwm Penamnen, the valley to the South of the village,
which was vulnerable to the outlaws especially when he would leave with
his entourage to worship in the old church. His solution was quite drastic
and involved demolishing the old church and rebuilding it nearer to Penamnen.
This church, the present Church of St Gwyddelan's, was built within site
of the rocky outcrop known as Carreg Alltrem at the entrance to the Valley,
and thus enabled Meredydd to post lookouts with views of both the
church and his household in Penamnen. It is said that Meredydd was able
to see the lookouts from his pew in the church and was thus able to react
swiftly to any threat from the outlaws.
There are many points of interest in the Church including a very old
bell, traditionally called Cloch Wyddelan, or St Gwyddelan’s Bell.
The bell was dug up on the site of the old church in the 19th Century
and is thought to have been brought by St. Gwyddelan from Ireland in the
7th Century. In the East window there are fragments of glass from 1512;
on one front pew is carved, in Welsh, "A bench for the hard of hearing".
Look for the "Dolwyddelan Dragon", carved on a beam in the North
The Church is located midway between the Railway Station and the Pub,
in the centre of the village, in Church Street, Dolwyddelan, North Wales,
Opening is restricted.