St Tudno's Church
is often described as being in a "sheltered" hollow
on the Great Orme Llandudno. (The Great Orme is a massive limestone outcrop
jutting out into the Irish Sea from the Creuddyn Peninsula) But sheltered
is a relative term as the Great Orme can be a pretty windy place. I personally
was lucky not to have broken my wrist when I was once blown off a bike
while cycling round the Marine Drive on the Orme.
St Tudno arrived with his mission to preach Christianity on the Great
Orme in the 6th Century AD and wisely set up home in a small cave, Ogof
Llech, which would have not only protected him from the elements
but also supplied him with fresh water from a clear spring well. The Church
of St Tudno that he established has been restored and repaired many times
over the centuries and there is nothing left of the original church. The
present church was built in the 12th Century and extended in the 15th
Century. And the extreme weather was still testing the structure to its
limits in the 19th Century, when in 1839 the roof was blown off. This
it seems was the last straw with the church authorities and St Tudno's
was abandoned until in 1855 a local benefactor funded the repair of the
roof and the restoration of the church.
Understandably many of the ancient relics have been lost over the centuries
but the stone font is estimated to be 12th Century and there are two stone
coffin lids dating back to the 13th Century within the church. There is
also a carved representation of the Stigmata of Christ in the roof timbers
above the Chancel step. This medieval artifact would be unique to Wales
but for the fact that the nearby church of St
Hilary's in Llanrhos also contains representations of Christ's stigmata.
In the churchyard the earliest inscribed stones are from the 18th Century,
but it is worth considering when resting after your hike up the steep
slopes of the Orme that the bodies in St Tudno's Church yard had to be
transported all the way to their final resting place from the sea level
town of Llandudno.