Sunday, 3 June 2012

The sunken church

Childhood revisited
My siser Jane and I with Jenny, Jill and Margaret (and Dad)

and with Mum

and on one of our Corwen hikes

and so to our visit in May to this amazing old church now restored by CADW and the first time I'd ever been inside

Every year on holiday at Hafod Yr Afr us five girls would adventure down this (then overgrown) graveyard and scare ourselves silly peeping into the dark cobwebby windows of this deeply sunken church.  Not whitewashed as now but grey and crumbling.

But turns out it's not sunken at all, but purposely dug into the hillside!

Incredible graveyard

and even more incredible, wall paintings and minstrals' gallery still intact inside the tiny ancient space
This one meant to represent 'from the cradle to the grave' as there are two unborn babies in the womb of the skeleton!!

unique font

beautiful doors

and entrance

leper's window

and up to the gallery

complete with one of last remaining four sided music stands
then back on the ground floor
Boxed pews for the rich on the left and basic benches on the right for the poor
note the triple pulpit on the left
All the wood in the church, although old, is much newer then the building itself, which would have been a very plain place of worship in its early years

and look at the doorposts
the incredible marks where the archers sharpened their arrows, having made them from the yew in the churchards - as archery practice was complulsary for all after Sunday services in the Middle Ages

and if you get a yen to visit - it's Llangar Church, in the care of CADW along with Rug Chapel.  Because it hadn't been opened up since 1850 so much has remained in tact inside.  More info and opening times here

"Llangar church is situated above the junction of the Dee and Alwen rivers near Cynwyd, in a steep church yard of jumbled tombstones.  According to legend it was originally named 'Llan Garw Gwyn' the church of the white stag, after a magical deer whose appearance prompted it to be built.  The inside walls contain many layers of wall paintings dating from the 15th centuary, including an 18th centuary Figure of Death with hourglass and grave digging tools."

An absolute gem

and this is Margaret and me at the scene (the two in the middle of the horse photo earlier with white pumps on)

Still crazy after all these years . . .


  1. What a place! Super creepy - even with white-washed walls!

    I also love those family photos - particularly how chilled out that horse looks with such a crowd on his back!

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    1. So great to hear from you Cassa - I've emailed with more of our happy memories of Hafod Yr Afr ....