Llanrwst Group Parish Profile (May 2014)

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DIOCESE OF ST ASAPH
DEANERY OF LLANRHOS
PARISH PROFILE
for the Grouped Parishes of
LLANRWST, LLANDDOGED WITH CAPEL
GARMON, LLANSANFFRAID GLAN CONWY AND
EGLWYSBACH
May 2014
INTRODUCTION
The grouped parishes of Llanrwst, Llanddoged with Capel Garmon, Llansanffraid Glan Conwy and
Eglwysbach are situated in the Conwy Valley, south west of Colwyn Bay. This is an area of natural beauty
at the gateway to Snowdonia and the historic town of Conwy. The parishes are rural in nature but close to
the coastal conurbation of Conwy, Llandudno and Colwyn Bay. This area provides much of the tourist
accommodation in North West Wales. Farming abounds within the parishes, together with some light
industry, and the new north Wales centre of the Welsh Assembly Government. The scenery is
spectacular, with mountains, lakes and coastline and a plethora of historical places to be explored. The
Welsh language and culture is vibrant here and thrives across the region.
Transportation and access to the area is excellent, with the A55 corridor and the Chester – Holyhead
main line providing easy access to centres of population in England, and the ferry to Ireland for Holyhead.
Locally the railway stations link into Llandudno Junction and along the scenic Conwy Valley line to Betws y
Coed and Blaenau Ffestiniog to link with the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland narrow gauge railways. There
is a regular bus service that connects to the shopping areas of Colwyn Bay and Llandudno.
The local regional infrastructure provides excellent education, further education and University
opportunities, and the National Health Service administers two District General Hospitals, two community
Hospitals and numerous GP services together with dental care. Shopping at both Colwyn Bay and
Llandudno is very good, with town centre retail areas, specialist shops and several national supermarket
chains. There are weekly markets in Colwyn Bay and Llanrwst, and regular farmers and specialised food
markets. Entertainment is provided by a regional theatre (Venue Cymru) in Llandudno which has a huge
variety of shows including Opera and Ballet, an intimate theatre in Colwyn Bay for small events and films,
together with a multiplex cinema in Llandudno Junction. Sport is well catered for with swimming pools in
Llandudno and Colwyn Bay, several leisure centres, and a newly refurbished Eirias Park Sports Centre in
Colwyn Bay with athletics and international Rugby facilities. There are several National Trust and CADW
historical sites in north Wales to be explored and the RSPB have a wonderful bird sanctuary close by. The
recently created “Pilgrim’s Way” long distance footpath from Holywell to Bardsey Island passes through
Eglwysbach, and the Church is to become a ‘staging post’ providing rest and refreshment and information
for the walkers.
PARISH OF LLANRWST
Llanrwst
sits in the
beautiful
Conwy
Valley
reached
either
along the
A470 or
across the
River
Conwy from Trefriw. It is no longer the only
bridging point of the river Conwy, yet it still wears
an air of importance as the market town for the
Conwy Valley. Pont Fawr, the steep and elegant
stone bridge designed by Inigo Jones, is however still the town's focal point. The 16th century bridge is so
narrow as to allow single file traffic only, thus causing many a heated argument at the top of the bridge and
bringing a new meaning to the words "cross over the bridge".
Inigo Jones also designed another of Llanrwst's memorable buildings the 17th century Gwydir Chapel
which houses one of Wales' most important historic artefacts. The Chapel is to be found down a narrow
street, past the restored row of Almshouses, in the grounds of St Grwst's Church, which overlooks the
river Conwy on the town bank of the river. The Chapel was built for the powerful Wynne family, whose
home was just across the river at Gwydir Castle, and it contains a massive stone coffin, the remaining half
of the sarcophagus in which Llywelyn the Great's body was laid to rest. Magnificent portrait brasses and an
effigy of a knight in armour accompany the old cold empty coffin.
Still on the west bank but wisely set further back from the river stands Gwydir Castle, for centuries the
seat of the aforesaid influential Wynn family. The house has a fine sequence of Tudor rooms, though much
of the house was rebuilt in the 19th century. The current owners are undertaking an extensive programme
to restore Gwydir Castle to its former glory, and have recently obtained the panelling from the Dining
Room which left Gwydir in the 1920's and was discovered in store in New York.
Back over the bridge and into Ancaster Square and you will find, as with all market towns, an abundance of
pubs. Many are ancient coaching inns, and a fair number retain their character as well as the Welsh
language, especially when the farmers descend on the town on the beast market days.
Accommodation can be found in a small number of hotels within the town and a number of holiday
cottages, again either in the town or more likely in the smaller villages of the Conwy Valley or on the
hillsides surrounding the town.
St Grwst’s Church
The Church erected on this site about 1170 was a thatched building which was partly destroyed by fire
when Llanrwst was ransacked by Owain Glyndwr’s uprising, and was completely destroyed in 1468 by the
Earl of Pembroke’s men, when the Yorkists retaliated for the burning of Denbigh. It was rebuilt in 1470
and it was 66 years later when the Rood Screen was brought here-supposedly from the Abbey of
Aberllechog, or Maenan the dissolution of the monasteries.
In 1884 the church was restored by Paley and Austin, at a cost of £2,300, when all the old-fashioned pews
and the western galley were removed. The square tower, containing two bells, and the North Aisle were
added. In 2004, the South Aisle was reroofed.
The lady chapel of St Mary, in the North Aisle, was consecrated in 1970- the alter having been brought
from the English Church dedicated to St Mary, built in 1841-2 on the Betws Road, now demolished.
Chancel Screen and Rood Loft
The most interested feature in the church is the Rood Screen, with its minstrels’ gallery above, and which
separates the Nave from the Chancel.
The Screen is of richly carved oak and displaying intricate carvings of foliage, fish, birds and weird dragons.
It’s not certain that this screen came from the Abbey at Maenan at its dissolution. The Rood Loft was used
for musicians and singers from mediaeval times, well into the 19th Century.
As you examine the screen, notice how each tracery panel is different, for example the pomegranate (the
badge of Catherine of Aragon), emblems of the Passion and pigs eating acorns etc.
Re-ordering Project
The church of St Grwst is in the early stages of a major reordering project so this is an exciting and busy
time for the church community. The imaginative scheme, which has been fully approved, involves the
development of this beautiful Grade 1 listed building in a way that respects its history but will also allow it
to be better adapted to 21st century worship and use. As well as offering new and creative liturgical
opportunities, we believe that this scheme will encourage wider use of the building, foster improved links
with our local community and contribute to the important tourism economy of the town. The scheme will
enhance historical features such as the Gwydir Chapel and the Rodd Screen and offer modern facilities
such as better heating, flexible seating and kitchen and toilet facilities.
Present Day Church Statistics
The Church seats 350 and the Electoral Roll has 38 members.
Average attendance on a Sunday 10: Welsh Service, 20: English Service
Last year, the Church had 45 Baptisms, 3 Confirmees, 10 Weddings and 40 Funerals /Cremations
The last Quinquennial inspection was held in 2010 and some works are yet to be carried out.
Although there are no retired clergy living in the parish, there are two dedicated and hard-working
worship leaders.
As well as the usual Sunday services there are some traditions that are kept:
St Grwst Feast day Dec 1st
A Plygain is very well established and well attended on the 1st Sunday in January
Women’s World Day of Prayer shared between church, chapels and RC church.
Llanrwst Churches Together is a strong and supportive movement that has developed some of the
following areas of shared mission:
Prayers for the sick –last Wed of each month held on a rota basis in each church and chapel.
Various joint services throughout the year including:
January: Service for the week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Lent: Weekly Lunch Meeting
Palm Sunday: walk of witness
May: Christian Aid
October: Harvest Supper
December: Open Air Carol Service on the Town Square and Operation Christmas Child
Details of other places of worship
Other denominations include 5 Chapels and Catholic Church.
Schools
There is Primary School with 269 pupils in Ysgol Bro Gwydir and a High School, Ysgol Dyffryn Conwy,
with 750 pupils.
Buildings
Other buildings include the Church House and the Vergers Cottage.
PARISH OF LLANDDOGED WITH CAPEL GARMON
Llanddoged Church
The church is dedicated to St Doged – a 6th century Welsh king and martyr. Doged was slain by the King
Cilydd who wanted Doged’s wife as his own, and the original church here was probably erected as a
martyrium to him in the 6th century.
A Martyrium is a Church which was built over the tomb or relics of a martyr, or which occasionally was a
Church built in honour of a martyr. There was once a statue of the Saint in the Church, but this has long
disappeared.
The present Church is an interesting building: it is a listed building, being an edifice of stone, set in the
middle of a circular churchyard, and consisting of a double nave having sitting for 200. It’s said to have been
rebuilt in 1839 by the Rector, the Revd Thomas Davies, with the help of the Rector of Eglwysbach, the
Revd David Owen, at the cost of £495.00. Their work, though, was no more than a remodelling. It is also
said that the second Aisle was added to the original Church after the Reformation (Topographical
Dictionary of Wales, 1833). So we have a survival of the double-aisle plan into post-Catholic times.
The East windows, both of three round-headed lights, are 16th century. It may be presumed that the
others, which are stone-framed, are of similar date – the timber imitations being of 1839.The arcade of six
plastered pointed arches on the timber post (which have been renewed) is also of the remodelling.
The Pulpit is in the middle of the North Wall. It is a two-decker, and together with the Clerk’s desk in
front, makes it a three-decker. Above is a circular skylight of coloured glass.
The Box pews are focussed on the pulpit and there are raked pews marked “Boys & Girls” at the west
end.
The Font is ancient and consists of an octagonal bowl of diminishing width of convex profile.
The Panelling behind the altar is 17th century, and there are indications that rails were arranged on all
sides.
St Doged’s Well
If you turn to the right immediately after going out through the gates, and follow the churchyard wall, then
past the two cottages on the right hand side, you will come, near the entrance to a new housing estate, to
St Doged’s Well. It is now enclosed within a low square wall along three sides, has a locked wooden door
on the north side, and is capped with slate slabs. The water of the Well in the past was famous as a cure
for eye-disorders.
Services at St Doged
9.30am every Sunday except for the 1st Sunday of the month when the service is at 5pm – all services are
bi-lingual. After services, fair trade tea/coffee is served and donations put in a box- the money given to the
local Hospice charity.
We support Christian Aid and also Operation Christmas Child
The average number attending services is 18.
Llanddoged School
The School was built in 1827 and is a Voluntary Controlled Church School. An extension was built in the
early 1970s, in 2007 the school was re furbished and a new hall was built and this acts as a canteen for the
children to have their dinner and do their sport. The school has won an award for being a green in 2010
after it was re furbished.
Links between the Church and the School have developed significantly in the last few years and we are
continuing to nurture this important relationship. There are around 52 children in the school and their first
language is Welsh. They have a service in the hall every Tuesday morning and the Rector attends this
service regularly. The Rector is a School Governor and will lead a Leavers’ Service this year.
The Village
There are strong links between the Church and the wider village community and the relationship is a very
supportive one. At Christmas, there is a special service in the Church with the local brass band, followed
by carols around the village Christmas Tree. This is followed by refreshments for everyone in Church. The
Church members are good supporters of any event that goes on in the village
Within the village there are a few organisations – but with Llanddoged being so near to Llanrwst, some
activities happen in Llanrwst as well. In the village itself, Merched y Wawr meets every 4th Wednesday in
the month and the Womens’ Institute every 2nd Monday, in the School Hall in the evenings. The Gardening
Club meets on the 4th Tuesday in Maenan Abbey Hotel.
These meetings are well supported by the villagers – and the majority of church members attend these
meetings.
PARISH OF EGLWYSBACH
The parish of Eglwysbach centres on the village which nestles in the beautiful Hiraethlyn Valley a stone’s
throw from the world famous Bodnant Gardens. The population is a mix of native villagers together with
an influx of people, generally of an older age group. The village has not only St. Martin’s Church, but two
nonconformist Welsh Chapels, a Voluntary Controlled Welsh primary school, a Village Hall, a Post Office /
Shop and an Inn. The community is vibrant with many people joining in with the various organisations
within the village, Women’s Institute, Merched y Wawr, Darby & Joan, Sports Association, Historical
Society, Children’s Club, Carpet Bowling, the Eglwysbach Show Society, and the weekly ‘Coffee Stop’
sponsored by the Church, at which many villagers gather for a cuppa’ and a chat on a Thursday morning.
The village is bi-lingual with over 50% speaking the welsh language. The village in general supports St.
Martin’s, even if they worship elsewhere or not at all, and wish to see it continue as the focal point of the
village.
St. Martin’s is a vibrant church and congregation numbers for the Sunday service regularly number between
24 and 30 worshippers, with substantially more on High Days. This increase has been as a result of the
enthusiasm of the clergy, and also the congregation themselves, who make new people feel very welcome.
We have a ‘welcome person’ by the door at each service, and coffee / tea is served at the conclusion,
Sunday morning is not only a worship of God, but also a development of friendship and caring in the
community. On occasion we have subtle variations within our worship to keep the spirit alive. The
Electoral Roll currently stands at 50. Remembrance Sunday is actively undertaken with a service at the
village war memorials situated at the Church gates, and is attended by a cross section of residents. All our
services are bi-lingual and there is plenty of lay involvement – we have a Worship Leader and several
Chalice Assistants. We have a thriving Sunday school which is proving popular with children from the
village. The children regularly take part in Church services.
St. Martin’s has over the last few years forged a link with the local Welsh Methodist Chapel, and we
exchange services, especially during the week for Christian unity. We also have an overseas Charity link
with the KIWI project in Uganda, where we support an orphanage with monetary and other gifts to help
with the health and schooling of the children there.
St Martin’s Church
Eglwysbach, as a parish, can be identified back to the dissolution of the monasteries, and the Abbey at
Maenan in particular, the first vicar being David, a former monk from the abbey. The first written evidence
of Christianity in the locality is the end of the 13th century. Vestry books and registers are established
since 1600, and are held at the archives in Llandudno. There is evidence of a former church on the site of
the present church which was pulled down sometime around 1777 due to its ruinous condition. The new
church was started around 1780. The present interior was remodelled in 1840, providing new pews, wall
panelling and altar rails.
The present church is dedicated to St Martin of Tours, although when and how a minor French saint is
associated with a small Welsh village remains a mystery. The building is Listed, Grade 11. The church,
which is constructed of stone walls overlaid by a slate roof contains three aisles and seating for over 300
persons. Externally it has a square stone tower with a single bell. A number of commemorative tablets on
the internal walls refer to some of the prominent former families within the area, and early incumbents.
The Font is from the former church, being dated 1731. There are two small windows in the west elevation
which probably came from the previous building. A large boarded hatchment depicting the Arms of King
George III is on the west wall where evidence can be seen of a west gallery which was probably removed
during the remodelling of the interior. The east window is of stained glass depicting St Martin and St Asaph
flanking Christ in Majesty. It was erected by the parishioners of Eglwysbach in thanksgiving for the outcome
of the Second World War
PARISH OF LLANSANFFRAID GLAN CONWY
We are an ancient parish founded in the 5th century by Maelgwyn Gwynedd and so the worship of God
has been offered up on this site for 1500 years.
Occupying the same site for over 1000 years, the present church was built between 1839-1841 and is
dedicated to St Ffraid. A simple Romanesque basilica style is entered through a west door between two
slim towers, the South tower carrying a single bell. Light and airy, with some of the best Victorian glass in
Wales along with two 14th century lights from the original East Window (now over the west door).In
1909 the gallery was taken down and a rood screen and organ were installed, the pulpit resited and a new
entrance to the vestry created. Light oak pews and an open oak roof gives a feeling of space and lightness.
The church was reroofed 10 years ago and the limestone ridge stones were found to date from the Middle
Ages. Work is to be carried out in the very near future on the West wall and the Eastern Apse
We are a warm and welcoming bilingual church with regular services in Welsh and English and we
celebrate all the major festivals with bilingual services. We have a service every Sunday morning at 11.15am
and a midweek Eucharist at 10am every Wednesday. The midweek service is followed by a meeting of our
prayer and study group.
With an enthusiastic Mothers Union and Banner Group and numerous fund raising and social events during
the year, we are also a very busy and active church. We face the challenges of being a Parish on the border
of Rural and Urban Area, close to the A55 with cheerfulness and optimism. We extend a warm welcome
at all our services.
Mae Eglwys Llansanffraid yn estyn gwahoddiad gynnes iawn i unrhyw un sy'n eisiau ymuno gyda ni i addoli
Dduw yn yr iaith Cymraeg; neu i ddysgwyr. Croeso Cynnes iawn i chi!
DEANERY OF LLANRHOS
The parishes form part of the geographically large deanery of Llanrhos, comprising populous residential and
holiday centres along the North Wales Coast from Towyn to Llandudno as well as the rural hinterland of
the Hiraethog and the Conwy Valley. The Deanery has enthusiastically welcomed the Church in Wales
strategy for the future, 2020 Vision, and will be looking to develop smaller more local groupings in Mission
Areas where parishes can develop locally based ministry teams. More information on 2020 Vision can be
found by following the attached link:
http://www.churchinwales.org.uk/review
OUR NEW HOUSE FOR DUTY PRIEST
We are looking for an enthusiastic and experienced House for Duty Priest to minister alongside our
Rector. The successful candidate will work with lay and ordained colleagues across this group of parishes
but will have special pastoral responsibility for Llansanffraid Glan Conwy and Eglwysbach. We hope that
you will be:





An enabler and encourager, developing the gifts of all God’s people
A good team player who will work closely with our Rector
Excited by the prospect of joining our parishes at this stage in their journey of faith
A good listener and a lively teacher
Supportive of Welsh culture, language and heritage
We can offer:



A warm welcome from congregations who are looking forward to the future
A dedicated ministry team that will support and encourage you
An attractive modern four bedroomed vicarage in Llansanffraid Glan Conwy
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