This beautiful little church is based on the site of an ancient Llan attributed either to St Beuno or to a little known Saint Cuwch who may have been female. It fell into disuse and disrepair but is now under the care of the friends of Carnguwch church and the occasional service still takes place there.
The Treasurer of the friends of the church (and the key-holder) lives at Penfras Uchaf farm, Llwyndyrys. He is very friendly and happy to give the key for the church and to point people to the standing stone in his field.
According to the treasurer (because of local old place names and house names) is that the church belonged to St. Engan (or Einion) who was king of the Llyn peninsula, descendant of Cunedda and brother of St. Seriol.
St. Engan is credited with granting St. Seriol the land for Penmon priory and to have a hermitage on Puffin island. He is also said to have brought St. Cadfan across from Tywyn to Ynys Enlli to establish the monastery there. There was a gilded and crowned statue of him at Llanengan church until the reformation. The church also claims to hold his relics.
The Treasurer believes that the site was probably a sacred pre-Christian site due to its natural features being a flat raised area above a river. It certainly seemed to have goddess qualities as well as Christian ones.
The pulpit in the church has 3 tiers and (according to the Treaurer) the warden would sit at the bottom with a stick, one end of which had feathers. His job was to nudge sleepy men with the hard end of the stick and women with the feathered end!
The Church and surrounding cemetery has a very peaceful feel and I would say one that is similar to that of St. Tudwen’s church. A sense of the feminine and a deep sense of love and compassion. Sitting in the churchyard, looking up to Mynydd Carnguwch and listening to the sounds of the river Erch below is a wonderful place to meditate. The church sits above the valley of the river Erch.
This remote site is on the far side of Mynydd Carnguwch which can only be reached on foot, either from the B4177 or from Lwyndyrys. Grid reference SH374418.
By Tara Dew