St. Beuno's Church at Clynnog Fawr - Sarah Woodbury

St. Beuno’s Church at Clynnog Fawr

The church of St. Bueno at Clynnog Fawr that we see today dates to the 15th century, but the original church was much older.

St. Beuno himself was a 7th century saint and the uncle of St. Gwenffrewi, who was one of the 7 people he is credited with raising from the dead. Beuno is believed to have studied in Bangor, and then set out on his own, establishing churches throughout Wales.

At Clynnog Fawr, on land given to him in perpetuity by a cousin to Gwynedd’s king, Beuno established not only a church but a clas, an institution of the Celtic church that was both monastery and college.

In the years after Beuno’s death in 640, Clynnog Fawr grew rapidly, ultimately becoming an important ecclesiastical site, as well as a stopping place for those on pilgrimage to Bardsey Island. One notable item within the church is Beuno’s Chest, an ancient box carved out of a single piece of ash wood, used to collect these pilgrims’ offerings.There is also a rare 10th century sundial in the churchyard, a reminder that the church used to be part of a monastery, with monks who needed to keep time to observe the holy offices.

Ultimately, St. Bueno’s tomb, well, and church, became a place of pilgrimage too.

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