The Church of the Holy Cross at Mwnt - Sarah Woodbury

The Church of the Holy Cross at Mwnt


The Church of the Holy Cross, or in Welsh, Eglwys y Grog, is an ancient church at Mwnt, and is an example of a medieval sailor’s “Chapel of Ease”–meaning it was built to allow sailors to attend service without having to walk all the way to Mwnt. It is located at a secluded cove in Ceredigion.

The church was established during the Age of Saints although it is not credited to a specific saint. The name comes from a cross which was built on the heights above the church as a landmark that could be seen a great distance from land or sea, and it was known as a stopping point for pilgrims traveling north to Bardsey Island and south to St. Davids.

In addition, according to legend, a contingent of Flemings–men from Flanders, brought in by the Norman conquerors as mercenaries–landed here in 1155. Their subsequent defeat by the local Welsh inhabitants of the area was marked, at least in the 18th century when the events were recorded, by secular games played on the first Sunday in January, called, “Coch y Mwnt”–the bloody Sunday of Mount. Nearby is a farm with a well called Ffynnon Grog, the well of the cross, and Nant y Flymon, or the Fleming’s brook, where many human bones have been unearthed over the centuries. The implication is that the dead from the battle were buried in the farmer’s field.

The church itself dates to the 13th or 14th centuries, though it was certainly built over the remains of an older construction. The font has been dated to the 13th century, while the rood loft is 15th century.

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