Description of the church and its contents along with the history where known.
NB The numbers on the plan refer to the number in the text.
A guide to Cynwyd Parish Church
This guide has been made up for the most part using information from the Terrier on St. John’s church (compiled by the Rev Maurice Evans during his incumbency), and from information from parishioners. I also acknowledge source information from the books “O Ferwyn i Fynyllod” by Trevor O Jones and W. Nigel Yates book (ISBN 0 948329 86 6) “Rug Chapel, Llangar Church, Gwydir Uchaf Chapel” published through the auspices of CADW. The plan is intended to enable you to find your way around the church and is not strictly to scale. There are many who have given me information about the Parish Church, and what I have done is not to write a consecutive history, but to draw attention to several points of interest and let them speak for themselves. It is not intended to be a definitive history of the church, and there are some unresolved discrepancies relating to some of the data. Should there be any points of interest relating to St. Johns Church please do let me know so that, if suitable, they can be recorded. I do hope that the readers enjoy their visit to the church.
Len Harrison – April 2006.
The original church for the area was All Saints at Llangar, which is about half way between Cynwyd and Corwen. It is well signposted from the B4401 Cynwyd Corwen road, with car parking in the lay-by on the opposite side of the B4401. There is no facility to take cars down to the church.
The older (Llangar) church probably dates from the twelfth or early thirteenth century. Anyone interested in this early church should look at W. Nigel Yates book (ISBN 0 948329 86 6) “Rug Chapel, Llangar Church, Gwydir Uchaf Chapel”) published through the auspices of CADW. This older chapel is now owned by CADW, but there is a facility to allow the Church in Wales to hold two services a year there.
The church of St. John the Evangelist, Cynwyd was built in 1855 and consecrated on 5th August 1856. The idea for a new church was because the area of habitation had moved further up the valley towards Bala. By 1853 it had been agreed by the Gwyddelwern and Llangar parishes that there should be a scheme whereby Cynwyd should be detached from the parish of Gwyddelwern, and added to Llangar. It was subsequently determined to build a new church at Cynwyd to replace All Saints church at Llangar, rather than spend a large sum needed to undertake the restoration of the old Llangar church, (on account of its inconvenient location). Sir Robert and Lady Vaughan Wynn of Rug donated £500 towards the building and gave the land. A further £100 was given by the Bishop of St. Asaph, and various other donors gave £120. The sum of £147 was contributed from the Incorporated Church Building Society. Lady Vaughan Wynn laid the cornerstone. The reverend John Dawson was the last rector of the old Llangar Church and the first at the present church (St. Johns). He unfortunately died in 1858 aged 47 and just three years after St Johns was opened. The following rectors came after him:-
1858 William Williams (?)
1872 Thomas Jeffrey Jones, B.A.
1877 . N.P.Evans
1885 Lodwick Edward Davies
1908 Alfred Abel
1915 . A.W.Rees
1928-1955 John Jeremiah Simon.
The Reverend J.J.Simon (pictured left, believed taken in the 1920’s), retired on June 30th 1955, and was the last rector to live in the Llangar Rectory. After this the church came under the care of the rural dean, the Reverend W. Roger Hughes, B.A. of Bryneglwys, until his death. Following this the Reverend E. Goronwy Owen, who was rural dean and rector of Corwen, took over. He came from this area originally. After the 26th October 1963 the Reverend Hugh Thomas took over the care of the parish, but because of ill health he only lasted three months. The Reverend E. Goronwy Owen then came back again as he was rural dean. However Bishop David Barclett quickly appointed a new rural dean of Edeyrnion, namely Reverend J.R.Evans of Glyndyfrdwy. St. Johns was under his care until July 1966 when the rector of Corwen, the Reverend Canon Ifor Phillips took over the Llangar parish as well as Corwen – (rectangular picture). The merger was first agreed in principle at a Cynwyd PCC in 1955 and reaffirmed at the PCC meeting on 20th June 1966.
After that the following were rectors of Llangar (and Corwen as well).
1983 Meirion Griffiths
1990 Reverend E.Maurice Evans,C.Eng,MIMechE,JP
1998/9 ReverendBob Gough,ITD(Priest in charge only)
2002 Reverend Bethan Scotford, B.A (current rector).
The oval picture above is of Reverend Maurice Evans with George Gregory (church warden) at the baptism of Aran Richard Roberts (son of Haf and Phillip Roberts) on 18/3/1990.
NB. Rev Bob Gough started in Cynwyd only in November 1998, but was licenced as priest in charge of Corwen and Cynwyd on 21 February2000.
Next to St. Johns church there is Ysgol Isa. This was a National school built in 1864, with a master’s house attached. It was built at a cost of £552 17s 6d. It was sold in 1878 and the proceeds, £74 18s 8d, giving interest of £2 1s 0d invested for scholarships under an order of the charity commissioners on 1st August 1879. The school closed during the incumbency of the Reverend Lodwick Davies. On the 16th June 1954 this building was conveyed to the representative body of the Church in Wales by Robert Charles Michael Vaughan Wynn of Rug, Corwen. Currently the hall is used by the community, and the house is now privately owned. For many years the house was occupied by the widow of the late Reverend Canon Ifor Phillips (rector Cynwyd 1966-1982).
The architect for the present (1855) church was Mr. Rhode Hawkins of London. The foundation stone was laid by Lady Vaughan Wynn of Rug, and it was consecrated on August 5th 1856. It was decorated internally at the expense of Miss Jones of Tynllwyn.
The church is built in Early English style. The church is constructed of coarse, snecked, dressed slate with sandstone surrounds to the windows. The buttresses are formed of dressed slate stone. The fine looking roof timberwork consists of bracketed knee braced trusses supporting purlins and open rafters..
The plan of the building is a simple Nave and Chancel with a South-facing porch towards the west end of the building, and a vestry off the chancel to the north side of the building. At the west end of the building the gable is extended above the roofline to form a simple spire which contains two bells and a clock. The clock strikes on the hours during daylight hours. The clock is maintained by the local community council.
No significant work has been done on the church since it was built, except that it was reroofed by Byrne Brothers of the Wirral in 1993 at a cost of £29,098.88. This was made up of £22,150.00 for the actual work plus VAT of £3,876.25, and architect’s fees of £2,615.00 plus VAT of £457.63. . A stained glass window in memory of Reverend Canon Ifor Phillips was installed during 1990. (see (3).
1). Stained Glass East Window. This is filled with stained glass by Capromino of Bruxelles, representing the Crucifixion. It is said by the elderly of the community that the window cost £500 in 1855. Note the wonderful richness of the colours.
2). Communion table. This has on it one brass altar cross, two candlesticks and two vases. There is also an altar service bookstand which has the following inscription:- “To the glory of God and in loving memory of my parents, William Ednyfed and Sarah Catherine Williams (late of Gwerclas)”.
3). Stained glass memorial window. This was dedicated on the 2nd October 1990 by the Archbishop of Wales, the Most Reverend Alwyn Rice-Jones. and is to the memory of Canon Ifor Phillips, who was rector in this parish from 1966 to 1982. . The window was designed by Miss Lilian Shaw, of Gunthorpe, Melton Constable, Norfolk and depicts a shepherd in modern clothes surrounded by sheep. The window cost £400 which was raised by public contribution.
4). The communion rails are made of mahogany, supported by ornamental ironwork.
The kneelers were new in 2004 and were the result of a generous donation by Mr. Stan Booth of Cynwyd.
5). Stalls (on chancel steps). Rector and Curate’s stalls are made of pinewood (see next photo).
6). Lectern. This is also made from pinewood.
7). Font. This is made of Portland stone. It is circular and mounted on a stone plinth.
8). Memorial tablet to Colonel Edward Salisbury Lloyd, 49 Regiment Bengal Native Infantry. He was third son of the late R.H.Lloyd esq. of Gwerclas in this parish. It continues to say “His conspicuous bravery in the field at the siege of Mooltan contributed to the success of his country’s arms and was honoured by the gracious acknowledgement of his sovereign. By zeal and impartial kindness in the command of his regiment, he won the esteem of all his brother officers. His uprightness of character and gentle bearing drew around him a large circle of attached friends, while his affectionate disposition endeared him to the members of his own family, in the path of life. He followed Him who was meek and lowly in spirit. In the valley of the shadow of death, he reposed in the mercy and faithfulness of his Saviour, and peacefully fell asleep in Jesus at Nakodah, near Phillour on the right bank of the Sutledge January 24th 1851, aged 45 years.
His mourning widow whilst lamenting her bereavement, joyfully awaits a reunion in the resurrection of eternal life. She and his youngest brother, Captain and Brevet Major Hughes Lloyd, 72nd regiment Bengal Native Infantry, erect this tablet to record their loss”.
9). Memorial tablet to Richard Hughes Lloyd of Gwerclas, died January 23rd 1823 (54) and his wife, Caroline who died November 23rd 1816 (39). This tablet was removed from the old church at Llangar to this one in 1897 by his two grandsons.
10). Memorial tablet to Edward Lloyd of Plymog (County of Denbigh), who died 16th May 1742. The son, Hugh Hughes Lloyd esq. erected this memorial. Again this was moved from the old church at Llangar to here in 1897 by his descendents.
11). Clock and bells. There are two bells in the bellcote. They were installed there in 1855, and both are approximately twelve inches in diameter. One bell is for chiming the time from the clock, and the other is for calling people to worship. The bells are pivoted on a bearing in the wall. There is a mechanism to prevent the bell for the clock sounding at night, so the people of Cynwyd get a good night’s sleep! The clock itself is the property of the local community council.
One of the most important and responsible posts in the area used to be that of bellringer. It was the bellringer’s job to notify the parishioners of any deaths. There was a kind of code to the ringing of the bell to tell what sort of person had died as follows:-
9 rings married man
8 rings married woman
7 rings unmarried man
6 rings unmarried woman
5 rings youth under 20
4 rings girl under 20
3 rings baby boy
2 rings baby girl
The bell was so rung on the day of the death, and also on the exact time of the burial, but on the day before the burial. The bell was also tolled as the mourners went from the funeral to the cemetery.
The other duty of the bellringer was to open and close the grave. When the mourners left the cemetery, the bellringer stood at the gate, cap in hand to receive the collection. Whatever was received was his to keep – for his work in opening and closing the grave. The collection inside the church went to the minister who was taking the burial service, though if the family were needy, the minister presented the collection to them. When the coffin was put in the grave, another the duty of the bellringer was to take the plate (inscribed with the name etc.) from the lid of the coffin and present it to the family. There appears to have been a rule that this plate was put in the kitchen or parlour afterwards.
12). Memorial tablet It says “Underneath lyeth interred the body of Dorothy, 4th daughter of John Maesmore of Maesmore, Esq. by Catherine his wife, daughter of Humphrey Hughes of Gweclass, Esq. who dy’d April 26th AD 1710.”
13). Pulpit with rectors stall to the right in the photo. The pulpit is made of pinewood, and is hexagonal in form.
14). Rector’s stall, on the right of the pulpit as shown. This is made of pinewood..
15). Organ. This is a reed organ, ie sound is produced by air being blown over metal strips called reeds. Electric blowing was introduced during April 1990. It was made by Rushworth and Draper in 1925, and is their Apollo model with two keyboards and a pedal board. The stop disposition is as follows:-
GREAT ORGAN SWELL ORGAN PEDAL ORGAN
Violone 16 Bourdon 16 Open Diapason 16
Open Diapason 8 Gamba 8 Sub Bass 16
Clarabella 8 Flute 8
Dulciana 8 Oboe 8
Tremulant Great to Pedal
Swell to Great Swell Octave Swell to Pedal
16). The credence table has the following inscription on it “To the glory of God and in memory of Ethel Mansey Nelson who spent many happy years at Cynwyd. She loved birds and animals and the wind on the heath and saw the brightness of the skirts of God. 1934.” Originally a credence table had the general use for testing food (by servants) for poisons before serving (the poor servant died if the food was poisoned). In the context of the church today it is used as a small sideboard to hold the elements of the bread and wine before they are consecrated in the communion service.
17). Oak chest. This is dated 1704 and has the inscription E.T.R.T. marked on the front.
Also at the back of a church is an old chest of drawers that was given to the church a few years ago (probably about 1990). No history is known about it, but it used to be that all the hymnbooks and service books were kept in it. The flooring at the entrance is in quarry tiles.
On the outside of the church there is a war memorial. It is near the front gate. It is made of granite stone, and is about fifteen feet high, the base of which is octagonal with a tapering circular column, surmounted with a simple cross. Names are from the 1st world war only, as nobody in the parish was killed on active service during the 2nd world war.
The present Rector is the Rev Bethan Scotford B.A. who can be contacted at 01490 412278, seen here below with the incumbent organist, Mrs. Annie E. Jones.
There will be centenary celebrations from 2005 until August 2006. Please check with the local press for details.
Services are held every Sunday morning at 9.30am, except on the fifth Sunday of the month, when the service is combined at one church in the group.
A message from the Rector.
Thank you for visiting this much loved Parish Church in the village of Cynwyd. It is a mark of the times in which we live, that Parish Churches, that remain open for the benefit of the small rural communities in which they are situated, are becoming a luxury, if not a rarity.
Please pray for the continuance of such ministry, both here in Cynwyd, and in other similar villages; pray for the work and support of the Parish priest, for the Church officers and PCC, and for all who worship here.
May God go with you on your journey from this place.
Prayer for Pilgrims
We give thanks to you, heavenly Father, for the blessings of this pilgrimage
We give thanks.
For the enjoyment we have had together
We give thanks.
For the fellowship we have experienced
We give thanks.
For the greater sense of our unity in Christ that we have developed
We give thanks.
Diolchwn i ti, Dad Nefol, am fendithion y bererindod hon
Diolchwn i ti.
Am y mwynhad a gawsom yng nghwmni’n gilydd
Diolchwn i ti.
Am ein cymdeithas a’n gilydd
Diolchwn i ti.
Am gael ymwybodiaeth ddyfnach o’n hundod yng Nghrist
Diolchwn i ti.
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INCUMBENTS OF THE PARISH OF LLANGAR/CYNWYD
ALL SAINTS CHURCH, LLANGAR (NB some minor differences to text earlier in this booklet)
1254 David, Capellanus de Llangar – Norwich Taxation
1516 Dns. Rice ap Ho’ll Dormer
1536 Dns. Robertus, Rector, abjured Papel Supremacy
1540 Dns. John ab Rhys, was of Llysan, ob 1556 – Arch. Cam, 1878 (P174)
1556 Dns. Griffith ab Llewelyn “residens” 1561
1586 Owen ab John
1592 Sir Thomas ab Rhys, Rector of Newtown, 1583, He was of Gwyddelwern, and younger borther of Mr. John Price, Rector of Clocaenog. Arch., Cam., 1877 (P107)
1614 Davies, Robert
1642 Owens, Robert, A.M., Vicar of Caerwys 1624
1661 Griffith, John, A.B.
1662 Vaughan, Edward, A.M., Jesus College, Oxford (son of Rowland Vaughan of Caergai); Rector of Mallwyd 1684, Canon, 1683
1664 Ellis, Evan, A.B.
1668 Jones, Hugh
1689 Lloyd, John A.B., “Qui jam in remotis agit et ex certia arduis justis et legitimis causis et considerationibus nobis in hac parte factis et approbatis, inductus;” Vicar of Gwyddelwern, 1691
1691 Jones, Edward, Vicar of Machynlleth, 1662-91
1720 Samuel, Edward, A.B., Rector of Bettws G.G. 1702
1748 Samuel, Edward, A.B., Rector of Llangynog 1747 (son of the preceding)
1762 Evans, William, B.A.
1784 Parry, Edward, B.A.,Jesus College Oxford; Rector of Llanferres,1789; son of Edward of Nerquis,gent,and father of John Humphreys Parry, Author of “The Cambrian Plutand(?) of Thomas Parry, Bishop of Barbadoes,1842-70
1789 Davies, Thomas
1796 Williams, Robert, Rector of Llandelgla 1789; Marwnad yn Y Gwyliedydd
1826 Williams, Peter Lewis, M.A., Jesus College, Oxford, rector of llansanan 1836
1836 Griffiths, Frederick B.A., Jesus College, Oxford, (son of John Wynne Griffiths of Garn)
1838 Dawson, John
ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST CHURCH
1856 Dawson, John
1858 Williams, Watkins, St David’s Lampeter; Rector of Nannerch, 1872
1872 Jones, Thomas Jeffrey, B.A., London University; Vicar of Minera, 1863-72; Vicar of Llanfair Caereinion, 1877
1878 Evans, John Pugh, St. Bees; Rector of Efenechtyd, 1865-78; Rector of Llanddoget, 1886
1886 Davies, Lodwick Edwards, St Aidian’s Curate of Llanfachreth 1878-81; Curate of Llangwm, 1881-83; Curate of Tremeirchion, 1883-86; Vicar Rhydymwyn 1909
1909 Abel, Alfred, Lampeter B.A., Curate of Hawarden, 1901-07; Curate of Ruthin w Llanrhydd, 1907-09; Vicar of Minera 1915
1915 Rees, Alfred William,B.A., M.A., Curate of Wrexham, 1907-15; Rector of Manafon, 1918; Vicar of Bistre, 1924
1918 Williams, Edward Joseph, B.A., Curate of Brymbo, 1905-11; Curate of Llandrillo-yn-Rhos, 1911-18; Vicar of Tremeirchion, 1924
1928 Simon, John Jeremiah, Curate of St. Margaret, Aberaman, 1914-18; Curate of Pentrebach, 1918-22; Curate of Dinas w Penygraig, 1922-26; Curate of Blaenavon, 1926-28, retired 1956, died 1964 aged 82 years, and buried in St. John’s Churchyard, Cynwyd
1966 Phillips, Ivor, B.A., St Michael College, Llandaff, Curate of Denbigh, 1941-51; Vicar of Llanarmon-yn-Ial, 1951-64; Rector of Corwen, 1964-82; Rural Dean of Edeirnion, 1964-82; Died 1982, aged 64 years and buried in New Cemetry Corwen
1982 Griffiths, Meirion, Clifton Theological College, Bristol. Curate of St. Peter’s Upper Holloway, London, 1966-68; Curate of St. James, Taunton, 1968-70; Curate of Ladipole, Weymouth, 1970-74; Rector of St Pancras and St John, Winchester, 1974-82; Rural Dean of Edeirnion, 1982-88, Albany, Western Australia 1988
1989 Evans, Ernest Maurice, J.P., C.Eng.,M.I.Mech.E., St Asaph Ministerial Course, 1983-86, 1983-86; Curate Hope (NSM), 1986-89; Retired 1995
2000 Gough, Bob, I.T.D., Priest in charge. (details from Crockford’s clerical directory). Curate Heston, London 1982-3; curate Feltham 1983-6; Team vicar Hemel Hempstead 1986-90; MSM Kingston All Saints with St. John Southwark 1990-1; commisoned to officiate Southwark 1991-4; commisioned to officiate St Asaph 1995.
2002 Scotford, Bethan Lynne, B.A. Univ of Wales 1967; PGCE 1968; Man Metrop Univ Dip in Ed Management 1986; St Asaph Ministry training 1995; Field worker (Wales) USPG 1998-2002; NSM Guilsfield 1999-2002