History of our Church

A brief history from the 6th century to the present day.

The Patron Saint of the Church is Grwst ( Gwrwst, Gorwst) a 6th century saint whose festival, Gwyl Rwst falls on December 1st. He was the son of Gwaith Hengaer- decended from Coel Hen (Godebog) through Urien Rheged. His mother was Euronwy, daughter of Clydno Eiddeyn. His signature “Sanctus Gwrwst” occurs with those of Saints Deiniol and Trillo amongst signatories to a grant by Maelgwyn Gwynedd to St Kentigern.

The original church would have been a wooden structure dubbed with clay on another site now called “Cae Llan” near to where the Presbyterian Chapel Seion stands today.

The original church erected on this tranquil site on the east bank of the River Conwy was given by Rhun ap Nefydd Hardd, in the 11th century, to expiate his father’s sin of murdering Prince Idwal, son of Owain Gwynedd. This first church on this site was erected about 1170 and would have been a thatched building partly destroyed by fire when Llanrwst was sacked by Owain Glyndwyr in the uprising. The building was completely destroyed in 1486 by the Earl of Pembroke’s men when the Yorkists retaliated for the burning of Denbigh. It was rebuilt in 1470.

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 gallery were removed. The square tower containing two bells and the North Aisle would have been added at this time.

The lady chapel of St Mary, in the North Aisle, was consecrated in 1970 with the altar from the “English “ Church dedicated to  St Mary’s which was built in 1841 and closed in the early 20th century. The church is now completely demolished but the churchyard still has to be looked after by the parish.

The stained glass window in the Lady Chapel was the Millennium project and came from the church of the neighbouring parish of  Capel Garmon. The church of St Garmon was erected on the site of the former church in 1863 but sadly closed at the end of the 20th century. Once again the upkeep of this churchyard falls to the parish of Llanrwst.

The church is a Grade One Listed building.