Christian worship began here as far back as the sixth century, and its founder St Gwynno is also commermorated at Llantrisant and Vaynor. The church at Llanwynno is a medieval building, difficult to date.
The church was restored in 1894, paid for by Miss Olive Talbot of Margam. The belfry and west doorway were added, as well as larger windows with impressive stained glass and a new doorway to the porch. In a niche above the doorway stands a figure of Gwynno copied from a medieval stained glass window at Llanwynog in Powys. Inside the church is an ancient font and a fragment of an early Celtic cross which probably dates from the 7th or 8th century. The Cistercian Way, a long distance footpath around Wales which links the Cistercian historic sites of the Principality, runs past the church.
The oldest grave dates back to 1167 but the most famous belongs to the legendary 18th century runner Griffith Morgan. Known as Gyto Nyth Bran he died in 1737 after finishing his last and greatest race. He ran 12 miles in 53 minutes and upon being congratulated by his sweetheart for his achievement he collapsed and died. He was laid to rest near the western porch and tourists visit his grave from all around the world.
The world famous Nos Galan Road Races, first run in 1958, takes place in his memory each New Year’s Eve in the nearby town of Mountain Ash. It is now acknowledged to be one fo the finest in the UK and regulary attracts large numbers of competitors and spectators. Each year a mystery runner is unveiled and has included such luninaries as David Bedford, Lillian Board, David Hemery and former World Rugby player of the year Shane Williams.
The Edward Thomas Awards date back to 1678 when Edward Thomas left a will saying that Five Pounds be distributed 21st December each year to ten poor persons of the Parish of Llanwynno. The practice of giving 50 p to ten persons continues today but now to ten people who have made significant contributions to the life of the Parish or their local communities.
In August there is a Flower Festival on the Bank Holiday weekend. In September the Pilgrims stop in the church for a short service on their way to Penrhys to visit the medieval site of Our Lady and Jesus statue.
In 2016/7 the roof St Gwynno’s was replaced, thanks to the award of a listed places of worship roof fund grant of £71,000.
are held during the summer months on some Sunday afternoons.
to find out more about St Gwynno’s or how to access it
Glynis – 01443 790986