Churches have been described as ‘signposts to the Gospels’
“I believe it is vitally important that we ensure these signposts are not just there for the regular worshipper but to give a visible sign of God’s love and the Church’s ministry to all.” (Bishop Wyn Evans)
Some churches in our diocese which are already open
St Peter’s Church, Lampeter Velfrey
Gerald of Wales mentions Lampeter and Velfrey in his autobiography (1204) so a church probably gave the place its name. The oldest man-made object in the church is the font, still in use after 700 years. Other monuments relate to the Allen family of Cilrhiw, connected by marriage to Josiah Wedgwood, Charles Darwin, Roget (of Thesaurus fame), the poet Henry Longfellow and Lord Salisbury the former Prime Minister. Open 24/7
St David’s Church, Llanddewi Velfrey (Listed, Grade 2)
‘Off the beaten track’ is an understatement regarding this jewel of a church, hidden south of the A40 down a turning just after the garage (going west). Most of the walls, the bowl of the font and the arcade in the chancel are medieval. The vaults on the outside of the north wall belong to the Lewis family (landowners in the area since at least the 17th century) and the Beynons of Trewern. One former Rector was Isaac Newton’s immediate predecessor as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge; another was the successor of Halley (of comet fame) as Astronomer Royal. This oasis of peace with its prayer-soaked atmosphere is well worth a detour. Open 24/7. Tel: 01994 419834
All Saints’ Church, Llangorwen, near Aberystwyth
Historic Oxford Movement Church, with the first stone altar to be built in Wales following the Reformation. Admire the wonderful bronze chandeliers – a gift to the Church from John Newman, latterly Cardinal Newman, who is now in line for sainthood.
St Mary’s Church, Cardigan
This Grade 2* church was built in the 12th Century by Benedictine monks, whose Priory was next door. Its fine Chancel, rebuilt in the 15th Century, is a superb example of the Decorated style, with many surviving original features. The three-storey West Tower was rebuilt in the 18th Century. Many gravestones relate to the Town’s maritime past. Open daily
This is a single-cell, Grade 1, church of medieval origin with connections to the 6th Century Saints. The Font is of porphyritic stone found in the Preseli hills. This was a stopping place for vigil over the bodies of the saints for pilgrims on their way to Bardsey Island/Ynys Enlli.
Open every day of the year.
This Grade 2* church is set on a beautiful site in a wooded valley. The building is unusual in having a nave and chancel of near equal length. The central steeple is an extraordinary miniature version of a Wren spire, done in local (Cilgerran) stone and tinged with Greek revival detail Wren would never have used! Many other interesting features. A lovely place to spend some time. Open daily
St Tudwal’s Church, Church Road, Llanstadwell
Open every day, in daylight hours. It is situated in a beautiful, peaceful spot on the northern shore of the Cleddau estuary, and is on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. The tower is thought to be Norman. The church has recently undergone extensive renovation and open-air concerts are held during the summer..
This priory church was begun in the twelfth century but most of the surviving fabric dates from the fourteenth and includes window tracery, a piscina, triple sedilia and the tower.
The church is a fine and spacious building with an aisled nave and is open every day, 8.30am to 6.00pm, when visitors can see a splendid Thomas Warne organ, a fine English alabaster statue of Mary and many other features.
St Thomas’ Church, St Dogmaels, (Shrine of Our Lady of Cemais), next to the ruins of the Tironian Abbey of St Mary and the Hanes Llandudoch Heritage Centre, is open throughout the year. Tours can be arranged. For parish pilgrimages, the church and its amenities can be made available for a celebration of the Eucharist or any other service. Tel: 01239 612030.
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