Traditionally founded by the local hermit St Silin in the 6th century though most of the present building is 13th century and the south nave was added in the 15th century. It has a lovely eighteenth-century ‘sunburst’ pulpit made by a local craftsman. The church was a popular pilgrimage destination in the Middle Ages. Pilgrims climbed the hill called Rhipyn Seimon. At the flat stone on the top they sat or knelt and prayed, in gratitude for having got there. The place names around the church are full of a sense of belief. Pant-y-bettws means ‘Prayerhouse Meadow’, Bromihangel is ‘Michael’s patch’, and the fields near the church are locally called Cae’r Paderau Bach, ‘ the fields of little prayers’.
This is a remote and lovely church, and still very much the heart of a living community. When we went there just after Christmas the children had filled the church with their own decorations: toy animals were clustered around a star, and a prayer tree was decorated with old CDs.