Eglwysilan is a typical Welsh ‘village’ with a church, a pub and not much else. The church is sturdy but wide and full of light and peace. On the north wall is a sandstone slab carved with the figure of a warrior. This has been dated to the 8th-10th century.
St Ilan, after whom the church is named, is one of the least-known of Welsh saints. According to one tradition he was a pre-Norman bishop of Llandaff, but this may be a story made up to explain the name. The Book of Llandaff (compiled in about 1100) calls the church Merthyr Ilan - not the place of his martyrdom but the place where his relics were kept..