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31 July 2014
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Llangynhafal

Llangynhafal is one of the many pretty villages in the Vale of Clwyd. It lies on the Pilgrim Way from Holywell to St David's. The Golden Lion is a good village pub with very reasonably-priced food. You could do a good pub crawl around here (on foot, naturally!) going from the White Horse and the Golden Lion in Llandyrnog to the White Horse in Hendre'rwydd and the Golden Lion in Llangynhafal - or you could spend days here exploring the footpaths between the villages and over the Clwydian range, looking at old churches and eating in a different pub every night.

There is also plenty of accommodation. We stayed at Esgairlygain - a converted farm building, used to dealing with walkers and offering virtually unlimited quantities of tea at the end of the day's walking. Like many local B&Bs, they will collect you from the top of one of the roads leading off the Clwydian ridge, and for a small fee they will ferry luggage to your next night's lodging.

Llangynhafal Church stands in its circular churchyard up the lane which leads through the 'Fairy Glen' to Moel Famau and the Clwydian Range. The church is double-naved, like so many of the local churches. The two hammer-beam roofs have carvings of angels and grotesque heads - including both bishops and devils!

The church has a striking carving of a pelican over the high altar. The pelican was traditionally believed to feed her young by pecking at her own breast. She therefore symbolised Christ feeding the church with his own blood. There is another pelican carved on the seventeenth-century pulpit, as well as a lion, a cockatrice and a crocodile. What are these carvings saying about seventeenth-century sermons?

There is a key for the church at Plas-yn-Llan Farm, across the road from the church. The half-timbered building above the church (privately owned - no public access but you can see it from the churchyard) is Plas-yn-Llan House, where the poet William Wordsworth stayed with his old college friend Robert Jones.

Pilgrims going through Llangynhafal could also have visited St Cynhafal's Well. This was considered to be particularly efficacious for curing warts. You pricked the wart with a pin, then threw the pin into the well. The poet Gruffydd ab Ieuan ap Llywelyn Fychan wrote a poem asking St Cynhafal to cure his leg at the well. The well is on private ground: for permission to visit it, and directions on how to find it, tel. 01824 790327.

In the church or the pub, look for a copy of Iona Pierce's book 'Llangynhafal: a parish and its past', which has a lot more information about this fascinating part of the Vale of Clwyd.

Leviathan: monster on the pulpit at Llangynhafal Lion carved on the pulpit at Llangynhafal | Home | Back |
St Cynhafal's Well, Llangynhafal

Last 05-Sep-2006
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