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Site 12

Llangar

Church of All Saints

Directions

The church is signposted from the B4401 Corwen to Bala road (signposted Cynwyd). Park in lay-by and descend rocky footpath by a brook, passing a house and looking for a labelled gate on the right. The church will then come into view. The footpath is not suitable for the disabled or infirm. The interior can be viewed through the east window.

A walk down the footpath to the isolated church of Llangar is amply rewarded by its idyllic setting above the confluence of the Dee and Alwen rivers, in a steeply sloping churchyard with jumbled tiers of tombstones. According to legend, it was originally named ‘Llan Garw Gwyn’, ‘the church of the white stag’, after a magical deer whose appearance prompted its foundation. Today the exterior is brightly whitewashed, as most local churches were until Victorian times. Its present neat appearance (and indeed its survival) is due to a rescue operation by CADW: Welsh Historic Monuments, after over a century of abandonment and decay.

CADW’s painstaking restoration retained Llangar’s charming Georgian furnishings: the towering three-decker pulpit; the box-pews for gentry and rough benches for lesser mortals; and the ‘singing gallery’ with its four-sided music stand. It also revealed many much earlier features, including the medieval timber roof with its barrel-vaulted ‘canopy of honour’ over the altar. No less than eight layers of wall paintings were rediscovered and restored, ranging from medieval saints and ‘Deadly sins’ within painted timber framing to the grim 18th century figure of death with dart, hourglass and gravediggers’ tools. Here then are five centuries of history, revealed without disturbing the powerful atmosphere of this lonely and magical place.

Access between 2.00 pm & 3.00 pm (Wed-Sun) can be gained by prior arrangement with the custodian at Rug Chapel (Site 11).

Guidebook available.

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Llangar

Llangar