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Site 40

Tremeirchion

Church of Corpus Christi and St. Beuno’s Well

Tremeirchion - originally ‘Din Meirchion’, the fortress of Meirchion the chieftain - is a pretty village on the slopes of the Clwydian Hills, overlooking the wide Vale of Clwyd. The attractive church, between the village school and the inn, has an 800 year old yew tree for company, and was renowned for a wonder-working cross: dating mainly from the 14th and 15th centuries, it still retains many ancient features. Among the oldest, forming a seat in the porch, is the interlaced 13th century cross-slab to one Hunyd, wife of Carwed. Within the fine old door, the two vestry windows display a mosaic of good late medieval stained glass, including the haloed head of St. Ann, mother of he Virgin Mary. A south window near the pulpit has unusual 17th century painted glass portraits (from the old vicarage) of James I, Charles I and John Williams, a North Walian who became successively Bishop of Lincoln and Archibishop of York and then fought alternatively for both King and Parliament during the Civil War.

In the north transept extension (added when the church was pleasantly restored in 1864) lies a mail-clad knight of about 1280, shown cross-legged and drawing his sword. Perhaps most impressive of all, byt the altar, stands the great canopied 14th century tomb of the priest Dafydd ap Hywel ap Madog, known as Dafydd Ddu Athro o Hiraddug - ‘Black David, the Teacher of Hiraddug’. Famous as a bard, writer and according to legend) a soothsaying prophet, this vicar of Tremeirchion lies beneath an elaborately cusped arch, on a tomb bedecked with shields of family heraldry and the symbols of the crucifixion (a pew in front folds down to reveal these shields). Among notable later features are a fine Georgian chest, a chained parish handbell, and a tablet to Dr. ‘Dictionary’ Johnson’s friend Hester Thrale.

Brynbella, Mrs. Thrale’s 18th century mansion (private) stands below the village, behind a long stone wall beside the B5429. Opposite its lower gateway, in a stone enclosure by a grey-rendered house in a hollow, is Ffynnon Beuno - St. Beuno’s Holy Well, ‘once in great repute for healing’. As if to emphasize the link between sacred springs and the pagan Celtic head-cult, its water gushes from the mouth of a roughly caved stone head of unknown age.

Church open weekdays by appointment. Contact the Deanery (01745) 583597.

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St. Beuno's Well, Tremeirchion