The clue that you have arrived at St Beuno’s is the gloriously organic lychgate in slate, reconstructed in the 19th century but originally dated 1698. This structure alone testifies to the geological richness of the site, an elevated oval churchyard with monuments of all forms and status.
Dedicated to St Decumanus and dating from the 14th century, with an unusual plan including 3 chapels. In 1994 the oil refinery behind the church blew up and burned for 36 hours; the village was cleared and with no congregation left it was declared redundant and passed to the Friends in 2005.
St Mary’s is decidedly religion without pretension – simple massively structured walls (recently limewashed by Ned Scharer) sheltering a space in which there seems to be no differentiation by wealth. Everybody sits on a backless plank trenched at one end into a low stone wall and supported at the other by a timber paddle.
Designed by ‘Wales’ first architect’ John Jones and of the first churches in the county built according to the principles of the Ecclesiological Society; preaching the ‘virtues’ of the Gothic style – with deep chancels to concentrate the mind on the altar and a prime location by the entrance into the interior for the font.
St Cynhaearn was vested with the Friends in 2003 and we are fortunate that it has strong local support. It sits on the former island in Llyn Ystumllyn at the end of an ancient causeway.