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Visiting the old Church of St Baglan in North Wales


hoosie4.4 K14 days ago4 min read

We were in North Wales last week for a few days break. My wife is Welsh, and while there, my father in-law told us about an old church that we had never heard of before, saying that it was really worth a visit. And so we did !


The church is in quite an unexpected location, and if we hadnt been told about it we would never have found it, even if driving right by it !


Its near Caernarfon (pronounced car-nar-von unless you are Welsh !) in north west Wales. But interestingly outside of the town, down a single track road. And even then, its set in the middle of a field of cows ! That is, you cant drive directly to it. You have to go along the single track road, park by the side of the road and then make your way through the field. Thats it surrounded by the trees in the pic above.


The view above is from where we parked. The body of water is the Menai Strait, and then thats some of the Welsh mountains in the background.


We had to walk about 5mins through the field, dodging cow poo as we went, to get to the church enclosure. As can be seen, it was a lovely day.


 The church is enclosed off by a wall from the field, so that the cows dont get in. Its quite old, and a tad overgrown, but it was the inside of the church itself that was worth seeing.


The church is maintained by an organisation called 'friends of friendless churches', who save churches that would otherwise be torn down, converted into houses, etc. So its actually quite lucky that its still around, and they have maintained it in the condition from when it was last properly used (the 1700s).


Parts of the church date back to the 13th century, and it is said that there are artifacts dating back to the 5th or 6th century. A lot of what you can see today dates form the 1700s.


You can clearly see that for example, carved into the wooden pew above (dating from 1737).


This was a small community church, and has a lot of these small enclosures that you dont really see at all these days. I guess these were for specific families.


One of the things that I really liked about the church is the lack of modernisation, so what you see is how it was back in the 1700s - which is pretty cool !


Untypically, the church is in an L-shape, as opposed to the traditional cross shape. The grave yard had a lot of gravestones made from lovely dark grey-purple welsh slate, which is pretty typical in these parts. Interestingly there were some newer graves, so people are still getting buried there.


Its famous for being the resting place of Antony Armstrong-Jones (the 1st Earl of Snowdon), who was the husband of Princess Margaret - the Queen's sister. I was quite surprised to see that, however his family has links to the area and or to the church specifically and hence he was laid to rest there in 2017.


Thats the baptismal font above, covered with quite a heavy wooden lid.


We were really all quite impressed with the place, and were glad we went to see it. It was very unexpected, and we would have never even heard of it, if it hadnt come up in conversation (because we said we were going to visit Caernarfon).


The windows were pretty cool - they look rough crafted - hence showing their age.


We stayed a while checking it out before making our way back across the field. While there, other people were coming and going too, so its clearly known about.


When we first got there, the cows were mostly on the ridge to the left of the church, and quite far from the path that took you to it (as per the pic above).


Then by the time we got back out of the field, they had come right up to the gate. It was probably a good job we got out first, because these are young bullocks, and can be prone to going a bit wild - although I dont think they would present too much danger, unless they got frightened and stampeded.


I was really impressed, and love finding places like that, that are not so well known. I'd definitely go back and see it again (noting that we are often in North Wales because my wife comes from there).


Well worth the visit !!!


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