St Hywyn

This medieval pilgrim church stands above the shore of the Irish Sea, at the end of the Llyn Peninsula, nestled in the old fishing village of Aberdaron.

About this church

The last parish of RS Thomas poet and priest, one of Wales greatest Welsh poets writing in English.

This pilgrim church was established in 516 by Hywyn a cousin of Cadfan who built the monastery on the Sacred Island of Bardsey (Enlli in Welsh) 3 miles offshore from Aberdaron.

Only the doorway remains from the Norman church. It is very worn, not surprising since the sea is only yards away. Inside, the church is spacious and full of light reflected off the sea. The fine old timber roofs are from the 16th century building work. There are the gravestones of Roman Presbyters from the 6th century, who brought Christianity to this remote corner of Wales. Their age means they probably predate the monastery on Bardsey Island.

The stone church was built in the 11th century as the final resting place for pilgrims before crossing the treacherous waters of Bardsey Sound to reach their destinaton on the sacred Island.

In the 21st century it is still a place of refuge, restoration and prayerful peace for the modern pilgrim and tourists on their own spiritual journeys. The services are bilingual, giving visitors an authentic experience of the living Welsh language.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Glorious furnishings
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Wildlife haven
  • Social heritage stories
  • National heritage here
  • Famous connections

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Level access to the main areas
  • Car park at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Café within 500m
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike
  • Church shop or souvenirs

Other nearby churches


St Mary

Set on the Llyn Peninsula, St Mary is medieval in origin but the font is the only survivor of this age, a roughly hewn monolith in brown stone, painted white on its inner face, almost sunk into the shaft beneath.


Capel Newydd

Probably the oldest surviving non conformist chapel in north Wales, this stone building was built in 1770.

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