About this church
St Mary’s is Grade I Listed and one of the most historic churches in Wales.
Cistercian monks founded it as Aberconwy Abbey in 1172. It became central to Welsh learning and national identity because its connections with the Princes of Gwynedd. The greatest of them, Llewelyn Fawr, became effectively King of Wales. In retirement he lived as a monk in Aberconwy and then was buried here.
No wonder Edward I cemented his victory over the Welsh by evicting the monks in 1283 and building the magnificent castle and walled town for which Conwy is now famous. The St Mary’s you can see today is Edward’s garrison church but includes the remains of the Abbey and many fine additions from the 14th to 20th centuries. Take a look at the stunning Tudor rood screen and choir stalls. They were built to celebrate the engagement of Arthur Prince of Wales to Catherine of Aragon and swarm with intricate symbolic carvings. There are also beautiful stained glass windows in Welsh and English, unusual memorials and some rare 17th century lace.
Although bustling with concerts, arts events, festivals and worship, St Mary’s still provides a tranquil, timeless oasis in the very centre of Conwy’s bustling Medieval town, which is a UK tourist must see.
St Mary’s was recently granted the prestigious Trip Advisor 'Traveller’s Choice Award', making it one of the top 10% visitor attractions worldwide. The reason is its large team of friendly, knowledgeable local volunteers who are ready to welcome and offer free tours. There are also leaflets in 9 languages.