Saturday, 11 December 2010

Llandysul - the Site of St. Tysul's 6th Century Church

St Tysul's Church
Today we travelled to Llandysul beyond the hinterland of Carmarthenshire, just across the border (yes, we took our passports) into Ceredigion, to look at a second-hand Rayburn cooker.

Driving into the (twin?) villages of Llandysul and Pont Tyweli, all we could say was wow. The Christmas lights were delightful, especially down Llandysul's high street, and dotted throughout the village were large painted boards of Christmas scenes (carol singers, an Angel blowing a trumpet etc.).

It really made Llandysul feel really 'Christmassy' and the charming local shops looked warm and welcoming.

So it was as we circled around the town searching out our destination (being Luddites we don't use satnav) we saw a bit of the town and I couldn't help but be drawn by the beautiful and clearly Medieval Church. I'm always pleased to see such lovely Churches, which would have drawn all the local populace for countless Liturgical events, whilst being sad that the Sacraments are no longer practiced there, that Our Lord is no longer present.

According to the history of  Llandysul and Pont Tyweli site (see link below) St Tysul was a member of a very distinguished Holy Welsh family:

The fine old church is the oldest building in Llandysul dating from the 13th century, but standing on an ancient foundation named after St. Tysul who founded it in the 6th century. St. Tysul was the son of Corun, the son of Ceredig, who gave his name to the kingdom, now the county, of Ceredigion.

Ceredig had another son, Sant, who was the father of our Patron Saint, St. David. Thus Tysul and St. David were first cousins.

After seeking and finding our prey, we decamped to the High Street to enjoy a coffee and Welsh cake (each!) in an Italian coffee bar (stocking up on wafer thin sliced salami whilst there), before setting off for home.
Ogham script

According to the same site, there is evidence that Irish Catholics lived in the area:

In the Choir Vestry are a collection of early Christian inscribed stones, amongst which is the Velvor Stone commemorating Velvoria, daughter of Brohomaglus. This stone has a bilingual inscription, in Latin and Ogham - the ancient Irish language, and this gives evidence of the Irish population settled here at the time.
There is much else of interest on the web-site, including links to Owain Glyndwr and his family, the English Civil War resulting in the bridge between Llandysul and Pont Tyweli being partially demolished.

Indeed, given that Owain Glyndwr owned lands in the area, it is no stretch of imagination to envisage the Welsh warlord and his family and followers attending Mass, going to Confession and much more at St Tysul's Church when it (as it stands today) would have been only over 100 years old, and thoroughly Catholic!

History of Llandysul and Pont Tyweli
Wikipedia on Llandysul 
Fantastic S4C (Welsh Channel 4) Slide Show on Llandysul (in English)
Llandysul and Plogonnec in Brittany

P.S. Those of you who weren't paying attention, see my last post, Llandysul literally means the Church of St Tysul (Llan: Church of. Dysul: St Tysul).

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