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Clynnog Vawr


National Gazetteer (1868)

"CLYNNOG VAWR, a parish in the hundred of Uwch Gorfai, in the county of Carnarvon, North Wales, 9 miles S.W. of Carnarvon, its post town and railway station. This pretty little village is situated about 10 miles from the foot of the Rivals, near the sea-shore. Its church, as Pennant truly remarks, is the most remarkable structure of its kind in North Wales. It is built in the form of a cross, and is a fine specimen of the late perpendicular style of Henry VII. Its length from E. to W. is 130 feet, and its breadth, from N. to S., 70. It consists of a nave, transept, and chancel, with a tower, and at the western end a porch surmounted by a muniment room, and a sacristy, also surmounted by a room. The church contains tombs of the Glynne and Twisleton families, and a curious oak chest, carved out of a solid tree, which was once used for the reception of offerings to St. Bino, or Beuno, to whom the church is dedicated, and who is supposed to have founded an abbey in 616.

Adjoining the church, to the S.W., is the chapel of St. Bino, which communicates with the tower, and in which the saint was buried. An elaborate article on the architecture of this chapel will be found in No. 14 of the "Archaeologia Cambriensis," written by the Rev. H. Longueville Jones. The church has been admirably repaired through the indefatigable exertions of the worthy vicar, the Rev. Robert Williams; but funds are still required for the restoration of the chapel, near which is St. Bino's Well. About a mile from the church, on a farm called Bachwen, is a cromlech, remarkable for its large superincumbent stone, which has numerous small holes on its surface and two large ones, and for having four instead of three supporters. Within a short distance of the sea-shore, all the way to Carnarvon, are numerous British posts. The most remarkable one is Dinas Dinlle, which can be distinctly seen from Dinas Dinorddwig."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson 2003]

A Topographical Dictionary of Wales
Samuel Lewis, 1833

CLYNNOG (CELYNOG), a parish in the hundred of UCHGORVAI, Arvon division of the county of CARNARVON, NORTH WALES, 10 miles (S. S. W.) from Carnarvon, on the road from  that town to Pwllheli, containing 1731 inhabitants. This extensive parish is situated on the shore of St. George's channel : the village stands on a plain, at the base of Gyrn Goch mountain, and is distinguished as having been the residence of St. Benno, who built a church here, near his cell, which was afterwards made collegiate, and, at the time of the Lincoln Taxation, in the year 1291, had an establishment consisting of five portionists, or prebendaries, which continued until the general dissolution, and was endowed with extensive possessions, assigned by divers native princes and wealthy individuals, among which was the township of Clynnog, which is held freely under it at the present time. St. Beuno is also said to have founded a monastery here, which, however, more probably owed its origin, in 616, to Gwethaint, or Gwyddaint, one of his disciples : it was situated at a place called Monachdy Gwyn, about two miles south-eastward from the church, and, having fallen into decay, after its first inmates were dispersed, was restored for the reception of Carmelites, or White friars, and called Monachdy Clynnog Bach, to distinguish it from Clynnog-Vawr, the township given as part of the endowment of the church. This society was probably of no long duration, but it is not known at what period it was suppressed, nor has any thing further been ascertained regarding the history of the establishment. According to tradition, the original church, founded by Benno, was destroyed by fire in 976; and a book concerning it, called Tiboeth, written by St. Twrog, and mentioned so late as the reign of Henry VIII., is said to have been preserved.

The mountains Gyrn Goch and Gyrn ddu here form the extremity of a long ridge, stretching obliquely from Snowdon, and terminating at a short distance from the sea. Copper-ore and manganese exist among the mountains in various parts of the parish, but no spirited efforts have yet been made for working the mines. Fairs are held on May 6th and November 6th.

The living is a discharged vicarage, in the arch-deaconry and diocese of Bangor, rated in the king's books at 6, and in the patronage of the Bishop of Bangor : the rectory, which is rated at 24, is a sinecure, annexed to the headship of Jesus' College, Oxford, the principal of which receives two-thirds of the great tithes. The church, dedicated to St. Beuno, is a large cruciform edifice, built in the time of Henry VII., in the later style of English architecture, and consisting of a nave, chancel, and north and south transepts, with a lofty square tower at the west end. On the south side, and communicating with the church by a narrow passage, is a large building, called Eglwys Benno, in which the remains of the founder were interred : it is now used as a school-room, in which about fifty children are gratuitously instructed by subscription. St. Benno, who was uncle to St. Winifred, whom he took under his protection, and is fabled to have re-united her head to her body, on its being struck off by Cradocus, son of King Alen, on which, through his intercession, the virgin was restored to life, had his shrine at this place, which was held in great veneration, even until within the last seventy years, for the miracles reputed to have been performed at it : a plain altar-tomb, the monument of the saint, stood in the middle of the building, called Eglwys Beuno, or St. Beuno's chapel, which it was customary for the superstitious to cover with rushes, and place thereon sick children, or other diseased persons, after subjecting them to ablution in a neighbouring holy well, convinced that, after passing a whole night on his tomb, the patient would be restored to health by the miraculous interposition of the saint. In the east window of the church are some fragments of stained glass, and the date MDLXXXIV; and there are some interesting monuments of the families of Glynne and Twisselton, among which is a neat monument to the memory of Colonel Twisselton, an active officer during the parliamentary war, who defeated and made prisoner Sir John Owen, near Llandegai, in 1648. Both the church and chapel of St. Beuno are in a state of considerable dilapidation, from the loss of the funds with which they were formerly kept in repair.

Until towards the close of the last century a custom prevailed of offering, in aid of the repairs of the church, or for the relief of the poor, calves and lambs born with the Nod Beuno, or mark of St. Beuno, a certain natural mark in the ear, which were brought to the church on Trinity Sunday, the festival of the saint, and delivered to the churchwardens, who, having sold them, put the money into a large chest, called Cyf St. Beuno, made of one piece of oak, and secured by three locks, still preserved in the church, which, in allusion to its strength, gave rise to a local phrase applicable to any difficult undertaking that was intended. There are four places of worship for Calvinistic Methodists and one for Baptists within the limits of the parish. Several small charitable donations have been made by different benefactors, the interest of which is divided among the poor annually at Christmas. In a field at Bachwen is a very large cromlech, and near it an upright stone, about nine feet high. The average annual expenditure for the maintenance of the poor is 499. 15.

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