Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Puzzles in Llangwnnadl

Peter took a party of walkers along the Wales Coast Path yesterday and they diverted inland from Porth Colmon to visit the ancient church of St. Gwynhoedl.

You can make this a circular walk if you park at Porth Colmon or at the picnic area at Traeth Penllech beach. If starting at the picnic area, turn left at the exit of the car park and left again through the copse of trees to the gate into the field. Cross the fields to Traeth Penllech, taking care on the slippery approach down to the beach. If the tide is out you can head west along the beach, then up onto the cliff top path the other side of the ravine. When you get to the little cove at Porth Colmon, head south along the tarmac road. There is a campsite along this stretch on your left, with a little cafe that is open during the summer. Pass the chapel and go straight over the cross roads, before heading down hill to St Gwynhoedl's church on your left. After visiting the church, retrace your steps for a short distance on the road until you come to a footpath on your right that will take you north across the fields to rejoin the road that returns you to the picnic area.

St Gwynhoedl's is a church of ancient foundation but which was largely rebuilt in the early 16th century to accommodate large numbers of pilgrims. The visitors were intrigued by two puzzles -
The first is a stone in the wall of the south aisle. this is not the gravestone of Gwynhoedl because that is now in Plas Glyn y Weddw, Llanbedrog. It appears that this stone was unearthed in the churchyard before being installed in the wall in more recent years. It is a pilgrim's stone, on which pilgrims would have followed the sign of the cross with one hand whilst crossing themselves with the other.
Similar pilgrim stones have been found at other churches with a tradition of pilgrimage. Here is one from the church at Clynnog Fawr.

The second puzzle is the gravestone by the church door which tells of a gentleman who passed away in October 1746 aged 93. "He lived under 9 sovereigns". The challenge is to name them. Go on, have a go without using Google!

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