Much of the information contained on this website has been drawn from the excellent guidebook to St Cynllo's written by Rev. Brian Whatmore - this lovingly written and scholarly guide is highly recommended for those who would like to learn more about the history of this beautiful Church.
Copies of the guidebook
are available at the
"The prayer of Cynllo shall not be in vain"
The antiquity of the Christian Faith in Wales is indicated by the fact that, of the four ancient dioceses of S. David's, S. Asaph, Bangor and Llandaff, each covers roughly the territories of one of the four pre-Roman tribes. Certainly Roman missionaries were at work in the 4th century and the independent parts of Wales were completely christianised in the following three centuries by Celtic missionaries. The same period saw also the foundations of numerous Celtic monasteries and was the great age of the Welsh Saints, of whom David, Dyfrig, Deiniol, Teilo and Asaph are perhaps the best known.
At the time of the Celtic Saints an ordinary man in middle age could remember, as a child, that the Ancient Britons had been pressed back towards the Welsh Mountains, taking with them the "Old Faith" which had been brought to these islands by the Romans. He could remember watching the Roman legions embark for Italy after four centuries of Roman rule. He could remember an ordered world on the western boundary of civilisation. And this world already knew something of Jesus Christ. This Welshman (or Ancient Briton) could look back on years of war, conflict, and flight against the heathen Angles and Saxons from over the sea He might tell his children, as they lived in a hut made of wattle and mud, that in his childhood the world was safe behind the shield of Rome. Now only ruins of towns and cities remained with their villas, amphitheatres, pavements, central heating, running water, proper sanitation, mosaics and gardens. It was into this age that S. Cynllo was born.
There is some uncertainty as regards S. Cynllo's parents. Although disputed by some scholars, it seems that he was the brother of S. Teilo, who was son of Ensych or Usyllt ab (son of) Hydwn Dwn ab Ceredig ab Cunedda Wledig, by Gwenhaf, daughter of Llifonwy. At first he was in possession of his ancestral homeland and dominions, and later, and in addition, he devoted himself to the Christian Faith. In the Demetian Calendar his name is entered as Cynllo Frenin (Cynllo, the King) but without a Feast Day. By the 15th century his feast day had been established as 17th July, though this varies slightly in later calendars.
Detail of East window - St Cynllo
The left window panel of three which comprise the main section of the magnificent East Window
The panel depict five Saints - St Thomas, St David, St Dogmaels, St Michael, and St Cynllo, who is believed to be the robed figure in the foreground