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
S. Cynllo's Church is situated down a quiet lane just off the B4334 near the village of Coedybryn and some three or four miles from the River Teifi at Henllan Bridge. Not many miles upstream is Llanddewi Brefi where S. Dyfrig called a Synod in A.D. 519 (Butier's Lives of the Saints) which S. David attended and it can be assumed that S. Cynllo would have known about it. It is said that the best salmon fishing, for which the Teifi is renowned, is between Lampeter and Llandysul, though there is no shortage of the delicacy at Henllan and down-river at Cenarth as far as the tide. At Henllan there is a most lovely walk along the river to view the picturesque rapids and, maybe, a leaping salmon.
The nearest towns of any size are Llandysul and Newcastle Emlyn.
The only relic of the castle at Newcastle Emlyn is a gateway on a
mound almost encircled by the Teifi. This castle was 'new' in the
time of Edward I (1239 - 1307), when Sir Rhys ab Thomas built it
on a site which had been occupied by Llewelyn the Great and
Llangynllo is in the ancient diocese of S. David's. The City received its
Royal Charter by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth n as recently as 1995.
H. V. Morton in his In Search of Wales writes "a man looking at the
church (the cathedral) in the hollow knows it to possess the longest memory in
In the sixth century S. David moved his bishopric from Caerleon (Gwent)
to Pembrokeshire and built a structure of rough stone in a sheltered hollow.
S. David's Cathedral has a long and noble history and "just as every
Welshman looks up to S. David as the Patron Saint of his country, so must
the lover of beautiful things turn to his Cathedral as the noblest work of art
which Wales can show. For it is not only a church of great archaeological
interest, and of the first importance in the history of architectural
development, but also a building of the highest artistic merit, and one from
which we may learn something of the principles of design which influenced
the medieval master-builder". (E. W. Lovegrove quoted in W. T. Palmer's
The Splendour of Wales).
Lewis's Topographical Dictionary (of about 1886) stated that the Parish of Llangynllo comprised of 3,500 acres of which 1,000 acres were arable land, 2,000 acres pasture, and 500 acres woodland. It puts the population at 639 inhabitants. Kelly's Directory for 1901, however, states that the "area comprises 3,683 acres of which two acres are water! The population being 602 inhabitants". A hundred years have seen little change - except that the population is somewhat lower.
The parish registers for marriages date from 1754, and the register for baptism and burial from 1756. In 1901 the Living was described as being a rectory with a net income of £180, together with 120 acres of glebe land valued at £79 (rent), putting the rector's stipend at £259 per annum. The income from glebe rents in 1842 was a mere £5 per annum!
The Castle - Newcastle Emlyn
High Altar - St David's
Llangynllo - Extract from "A Topographical Dictionary of Wales"
by Samuel Lewis 1833
"LLANGUNLLO (LLAN-GYNLLO), a parish in the upper division of the hundred of TROEDYRAUR , county of CARDIGAN, SOUTH WALES, 3 1/2 miles (N. E. by E.) from Newcastle-Emlyn, containing 644 inhabitants.
This parish, which derives its name from the dedication of its church to St. Cynllo, is pleasantly situated on the turnpike road from Cardigan through Troedyr-awr to Lampeter, and nearly the whole of it is enclosed and in a good state of cultivation. The soil, though varying with the surface, which is finely undulated, and in some parts rises into bold eminences, is in general fertile.
The surrounding country is pleasingly varied, and the scenery in many parts is highly picturesque. The upper grounds command some extensive and interesting prospects, and from the eminence on which the church is built is obtained a fine view over the beautiful vale above which stands the mansion of Bronwydd. In the immediate vicinity are some fine estates and elegant seats : of these, the principal are those of Bronwydd and Gernôs Bronwydd, the residence of the late patriotic Colonel Lloyd, who commanded the Teivy-side volunteers, and subsequently the Fishguard and Newton fencibles, and now the seat of Thomas Lloyd, Esq., is a handsome mansion, beautifully situated on the summit of an eminence richly clothed with wood, and overlooking a deep and sequestered vale, watered by a rapid and turbulent stream, which falls into the Teivy at Hênllan. Gernôs, formerly the mansion of the family of Lewis, and now the seat of Major Parry, by marriage of his, ancestor, Thomas Parry, of Cwm Cynon, Esq., with the heiress of that family, is a good mansion, pleasantly situated in grounds comprehending much varied and pleasing scenery.
The living is a discharged rectory, in the archdeaconry of Cardigan, and diocese of St.David's, rated in the king's books at £ 6.13.4., and in the patronage of the Freeholders of the parish. The church, dedicated to St. Cynllo, a saint of the fifth century, who was eminent for the sanctity of his life and the austerity of his manners, is a neat edifice, situated on a commanding, eminence, and rebuilt at the sole expense of the late proprietor of the Bronwydd estate: it consists of a nave and chancel, and is appropriately fitted up for the performance of divine service. The average annual expenditure for the maintenance of the poor is £ 176.8."
with parish boundaries shown in red
St Cynllo's Church