Situated on the coast, south of Caernarfon the church, and its cemetary, stand like a small island in a field. I’d been planning a visit to this church for some time, but Covid-19 happened.
The period between AD 500–700 was known as the age of the saints; during this time monastic settlements were established throughout Wales by religious leaders such as Saints David, Illtud and Teilo. Unlike other countries, Wales named many place names after local or well known saints. It’s not always the case, but in general, places beginning with Llan would be followed by a saints name. e.g Llanbedr – Peter (Pedr); Llanfihangel – St Michael (Mihangel).
Baglan founded a cell in the 6th century at what is now known as Llanfaglan, but later he left to become Abbott of the monastic settlement on the Holy Island of Bardsey.
The present day church is a 13th century stone building, and as the name suggests it is dedicated to Baglan.
When I first arrived at the car park, the couple you see in the next photograph were sitting on the wall taking a drink. They had walked from Caernarfon and were just getting ready to head up to the church. My immediate thought – photo opportunity. Those two walking in the field would give a sense of scale.
In my haste to get the photograph I forgot to check the aperture. f2.8 does not allow for much depth of field, but in this case, I got away with. Mainly because the background is light puffy clouds and if they’re not sharp it doesn’t really matter.
With many of the historic churches built in Wales there is usually evidence of the current building being built over the site of a much older place of worship. In the case of Saint Baglan’s, stones within the church’s structure and the cemetery surrounding the church, suggest a building from the 5th century existed on this site.
Over the years St Baglan’s has undergone major renovations but the interior still retains some of its medieval character.
Inside, the church is very austere and typical of many of the old churches I have photographed around North Wales. A simple wooden altar, stone floors, wooden benches and plain glass in the windows.
Box pews, installed in the 18th century, (they’re initialled and dated) were for the gentry.
Exposed open beams for the roof and simple plastered walls are typical in this type of church.
You only have to look at this blog post I wrote in November 2012 about Llangelynnin, another 6th century church to see what I mean.
In a quiet corner of the cemetery is the burial plot of Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon GCVO FRSA RDI (7 March 1930 – 13 January 2017). He was a British photographer and filmmaker who married Princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II.
To write about him would take far too long, so follow this link to Wikipedia if you want to know more.
That’s it from me, as always, stay safe.