History in Structure

Church of St Cynhaearn

A Grade II* Listed Building in Dolbenmaen, Gwynedd

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Latitude: 52.9262 / 52°55'34"N

Longitude: -4.1944 / 4°11'39"W

OS Eastings: 252583

OS Northings: 338787

OS Grid: SH525387

Mapcode National: GBR 5M.MML5

Mapcode Global: WH55K.JQW2

Plus Code: 9C4QWRG4+F6

Entry Name: Church of St Cynhaearn

Listing Date: 19 October 1971

Last Amended: 30 March 1999

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 4291

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Also known as: Church of St Cynhaearn, Ynyscynhaearn

ID on this website: 300004291

Location: The church stands alone on the former island in Llyn Ystumllyn, approx 900m S of Pentrefelin, and is reached by a track from the village.

County: Gwynedd

Town: Dolbenmaen

Community: Dolbenmaen

Community: Dolbenmaen

Locality: Ystumllyn

Traditional County: Caernarfonshire

Tagged with: Church building Georgian architecture

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The church, which is the original parish church for the early settlement at Portmadoc, is said by RCAHM to have a C12 nave, with added C16 north transept, and a south transept added in 1622. In character the building is now largely of the early C19.


Walls of rubble masonry of long flat stones, the nave and E chancel wall rendered. Modern slate roof. Short nave, N and S transepts, the roofs pitched below the nave eaves, and small chancel. Entrance by the W door, a simple pointed arch and a pair of framed and battened doors. Tall 2-light transomed windows in timber to the nave, including to the W gallery, and transepts, but 3 lancets at the E end. Stepped W bellcote.


Interior is plain, of a distinctive early C19 character, with the walls plastered above the timber dado, but is said to have 3 medieval arch-braced trusses behind the present C19 segmental plaster vault. Stone flagged floor, but an unusual painted decorative floor in the sanctuary.

Fittings: a good range of early C19 fittings. Font, limestone, an octagonal pillar erected 1900 by Robert Isaac Jones. Three-decker pulpit of 1832, the pulpit at the top octagonal, approached by 9 steps, set against an architraved and corniced backboard. Lectern below, with reading shelf, and reader's desk at the lowest stage. Box pews either side of the Altar, which is raised 1 step, behind the oak sanctuary rail on iron stanchions. Tall skeletal pews in the nave, named on their ends, and 6 rows of tiered pews in the N transept. Western gallery erected in 1832 under Rev John Jones, supported on slender quadruple shafted columns, with dentilled cornice and panelled front. This is approached by a winding stair at the back of the nave. Six steeply raked pews either side of the organ, which is also of c1830 with a fine Gothic case.

Glass: E window, 1900, a memorial to Isaac and Louis Walker; N transept St Cynhaearn and St David, memorial to Robert Isaac Jones, [Alltud Eifion], d.1905.

Monuments: on the chancel N wall (a) limestone Gothic aedicule to Lt Col Isaac Walker of Hendregadredd, (b) white marble tablet on grey, by Gaffin of London, to Isaac John Walker 'Iuris consulti' at the Middle Temple, d.1862; (c) white marble panel and slate, to John Williams of Plas-yn-llan (Glam) d.1905 and wife Louisa Walker, d.1925 aged 101. On N transpet N wall (d) Chaste marble tablet on a black marble panel, draped urn on the cornice, by Simpson and Malone of Hull, to Capt Thomas Jones of Cefnymeysydd, late of the Brig Esther, d.1845. In the vestry two engraved slate stones (e) to Henry Griffith and Jane his wife, d.1734; and (f) John Vaughan and wife, dd.1740/1750. Also five C18 bound religious works, 2 early chests and a good carpet.

Reasons for Listing

Included at Grade II* as a building of special interest partly for its surviving medieval fabric, but principally for retaining its character from an early C19 pre-Ecclesiological restoration, including contemporary gallery and fittings.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Carreg and Pilkington Tombs
    The two railed tombs are close to the S side of the nave of the Church of St Cynhaearn.
  • II Monuments to John Williams and Ellis Owen
    The two monuments stand immediately outside the W door of St Cynhaearn's church, on the right side of the path to the lychgate.
  • II Tomb of David Owen
    The tomb is located in the churchyard of the Church of St Cynhaearn, set at the W end against the SE boundary wall.
  • II Gravestone of John Ystymllyn
    The headstone stands in the churchyard of the church of St Cynhaearn, on the N side of the path from the lychgate.
  • II Lychgate to the Church of St Cynhaearn
    St Cynhaearn stands isolated approximately 900m S of Pentrefelin village. The lychgate stands in front of the churchyard wall and provides the entrance to the rectangular churchyard from the SW.
  • II* Former Stables
    Set back from the road 2km approx, to the E of the town, and 0.5km approx. Down a track.
  • II* Ystumllyn
    Set back from the road 2km approx, to the E of the town, and 0.5km approx. Down a track.
  • II* Wash House
    Set back from the road 2km approx, to the E of the town, and 0.5km approx. Down a track.

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