St Aelrhiw’s Church at
Rhiw, stands on a slope of a hill leading to the village and within sight
of the beautiful crescented bay of Porth Neigwl. It commands one of the
finest coastal panoramas in Wales – a view of the Cilan end of the Llyn
Peninsula and the whole range of Merionethshire hills.
The present building,
which takes the form of a cross, was erected on old foundations in 1860.
It consists of two rather long N and S Transepts, and a Norman doorway
which faces NE. The N and S Transepts are lit by 2 squat single light
windows and there is a fairly large 2 light East window and one to left
and right of altar. Also a window in west wall, beneath the single – bell,
stone belcot. Behind the ancient font, set in west wall, is an upright
gravestone, bearing a coat of arms and the skull and crossbones, and is
inscribed: “here lieth the body of Lowry, the fifth daughter and heiress
of Thomas ap Richard of Bodwythog, Gent, and the wife of Frederick Wynne.
She died 8 of August Anno Din 1674, and also ye body of ye said Frederick
Wynne, the sonne of John Wynne of Bodfean who died …..”
This Frederick Wynne
was a warden of the church in 1672 and gave a silver chalice on which his
name is engraved. Previous to that he had presented the church with an old
pewter flagon dated 1662. Curiously this flagon got lost and it is only
during recent times that the same was re – presented to the church by the
Nanhoron family. It is very quaint and is of the old beaker type with lid.
The pews (seating accom.
150), pulpit, reading desk, vestry and altar rails are all of the same
class of wood and period and very plain.
In the N Transept there
is a small vestry which contains an old oak chest dated 1715, with the
initials W:R.H : W.I, cut upon it. In this the church records were kept.
The wooden lecturn is inscribed “To the glory of God and in loving memory
of the Rev D. Sinnett Jones, Rector of St Aelrhiw 1895 – 1919, presented
by the parishioners”, and the credence table is similarly inscribed only
presented by Mrs Sinnett Jones, widow of the aforesaid rector.
Aelrhiw, Vicars from 1661 to 1919.
Davies, 1772 – 1778.
Rees, 1779 – 1811.
Ellis, 1811 – 1830.
Hughes, 1830 – 1836.
Richards, 1836 – 1837.
Griffith Roberts, 1837 – 1868.
Hardy Richards, 1868 – 1888.
Davies (Eos Llechyd) 1888 – 1895.
Sinnett Jones, 1895 – 1919.
From 1888 to 1895 the
rector was the Rev Owen Davies (Eos Llechryd) a noted singer. During the
Great War many bodies were washed ashore at Porth Neigwl and some,
unknown, were interred in the churchyard. One of these was Thomas Pengilly,
of Clovelly, N Devon, whose body came ashore on May 17, 1917. The grave of
the Rev. Jacob Davies, died 1778, inscribed in Latin and there is a fine
Runic Cross marking the grave of the Rev Wm Titus Jones, BA Vicar of Much
Birch, Hereford. At one time the Rectory was a farmhouse, when it was
extended. It is very old, (1728) The bell dated 1670 has the initials R.P.R. F.
W. W. T. W., upon it. The registers go back to 1779.