Home to the oldest living thing in Britain
Little is known about the life of St Digain. Legend has it that he was a Cornish prince, born in 429 and the son of Cystennin Gorneu, King of Dumnonia. ‘Gorneu’ is a variation of ‘Cernyw’ or the Cornish ‘Kernow’, and the name Llangernyw translates as ‘the church of the Cornishman’. The original Christian settlement is thought to date from this time.
Two stones, crudely inscribed with crosses, stand in the churchyard and are believed to date from the 7th-9th centuries. Also in the churchyard stands a sprawling yew tree estimated to be between 4000 and 5000 years old – almost certainly the oldest living thing in Britain.
The present building is a much-altered medieval church. The oldest part, the nave, is thought to be 13th-century, and the interior also contains a font dating from the 14th to 15th centuries. The church is unusual in that it is built in the shape of a cross, something of a rarity in this part of Wales.
The church is also believed to be the haunt of the Angelystor, the spectral Recording Angel of Death. The Angel is said to appear twice a year and read aloud the names of those people of the parish who will die in the forthcoming year.
An Audio Trail and Itinerary have been created for this site. To download them, please see here
The Church in Wales
- Accessible by Public Transport
- Buggy Access
- Wheelchair Access
Where A548 meets B5382
Llanwrst - 8 miles, Abergele - 13 miles
Bus stop at Post Office
Centre of village at road junction.
Church open. The early Christian stones are in the churchyard on south side of church near transept.
Full Grid Reference Number: SH 875674
OS Landranger map sheet: 116
- St Digian's Church, Llangernyw