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Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 43595

Map Reference SH36NE

Grid Reference SH38376927

Unitary (Local) Authority Isle of Anglesey

Old County Anglesey

Community Bodorgan

Type of Site CHURCH


Period Post Medieval, Medieval

Site Description There are various construction dates for St Cadwaladr's Church. The nave was built in the twelfth or early thirteenth century, the chancel was added in the fourteenth century, the northern chapel in 1640 and the southern, the Bodowen Chapel, in 1661. The south porch was added during restorations in 1856. It is T-shaped in plan and Perpendicular in style, and is built of snecked masonry with freestone dressings and modern slate roof.

There is an exceptional late fifteenth century stained glass window in the chancel, which is unusual in that its depiction of the Crucifixion shows a translucent Christ painted to show the bones. Christ is accompanied by four angels and, on the left, by the Saints Mary and John. These are above a panel with the donors of the window, Meuric ap Llywelyn of Bodowen and his wife Marged. On the right, their son Owain ap Meuric and his wife Elen Meredith of Glynllifon are in a scene of battle. It seems that the parents gave the window in thankfulness for their son’s return from fighting for Henry Tudor at the battle of Bosworth, and the date is therefore c.1485.

The Bodowen Chapel, added in 1659–61, in a fascinating combination of classical and Gothic, by the Royalist Colonel Hugh Owen, and, after his death, by his wife Ann Williams of Llys Dulas. The chapel’s founder, ‘most firm to Monarchy’, must have employed an Oxford stonemason, the outcome being like some of the mid-seventeenth century college architecture, or Juxon’s rebuilding of the Great Hall at Lambeth. It lies on an east-west axis, with the dedicatory inscription over the western doorway. The southern façade is a courtly design with a central gable projecting, but not enough to justify the diagonal buttressing there and at the gables. The four-light south and east windows are pure Perpendicular, set low, with two tiers of trefoiled lights.There is a bold and low single arch to the crossing. A monument to the founders, Hugh and Ann Owen, is over the western doorway of the southern. They kneel confronted at a prayer desk within a double aedicule framed by Ionic columns; painted arms above.

The coved ceiling of the Bodowen Chapel once had an elaborate set of paintings, the date and design of which were very similar to Gwydir Uchaf Chapel but with the addition of more elaborate figure-work. The paintings were 'much defaced' by 1846 and destroyed by 1936. On the southern side, on the eastern end, was a depiction of Christ appearing to disciples, and on the western side the saints Luke and John. At the eastern end was the resurrection with soldiers asleep around the tomb, and the ascension. At the western end were the saints Matthew and Mark. The centre had clouds, the sun, the moon and stars. Over the southern. window was the inscription 'Holy Holy Holy Hallelujah Amen'.

Source: Haslam, Orbach and Voelcker (2009), The Buildings of Wales: Gwynedd. Pevsner Architectural Guide, page 178.

RCAHMW, October 2009

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