The Grade I listed church lies within the Roman fort of Canovium, whose ramparts can be seen from the car park. Mae’r Eglwys restredig Gradd I hon yn sefyll yng Nghaer Rufeinig Canovium a gellir gweld rhagfuriau’r gaer o’r maes parcio.
Nestling quietly alongside the banks of the River Conwy, St. Mary’s offers an oasis of calm on a site that was once a bustling Roman fort. The building has a beautiful simplicity and welcomes those who live nearby in villages such as Rowen, as well as those who live far away. It offers a place of serenity to experience worship, grounded in God’s word that has been spoken as blessing, teaching, comfort and peace for over 700 years. It is open daily for visitors in the summer months. During the winter months the Church will not be open regularly, but will be open on occasions, particularly at weekends and during holidays, unless the weather is too severe.
Armistice Day 11th November
The Armistice Day Communion Service started at 10.45am, and the Service was well-attended. The Two Minute Silence was observed at 11.00am to mark the end of the First World War. It was a day to remember and honour those who paid the price for our freedom. Hymns and National Anthems were sung, and the names of all those servicemen who lost their lives in WW1 and WW2 were read out. A wreath of poppies, in the shape of a cross, was placed to rest below the Memorial Plaques. The congregation then walked around the churchyard to pay their respects to the servicemen and other people who are buried there. The Service finished with the ringing of the Church bell, and featured on BBC Wales Today:-
Coffee Morning October 2018
St. Mary’s had a coffee morning at Rowen Memorial Hall on Saturday 27th October (10am – 12.30pm) with Tombola, White Elephant, and plant stalls.
‘The Romans of Canovium’ Exhibition September 2018
There were Exhibitions and Guided Tours of St. Mary’s, the churchyard and its surroundings in early September. Extensive excavation work took place at Canovium during 1926-1929. Archaeolgists found items such as coins, jewellery and pottery, which provided more information about the Romans who lived there.
The Romans arrived in the South of England in AD43. They attempted to conquer Wales around AD50, but failed to do so for over 30 years, because the Celtic warriors fought hard against the Roman invaders! There is a theory that the Romans chose this site for Canovium because there was already a Celtic fort in this strategic location. There are more photographs and information in Caerhun Church near Rowen.
A beautiful summer concert 18th July 2018
We were delighted to welcome Christian singer songwriter Cass Meurig and Elise Gwilym for an evening of music to launch Cass’s new album ‘Taith’. Based in Bala, she combines traditional tunes with new lyrics to reflect her faith. She has performed internationally and nationally and is known as one of Wales’s foremost players of fiddle and the cwrth – a medieval bowed lyre! Donations went to supporting the local fundraising appeal for the Eisteddfod 2019 in Llanwrst.
Good news for Lent 2018
Our cake and plant sale on Sunday after the service raised £200. Our Lent collection for Shelter Cymru raised £500. Thanks to all for your support!
Holy Week and Easter 2018
On Good Friday, following our morning service, a group of us walked with the cross as a pilgrimage through the valley to St Mary’s Church in Conwy.
Arriving for Morning Prayer:-Reverend David Parry on 27 February 2018!
Come and Worship
Sundays at 11.00am
Services are mostly Eucharistic with some Sundays when we come together for Morning Worship. Every 5th Sunday evening at 6.30pm we join other churches to celebrate Valley Praise. Click here for details of forthcoming services.
Early Morning Prayer on Tuesdays at 8.30am
We say Morning Prayer every Tuesday at 8.30am. You are very welcome to join us for this short act of worship.
A brief history
St Mary’s dates back to the 13th century, probably built by the Cistercian Monks of Maenan Abbey. The church is located in the north-eastern corner of a large Roman fort called Canovium (built much earlier in 75AD). Legend suggests that the fort lasted long after Roman withdrawal, and in the 6th century it was occupied by ‘King of Gwynedd’ Rhun ap Maelgwn (hence the name, Cae-rhun).
The prolonged hot weather this year has revealed the outline of the Roman bath house!
See more photos here taken with a drone by Mark Walters
Things to see
In the churchyard there are two large yew trees which are considered to be over 1200 years old. At the entrance there is a beautiful 18th century lych-gate – but be sure to duck your head! Of course, St Mary’s was a place of Christian worship long before Henry VIII’s Reformation and many of the features of Roman Catholicism were destroyed but in restoration work done in 1970s, a medieval stoop previously hidden in a corner wall was unearthed. For more details and location use this link. The church is open for visitors throughout the main visitor season.
A very special venue for music
Near neighbour Caerhun Hall has been the site of the Gorjys Secrets Music Festival for the last two years, so where better than our church, for some of the artists to play last September. Click for guitar sessions with Blair Dunlop and Nick Harper.
Summer evening concerts
On 1st July, a packed church, once again, was treated to an evening of wonderful music and conviviality – this time with the singers of Amici Del Canto.
In May, we were delighted to celebrate the use of all our new facilities: sound system, toilet and overflow car park, with a great concert by the pupils of St. David’s College (Llandudno). These facilities make it possible to use St. Mary’s as a venue for all kinds of events – and what a setting on a beautiful summer’s evening! Jazz, prosecco and talented young people – a celebration indeed!
Holy Week and Easter 2017
Monday evening kicked off the nightly series of reflections across the Bro Celynnin churches through Holy Week and culminated in a moving Good Friday morning service – then provided the starting point for the 6-mile walk with the cross to Conwy! We were very pleased to welcome many people to our Easter Sunday morning Communion service.
Vicar: Reverend David Parry
DavidParry@esgobaethbangor.net 07403 635 510 – (01492) 593 402
Local Wardens: Simon Baldon (01492) 660 094, Jenny Young (01492) 650 451