Services every Sunday at 11am
Listen to the BBC Radio Wales broadcast from St Mary’s Church on 12th September:
St. Mary’s is located in the centre of Conwy, a beautiful, Medieval walled town at the mouth of the Conwy river. We are creative, friendly, growing and easy to join with a great teaching and musical tradition.
During the summer of 2021, we produced an art installation of butterflies – each capturing people’s thoughts and prayers, reflecting the ‘chrysalis’ of restricted living and protection of covid regulations, to the fragile release as a butterfly – a symbol of hope, transformation and freedom.
images by Mark McNulty
Over the summer of 2021, we also brought live music back to the heart of Conwy with 12 Lunchtime Concerts, delighting capacity audiences with world-class classical music performances.
A place of worship and prayer for nearly 850 years, St Mary’s began as a Cistercian Abbey It was the original burial place of Llywelyn the Great. Dechreuodd yr Eglwys Blwyf y Santes Fair a’r Holl Saint fel Abaty’r Mynaich Gwynion yn y 12fed ganrif ac yma oedd man claddu Llywelyn Fawr yn wreiddiol.
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For its history alone, the Church is widely acknowledged as one of the most significant in North Wales, older than Conwy Castle itself! Click here to watch the development of the castle over the centuries. St. Mary’s Churchyard is an interesting place to visit and includes the grave associated with William Wordsworth’s poem ‘We Are Seven‘.
St. Mary’s originated as the church of the Cistercian Abbey of St. Mary and All Saints in Aberconwy, and it was founded by Llywelyn c. 1190. It was the principal religious centre of the Princes of Gwynedd during the last century of Welsh Independence. Llywelyn died at Aberconwy Abbey and was buried there.
Following the conquest of King Edward I, the Abbey was moved up river to Maenan near Llanrwst and was called Maenan Abbey. St. Mary and All Saints’ was rebuilt to become the Parish Church of the new fortified borough of Conwy. Llywelyn’s stone coffin was moved to St. Grwst’s Church in Llanrwst.
In the porch of St. Benedict’s in Gyffin there are two intriguing tomb slabs that date back to the 13th century. The Latin inscription on the smaller one translates to “Llywelyn ap Iorwerth lies here”. Llywelyn the Great Llywelyn Fawr was the first Prince of Wales. His tomb was removed from Aberconwy Abbey by King Edward I. The slab at Gyffin is too small to cover the Prince’s stone sarcophagus located in Llanrwst.
Just outside the town walls, is the St. Agnes Churchyard, where Reverend Morgan is buried. A small iron church dedicated to St. Agnes was built in 1875 and was demolished c. 1972. Reverend Morgan was the vicar of St. Mary’s for over 30 years until 1870. During his time as vicar, the town experienced major changes with the arrival of the Railway, which was completed in 1848. The replacement National School in Rosehill Street was opened c. 1840 soon after he became vicar. Reverend Morgan and Conwy’s Chapel Ministers had great respect for one another, and the East Window at St. Mary’s is a memorial to him.
Click here for more historical information and the treasures of St. Mary’s Church.