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Kilgwrrwg Church
John R. Guy
Kilgwrrwg Church. Reproduction of the 1852 engraving.
In a now somewhat rare pamphlet, T.A. Davies, vicar of Llanishen,
recorded a tradition as to why Kilgwrrwg church was built in so remote
and secluded a spot.
When it was decided to build a church it was found difficult to
determine the spot, so the local wise men resorted to a practice
of the age by yoking two heifers together, instead of two ploughing
oxen, and watching them roam about, with the belief that where
ever they laid themselves down was the best site for the contem-
plated building. The beasts naturally chose the tump, as it was
dry, with the result that the church is difficult for almost everyone
to reach, especially so in winter.'
The truth is almost certainly more prosaic, for the site of Kilgwrrwg
Church has several characteristics common to foundations dating from
the period of Celtic christianity. From the beginning, there was a strong
tendency towards eremiticism in the Celtic church, and in his study
of the position, sites and forms of the religious foundations in Wales
during the 'Age of the Saints', Professor E. G. Bowen showed that 'the
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