• Gower Churches

Llanrhidian Church

Standing beneath a limestone buff, Llanrhidian Church is situated in a splendidly quiet and beautiful corner of land that leads off from the sharply sloping village green. Originally dedicated to St. Rhidian and later to St. Illtyd, the present building dates from the 13th Century, although it was extensively renovated in 1858 and has numerous points of interest.

Set on the tower roof is a large block of stone masonry, measuring 1.7 metres long by 0.9 metres wide by 1.7 metres high, called the "Parson's Bed." This was originally used as the hearth for beacon fires that were lit during more troublesome times to warn the locals of enemies approaching by land or sea.

Within the porch, laying horizontally, is situated one of Gower's many historical curiosities - a fragment of a Viking sarcophagus lid measuring over 2 metres long and known locally as the "leper stone." The stone dates from the 9th Century and was found buried near the West Tower doorway in 1865. (It was moved to its present day position in 1910.) This is the only stone of its kind found in the whole of Wales but they are quite common in the north of England where they are known as "Hog's Backs." It features the rather striking image of two human faces surrounded by strange and grotesquely configured animal representations. How such an item, so unique to Wales , should reach Llanrhidian from North England is a mystery, as baffling to archeologists today as it was when the carved stone was first discovered in the village all those years ago.

Within the church, the handiwork of the famous Reverend J. D. Davies can be viewed - the altar and all 324 wooden bosses for the ceiling were all carved by his genuinely gifted hands in the late 19th Century.

Outside the church, a natural spring can be discovered beside the small cave near the west wall of the churchyard and set into the gate post at the opposite end of the grounds are two memorial plaques from the doomed village of Llanelen which are perhaps best left untouched given their reputation for being cursed.

The Church is kept locked but visitors may borrow a key from the service station at the cross-roads at the top of the village.

  • Llanrhidian Church
    Llanrhidian Church

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