St. Twrog's church, Maentwrog
St. Twrog's Church, 1898
According to tradition, in the 6th century there was a pagan altar where St. Twrog's Church now stands. St. Twrog, standing on the top of Moelwyn mountain, took a huge stone, and threw it onto the altar, destroying it. The stone still stands by the door of the church. A handprint of the Saint can be seen on the stone. (source: the Diocese of Bangor)
In later times, and until 1896, the church was dedicated to St. Mary, probably thanks to Cistercian monks that had a strong presence in the Valley. Other connections with St. Mary are St. Mary's well, and on the other side of the Valley, Llyn Mair (Mary's lake).
Edmwnd Prys, church rector from 1572-1624, translated the Biblical psalms into Welsh. He is commemorated in the west window of the church, and buried beneath the altar.
The church was rebuilt in 1814, on the old foundation. In 1896 it was extended with a chancel and baptistry, and new stained glass windows: large east and west windows, and a small 'Good Shepherd' window. The vestry window, 'Son of Consolation', is dedicated to William Edward Oakely, who helped restore the church. His wife, Mary, made the beautiful wood carvings.
A new organ was installed and the church bell replaced with eight tubular bells. The old bell was donated to the village school. The restorations were the work of architect John Douglas and heavily influenced by the Gothic Revival. His work, although eclectic in style, is characterised by English neo-gothic and vernacular elements. The ornamental Lych gate that gives access to the church is his work. Lych gate. Photo: Eric Jones
St. Twrog's church, patronised by the local lords, was Church of England, unlike most of the Welsh population, which was nonconformist. In the graveyard belonging to the church there is still an area designated for burial of nonconformists.