One of the Little Churches of Wales, Llanina Church

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Lynne 9 1008

From Cei Bach walking along the beach toward New Quay (Wales) cross the mouth of River Llethi as it flows into the sea, taking care in crossing the rocks over the river, turn left and follow the path into the woods that takes you eventually to Llanina.  On reaching the end of the path you turn and pass Llanina Mansion.

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The Mansion is quite interesting as there is a reference to Ernestas Musgrave, who at the time of the Roundheads and Cavaliers, fled here from his Yorkshire home sometime prior to 1630.  Over the years and many owners the Mansion became a complete ruin, but in the 1990’s it was fully restored, in the gardens there is a great mulberry tree, which is protected and still bears fruit.  Although on passing by I did think the garden looked a bit forlorn and could have done with a spot of weeding.

But on to the real reason for our visit, as next to the mansion is the gate to St Ina’s Church.

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We have a personal interest in the church as some of my husbands relations are buried in the churchyard and I can not think of a nicer place to be, so peaceful and with the sound of the sea in the distance.  I must admit that I have never been inside the church, so this was a first and the door did opened.

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The church is dedicated to St Ina, formerly King Ina of Wessex, he reigned over his kingdom from 688 to 726 A.D. King Ina is remembered as the compiler of the oldest known code of West Saxon law, he also founded the Abbey at Glastonbury and he founded St Andrew’s, Wells, now Wells Cathedral.

But why should a small church in West Wales be dedicated to Ina, King of Wessex.  The story is that Ina was sailing along the coast of Wales when a violent storm drove him ashore and he was shipwrecked nearby.  Apparently he was so well looked after and made so welcome, that he promised to return on his leaving.  He did return and built the first church here.  That first church is well out to sea now, but since that time there has always been a church on or near this spot.  After Ina died he was later canonised and his Saints Day is February 7th.

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St Ina’s is one of the smallest churches in the area and there are several items of great age in the present church, taken from pervious buildings.  The octagonal font, the carved oak beam, depicting the vine, which is apparently a section of a 15th century rood beam, although other sources say it came from a shipwreck off the coast.  There is an old bell that is in safe keeping.  The church was rebuilt in 1850 and restored in 1905.

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The above memorial plaque in the chancel to the Revd John Lloyd shows that he was vicar of Llanina Church and buried in the chancel in 1771, which suggests it was taken from a former building as was the font, beam and bell.

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It is not the most amazing church that I have visited but the site has a lot of history and it is situated in a beautiful well wooded valley with views of the sea.

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16 Replies to “One of the Little Churches of Wales, Llanina Church”

  1. When you have family connections with a place, it definitely adds a new dimension – but this is a lovely location. They don’t all have to have wonderful architecture etc, to be special.

  2. What a lovely little spot, hidden between some woods and within sight and earshot of the sea! I love the story attached to St Ina. It would be good to know just how much has been swallowed up by the sea over the centuries. I know there is a legend around there about Cantre’r Gwaelod, the land below the waves in Cardigan Bay, which makes it even more interesting!

    1. Oh will have to look that up. sounds interesting. Quite a lot has been eroded away at Cei Bach, in the 60s there was still parts of two Kilns on the beach left, but they have gone now. As we walked back from New Quay on the last day, I spotted a house right on the edge of the cliff with a huge crack running down it, that wasn’t as close to the edge last year. There could have been as many as 5 churches lost to the sea. But now the last church and present were built away from the sea into the woods, so hopefully they will last a bit longer 🙂

      1. I didn’t realise the erosion was happening at that rate! No wonder they built the present church well away, in the woods!

        As for Cantre’r Gwaelod, I read somewhere (a few years ago) that scientists had discovered ridges or ‘sarnau’ projecting outwards from the coast under the sea in Cardigan Bay – and there was some speculation as to whether they were natural or man-made. I am not sure if they have done any more research. It’s fascinating!

  3. A very charming little church ,and I too wouldn’t mind resting there with the sound of sea. I was made curious though as to what is hanging in strips against the wall inside of the church..

    1. Deb I’m not sure what the strips are, I think they were some kind of prayer wishes hung up, they were like little cards, so they could have been. Its a beautiful graveyard, and so well looked after 🙂

  4. My husband and I got married in this little church eight years ago this month. It was so beautiful. We fetch our little boy here to see it whenever we’re in the area.

    1. Hi Debbie, I am sorry it is not my church, we were only visiting, but if you google the name, you should get their web page and and connect them from that. Best wishes, Lynne

  5. Hello, wondering where you saw the story of St Ina and the shipwreck, as I’ve been looking for a reference to it online and can only find it on your blog! I’d be really grateful for any info 🙂

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