Llanrhystyd Church – Extract from a leaflet by Mr. Mathew M. Griffiths,
Stored at Ceredigion Archives
The village church is dedicated to St. Rhystud, sometime Bishop of Carleon-on-Usk and an immigrant from Letavia, or Llydaw. (Llydaw was, until recently, thought to be Brittany in France, bur scholars have tended recently to place it much nearer, perhaps S.E. Wales.)
The present structure dates from 1852 and took the place of an earlier church, signs of which may still be seen in the West end, under the Belfry. This old door, with the step leading down to it, was only discovered in 1958 when some renovations were being made to the plaster work on the walls, and it was noticed that there were a number of holes to the right and left of it, probably to hold the joists of a “Rood loft”. The lower part of the Belfry is thought to have been laid in the 14th century if not before.
The first reference that can be traced to an incumbent of the parish, is to a “Griffith Powell”, who “on July 24th 1582 was a witness before the Court Leet at Aberystwyth”. He had been “in 1544 appointed priest-in-charge of Llanrhystud at the yearly stipend of five pounds”.
Relics There are two very interesting relics from the past:
- Cocoanut Cup – this was used as a communion cup up to the beginning of the present century (20th century), and is dated about 1675. It is so-called from the bell, or drinking portion, being formed of two-thirds of a polished cocoanut. It is unique in the County of Cardigan, but there is one other in the diocese of St. David’s. Unfortunately no assay mark or inscription can be seen on the silver band.
- Bleeding Cup – this is a quaint pewter bowl which was discovered in a cottage some years ago, and restored to the church, where it is said to have been previously used as an “alms bason”. On the front it has the engraving “C.M.”
- The Font – is a octagonal stone bason with lead lining, and also belonged to the former church. It is now mounted on a modern stone pillar.
- The Registers – of the church go back to 1700.
- The Porch – sentinelled by Crown and Mitre.
- The Sundial and Gargoyles – are worthy of notice.
- The clock – on the South wall, about a century old, was a gift from the sailors of the village to their church.
There is a tradition. confirmed by one historian, that an effigy of a Saint had been walled in on the South side of the old church, and that the older worshippers used to pay obeisance to that part of the church when they passed. This might well be an effigy of S. Cynddelig, to whom a Chapel-of-Ease is attributed in the Mabws Valley, in the spot today known as Fron Capel (Chapel Field).