St Brothen's, situated near what was originally the old shoreline of the Glaslyn estuary, dates back to the late sixth century. However, little remains of the original structure except the foundations- the church here is a medieval survivor, massively walled and roofed. It was rebuilt in the C15, but much of the shell can be dated to the C13th.
The churchyard contains many old slate gravestones, perhaps the most interesting of which is the grave of Robert Roberts, a poor quarryman. In 1888, a radical young lawyer called David Lloyd George, then only 25, championed the right of the family to bury him next to his daughter in the graveyard. He was a non-conformist, so the case was caught up in the religious intolerance of the age. However, the law fell on the side of the quarryman, despite the local vicar padlocking the gate. An apocryphal version of the story has Lloyd George cutting through the padlocked gates at midnight to allow the grieving family to bury the poor man by candlelight. Well, it made a good story, and brought Lloyd George national fame.
The church was well known to Clough Williams-Ellis, who had a great fondness for it. However, intolerance reared it's ugly head again as the congregation objected to a memorial to the man in the churchyard on the grounds that he was an agnostic. It can now be seen in Portmeirion.
The church is a grade 1 listed building in the care of the Society for Friendless Churches. Recently, it has had a minor restoration by local master craftsman Sion Langton. The society says that "He is one of the most sensitive and diligent builders we employ...he judges his success by the degree to which you cannot guess he has been there..."
|A little bit of 21st century intolerance in the visitor's book.|
|The lovely old vicarage was lying empty and derelict near the church. A real shame that houses all over North Wales are left like this when there are so many who have nowhere to live.|