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Your Story: The Chapel of St Trillo on the Shore

Early Christianity

In the early days of Christianity in Britain, it was customary for the clerics to seek secluded places in which to dwell. Places for quiet contemplation, far enough away from established, sometimes hostile authority, but near to some form of human habitation. Maybe St Trillo found the foreshore a place where he could find shelter, water and food whilst ministering to the needs of the fisher folk and peasant farmers who may have then inhabited the marshes and woodlands of Rhos.

Sometime before 1230 AD, when Llywelyn the Great authorised his steward to purchase land at Rhos Fynach, Cistercian monks had established themselves in the area, a little way inland from St Trillo’s cell. It would appear that St Trillo’s ambience helped sanctify the area and other Christians followed in his footsteps. Perhaps the monks were responsible for maintaining the tradition of St Trillo. Did they rebuild his cell in more permanent materials?

This Cistercian brotherhood may have built the ‘Fish Weir’ in the sea off Rhos Point. The remains can still be seen today. Fish were trapped in the weir at high water and caught as the tide receded. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries the Weir came into secular hands, amongst these being Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. It fell into disuse in the early 20th Century.

By the 1890’s the Chapel of St Trillo had become very dilapidated and William Horton undertook extensive renovations. The Horton family were great benefactors to the Church of Llandrillo-yn-Rhos. The marble altar in the Parish Church is their perpetual memorial.

Although the present Chapel has been renovated some historians believe that it is substantially a building of the 16th or 17th Century. The Chapel was eventually recons-crated by the Bishop of St Asaph on the 16th of June 1935, St Trillo’s Day.

Thought to be the smallest in Britain, the Chapel is now managed by the Church in Wales and the Christian Message is still proclaimed from this spot as it has been for over 1500 years.

Words by Alan Nipper

Sources:

The Parish Church of Llandrillo-yn-Rhos, Norman Tucker Colwyn Bay, It’s History Across the Years, Norman Tucker and Ivor Wynne Jones. And Various, A.S.N. and B.W.N. September 2003

Words: Brian Pringle

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The Ancient Church of Llandrillo yn Rhos
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