GlamorganLLANFRYNACHStBrynach(beneficeofcowbridgePERMISSIONBYEMAIL)1 BeneficeOfCowbridge

St Brynach

Medieval wall paintings and tomb carvings in a church which has completely escaped modernisation.

Llanfrynach, Glamorgan

Opening times

Key at the Cross Inn, on the Llanblethian road south of the church.



The church of St Brynach sits at the end of a rutted lane in the fields west of Cowbridge, though it is less remote now that a new housing estate is being built to the east. Most of the building is twelfth century but there may have been a church here much earlier than that. The remains of a Roman building have been spotted in the field to the east: Llanfrynach could have started as its local chapel.

The church is in the Vale of Glamorgan but it served a community in the coal-mining area to the north, and there are several Welsh inscriptions in the graveyard. Coffins were carried across the fields to the graveyard. You can still see a coffin stile to the north of the church, with a central pillar to rest the coffin while the bearers climbed over. In 1850 a new church was built in Penllyn, nearer to where most of the congregation lived, but Llanfrynach is much loved and still used for occasional services.

Inside, the church still has its stone bench round the walls for those who could not stand through a service, before the advent of pews. There is no electric light; in the winter, they still use candles.  Above you is a medieval timber roof. The narrow chancel arch is pierced with squints so that people at a side altar in the nave could see through. The rood screen has long gone, but you can see the stairs that would have led to it. High on the chancel arch is another squint, perhaps the rood loft was used by a choir, and they would need to know what was happening at the altar.

On the east wall is a medieval wall painting, a wreath with some grapes below it. Is this the True Vine, or is it maybe the Crown of Thorns with grapes instead of drops of blood? And under your feet, the chancel is paved with medieval tombstones and the post Reformation cross slabs that are so much a feature of this area.

  • Wildlife haven

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Space to secure your bike

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Dog friendly

  • Church in Wales

Contact information

Other nearby churches

St Peter & St Illtyd

Llanhamlach, Powys

Attractive village church, with parts dating back to the 15th century, overlooking the River Usk in the Brecon Beacons.

Plough Chapel

Brecon, Powys

The first chapel on this site was a meeting room in a building also used as a pub called The Plough, which stood here in the 17th century.