St Eilian

A poem by the 16th century bard Gwilym Gwyn tells the story of St Eilian, to whom this church is dedicated.

Llaneilian, Anglesey

Opening times

Open 10am to 4pm.


LL68 9LS

Eilan was sent by the Pope to Anglesey as an emissary to Cadwallon Lawhir, ruler of Anglesey. As well as his household, Eilian was bringing a number of oxen. Cadwallon seized the animals, so in retaliation Eilian struck the king blind, then offered to restore his sight in return for as much land as a deer could run while being pursued.

Cadwallon did as he was asked, granting Eilan land, on which then established a church around 450AD.

Even though it is in a fairly out of the way place, St Eilian’s church is well known on Anglesey for its unusual 12th century stone pyramidal spire and the wooden carvings and paintings inside.

Most prominent is a 15th century oak rood screen between the chancel and nave, a rarity on Anglesey. The central panel above the door bears a painting of a skeleton with a scythe and the inscription Colyn Angau yw Pechod or 'Sin is the sting of death'. Other panels show hints of having been painted, with one showing traces of a face, possibly meant to be Christ.

Elsewhere in the church the bases of the roof beams have wood carved figures of angels, some playing instruments like flutes and bagpipes. A wooden chest with iron bands, dated 1667 and known locally as 'Cyff Eilian', was used to collect donations from parishioners and pilgrims. Also within the church are a pair of large wooden tongs from the 18th century. In those days it wasn't unusual for people to bring their dogs into the church, and these were used to evict the unruly ones.

  • Wildlife haven

  • Social heritage stories

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Famous connections

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Parking within 250m

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Dog friendly

  • Church in Wales

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