Picturesquely sited in a sleepy hollow in the bountiful Tywi Valley, Llandyfeisant church is a true eyecatcher in the landscape.
Legend has it that St Tybïe and St Lluan were two of the many daughters of Brychan Brycheiniog and lived devotionally here in the 5th century before they were killed by marauding Irishmen. Llandybïe means the llan (enclosure) of Tybïe.
King Edward I placed the parish of Llandybïe under the Bishop of St Davids in 1284. The church’s nave and chancel may have been built around then, or in the 14th century. The tower was erected in the 16th century and has a castellated top, for defensive use if an enemy attacked.
The cost of restoring the church in the mid 19th century was largely covered by Caroline Du Buisson, who reputedly made a fortune in London in 1815 by capitalising on her family being the first in Britain to learn of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. You can see Du Buisson family memorials inside.
Another memorial depicts Sir Henry Vaughan of the Derwydd Estate, who died in a horse-riding accident on 26 December 1676. The helmet and other military objects symbolise his Royalist service in the Civil War which resulted in him being imprisoned in Tenby Castle. His father, also named Henry, was captured at the Battle of Naseby and spent years in jail. Sir Henry junior became an MP after the Restoration. Also displayed in the church is his funeral hatchment, possibly the oldest hatchment in any south Wales church.
One of the three bells in the tower is dated 1681. The church organ was built in Norwich by Norman & Beard in 1914 but its journey to Llandybïe by train was delayed because soldiers and war materials took priority. However, it was in use by Christmas 1914.
The church has several memorials to local people who died in the First World War. One of them is the clock in the tower, manufactured and installed in 1920 by JB Joyce of Whitchurch. The dead of the Second World War are commemorated on a wall tablet inside.