This week we have been blessed with some absolutely gorgeous weather here in North Wales, a far cry from those months of rain at the end of 2015, and I considered it a crime not to see at least one sunset before it all ends. So last Tuesday evening I decided to head to Aberffraw on Anglesey to capture, what I hoped would be, a beautiful sunset. And since I’m such a nice, caring, thoughtful, well-rounded, generous, amazing and brilliant house-mate, who is also an amazing and safety conscious driver, I decided to take some of my house-mates along with me (those were their words, not mine; I’m actually the only driver among us).
We ended up a mile south of the village of Aberffraw, which once served as an important site in Welsh history. You see here in the UK our Royal Family is descended from a royal dynasties, for instance Queen Elizabeth is of the House of Windsor (its actual name is Saxe-Coburg Gotha, but the name was changed by King George V in 1917, as the former sounded a bit too German), before them though you also had the House of Hanover, the Stuarts and prehaps most famously the House of Tudor. Well, back when Gwynedd was an independent kingdom, the country was ruled by the House of Aberffraw, which provided the kingdom with hundreds of years of kings and princes. Abberfraw itself served as the capital of Gwynedd between 860 to 1170 and subsequently served as the most important political center in all of Wales. It was also home to a huge royal Llys (Welsh palace) which served as the symbolic throne for the Kings of Gwynedd, though sadly the Llys was demolished following the Edwardian Conquest, as part of a nationwide effort by Edward I to erase all traces of the Aberffraw Dynasty and today Aberffraw itself is nothing but a small village on the edge of Anglesey.
However an echo of that glorious period is still reflected in the presence of St Cwyfan’s Church.
St Cwyfan’s is a tiny, simple church built some time in the 12th century, though since then is been extensively renovated. Originally the church was situated on a peninsular, but over time coastal erosion was worn away so much of the surrounding land that its now a cramped tidal island. In the 19th century erosion meant graves had started to fall into the sea, so a seawall was built to encompass the island and protect it and the remain graves from the encroaching sea. Today access its only available at low tides along a stone causeway, but people still go there to worship there and it makes for a spectacular sunset.
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