A church on Anglesey with an historic tomb will be open between 12pm and 3pm this Saturday (28 September) to give people the first opportunity to view it following a recent survey to discover more about it.
A recent grant of £1000 from Anglesey County Council has given the Diocese of Bangor an opportunity to commission a full archaeological survey of the 14th Century alabaster tomb chest of Gronw Fychan and Myfanwy, ancestors of the Tudor royal family.
Gwynedd Archaeological Trust were commissioned to carry out the survey using the latest 3D technology, which has produced some amazing results and revealed details on the tomb that have never before been appreciated including carved Tudor roses, Griffin’s faces and two carvings depicting the Instruments of the Passion of Christ.
When the tomb chest was originally carved in the late 1300’s it would undoubtedly have been one of the finest monuments of the time. It was built for Gronw Fychan, Forester of Snowdonia, and his wife Myfanwy and was originally situated in the monastery in Llanfaes. During the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530’s, Henry VIII’s troops would likely have caused much of the damage we see on the memorial today. Following this event, the tomb chest was dismantled and moved to St Gredifael’s church in Penmynydd, near to the original family home of the Tudors. There it was placed in the chancel of the church until the 1850’s when Queen Victoria donated £50 to the church and it was moved into the tiny side chapel, where we see it today.
The chapel is also home to a Tudor window, an 18th C tomb of Richard Hughes and an unidentified altar tomb.
Recently a skylight in the roof above the tomb chest has leaked and the water has caused much damage to the stonework of the memorial. It is estimated that around £20,000 will be needed to fully conserve this ancient and important monument and the Diocese of Bangor and the Friends of St Gredifael are working with several agencies to raise funds and re-develop the church in a way that will allow more public access to these internationally important artefacts.
The Church in Wales has repaired the roof and upgraded the electrics at the church so that the conservation process can begin. The timing of these works was critical as the stone cannot be allowed to dry out too quickly because this might result in rapid deterioration of the remaining fabric of the memorial.
It is expected that conservation works will take several years to complete and to demonstrate conservation in action, the Friends of St Gredifael and Diocese of Bangor will be hosting a series of open days for the public during this time. The first open day, before any works take place, will be held at the church on Sunday 28th September between 12 and 3 p.m. This will also feature an exhibition of images obtained from the recent survey of the tomb chest. Admission to this event is free.
Further information can be obtained from Mrs. Susan Booth at the Diocesan Office in Bangor (01248 354999 or firstname.lastname@example.org)