The Church of the Holy Cross at Mwnt

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Mwnt Church

A church has stood on this spot since the 6th Century (or according to another variant on the site of an old Celtic saint's cell).

Both the exterior and the interior have been described as "austere", but location and function dictated this. The hill behind it does protect it, but it is rather exposed to the winter winds.

Dating from the 14th Century, it is basically a Pilgrimage Church, rather than a Parish one as it was on the main route to Bardsey Island and St Davids - both prime destinations for penitents in the middle ages
(Three pilgrimages to Bardsey were accounted the equal of one to Rome).

"The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Cardigan, and diocese of St.David's, endowed with "1000 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Impropriator of the tithes.

The church, dedicated to the Holy Cross, and situated near the sea, is an ancient edifice, consisting of a nave and chancel, but is not distinguished by any architectural details. The average annual expenditure for the support of the poor amounts to "32.3.".

From Samuel Lewis's A Topographical Dictionary of Wales 1833.

Map showing location of Mwnt Church in Ceredigion

Foel y Mwnt

In 1155 the Flemmings attempted an invasion and were routed. Samuel Lewis again:" were encountered by the natives, and repulsed with great slaughter". Not a large landing in the scale of things, but used as an excuse for the parishioners up to the 18th century for a re-enactment on the first Sunday in January - Sul Coch y Mwnt (The Bloody Sunday of the Mound).

Apparently because the people in the area lived to a great age, they were known as hen gewri'r Mwnt (the old giants of Mwnt) The headland of Foel y Mwnt, is a geological Site of Special Scientific Interest and part of the Ceredigion Heritage Coast.

A path circles the hill and leads to the top (about 250ft above sea level) where the views of Cardigan Island, the coast and on a clear day Snowdonia, make it well worth the climb. Once a great stone cross stood here - no doubt as a marker for the pilgrims.

History

Between the Church and the steep slope of the hill, there is evidence of an Iron age fort. There is an earth and stone bank 1m high and 3m wide that can still be seen.

How to find Mwnt

  • Satnav: SA43 1QH
  • From Cardigan take the B4548 towards Gwbert, just over half a mile, turn right to Ferwig - Mwnt is then signposted.
  • Mwnt is on the All Wales Coast Path

Local Amenities

  • Large Car Park - Small Charge (Free to National Trust Members)
  • Beach
  • Regular Buses
  • Small Shop & Cafe open in the Summer season
  • Emergency Phone
  • Public Conveniences
More things to do in Ceredigion
Tel: 01239 821 910 or email: enquiries@welsh-cottages.co.uk