Wales has more than it’s fair share of mythological legends. Dragons, King Arthur, Lady of the Lake, Bedgelert, Tom Jones. Some of these legends derive from folk traditions developed in Wales and some comes from other sources such as the Britons or pre-Christian Britain. But here’s one that seems like a “Boys Own” adventure.
Now you might be asking, “what a church has to do with adventure”? If I told you this was the parish church of Llanbadrig, you’d still be none he wiser unless you spoke Welsh. But let’s look at the Welsh name, Llanbadrig, which means “Church of Saint Patrick“. Local legend states that Llanbadrig was founded around about 440 AD by Saint Patrick himself. The legend goes on to state that Patrick was shipwrecked not far from this spot on a small island which nowadays is called Ynis Badrig (Patrick Isle). See where I’m heading with this?
Now this is the legend part. Patrick is shipwrecked, he’s the only survivor, he’s stuck on an island off-shore, he gets ashore, no one knows how, and lives in a cave a little to the left and below the present church. Better still the cave has a supply of fresh water to keep him going. Eventually Patrick founds a church on this desolate part of Anglesey. Not the one we see in this photograph. This is from around the 12th century, with additional work in the 14th and 16th centuries and extensive renovations in the 19th century.
The 19th century restoration introduced some interesting aspects to the altar and windows, Moorish in character with decorative tiling in an Arabic fashion, the blueness attracts your attention as soon as you enter the church. The renovations had been commissioned by the 3rd Lord Stanley who after marrying Fabia Santiago, a Spanish Muslim, converted to his wife’s faith. Lord Stanley wanted something of the Moorish architecture to be incorporated into the renovation.
So there you have it, a Christian Church, with a Muslim connection, a shipwreck….sounds like an adventure to me. Would you agree?
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