Special places of faith to visit in Mid Wales

Mid Wales has a fascinating heritage contained within our places of worship from pre-Christian to modern times. Here are some suggestions for special places that showcase the very best on offer in the region.

  • View of the south side of Brecon Cathedral
    Brecon Cathedral, Mid Wales

    When in Brecon, don’t miss the opportunity to see a fantastic example of a medieval cathedral up close that got away lightly from Henry VIII’s destructive forces. The cathedral itself has lots to see and hear. The regular choral services are just beautiful and the Havard chapel has the original colours from the Rourkes Drift ‘Zulu’ conflict. Round your visit off with a trip to the Heritage centre or award winning Pilgrims café.

  • An archway at Strata Florida Abbey, Ceredigion
    Strata Florida, Ceredigion

    With a name that translates as ’Vale of Flowers’, Strata Florida is the best known medieval building in the Cambrian Mountains. Originally founded as a Cisterican Abbey in the twelfth century, its treasures lay forgotten after dissolution in the 1540’s until a Victorian engineer fell in love with it in the 1880’s when constructing the nearby railway. He excavated the site and much of what can be seen today is due to his hard work and passion.

  • Exterior of Capel Soar-y-Mynydd
    Capel Soar-y-Mynydd, Mid Wales

    Often called the most remote chapel in Wales, this beautifully located building sits a few hundred metres from the shores of Llyn Brianne on the old drovers road from Tregaron to Abergwesyn. The chapel which was also used as the local school, served the families who farmed this remote area until 1947, when the last farmers sold up after being cut off by snow for three months. It is usually kept open and visitors are welcomed. 

  • The interior of Pendref Chapel near Llanfyllin
    Pendref Chapel in Llanfyllin, Mid Wales by Patrick Higgins

    First built in 1708, Pendref Chapel is one of the two oldest Welsh Independent Congregational chapels in Powys and has a radical crusading past. A handsome chapel, it has associations with the famous Welsh hymn writer, Ann Griffiths, who at Easter 1796 first embraced non-conformity here. The current early Victorian building is part of the Living Stones Heritage Trail and is open Friday afternoons.

  • Llanthony Priory

    Llanthony Priory, Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons

    Llanthony Abbey is the iconic remains of a priory founded by Augustinian canons in the early 12th century in the beautiful and secluded Ewyas valley in the Black Mountains. It is located on Gospel pass, the famous high mountain road between Hay-on-Wye, home to the Hay Festival and Abergavenny and listed by the The Guardian as one of the best bike rides in Britain.

  • Pentre Llifior is one of only two surviving 18th century Wesleyan Methodist preaching houses in Wales. Recently restored, its simple Georgian interior has been preserved with box pews and hat pegs on the wall and an altar rail. Open on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons in summer, there is an exhibition of its history and a small visitor centre.

  • Exterior of the Pales Meeting House in Llandegley, Powys
    The Pales Meeting House in Llandegley, Mid Wales

    Built in 1717 and listed in "Wales - 100 Places to See Before You Die" by John Davies and Marian Delyth, this simple thatched Quaker meeting house is a place of true tranquility and solitude. Kept open for all to enjoy, quietly perched on a hillside with a southerly aspect over the beauty of the Radnor Hills, the Pales Meeting House gives a real insight to the claim of the famous poet R.S. Thomas that ‘God is in the silence’. 

  • Exterior of St Gwendoline's Church in Talgarth
    St Gwendoline's Church, Talgarth in the Brecon Beacons by Pete Roberts

    St Gwendoline’s Church is famous as the place where Howell Harris, the Non-Conformist preacher, was converted and was eventually buried by the altar rails. The keys to the church are kept at the Visitor Information Centre in the village for your private viewing. Coleg Trefeca a couple of miles along the road was Howell Harris’ home and is now a Presbyterian college that has a small museum dedicated to the great man. 

  • St Melangell Church and churchyard
    St Melangell Church in Pennant Melangell, Mid Wales

    A grade I listed pilgrims church, deep in the Berwyn mountains, dedicated to St Melangell, the Irish princess who, in the 7th century, saved a hare from a hunting party and was granted the valley as a place of sanctuary in return. It has been a place of pilgrimage ever since. The church’s greatest treasure, St Melangell’s shrine, has recently been reassembled after being dismantled and hidden in the church walls and lychgate during the Reformation.

  • Mwnt Church on the west coast of Wales near Cardigan
    Mwnt Church, Ceredigion

    Adjacent to a stunning National Trust beach and on the Wales Coast Path, the Church of the Holy Cross is a 14th century example of a medieval sailors’ Chapel of Ease and is said to be the oldest church in Ceredigion. Mwnt was the location of the unsuccessful Flemish invasion of 1155 and legend has it that, in the early 1900s, in windy conditions, the bones of the defeated invaders would occasionally been seen under the sand!

  • Fully restored in 1995 as a centre for pilgrimage and prayer, the chapel was built for John Hughes, the famous Methodist minister who preached and lived at the Chapel until his death in 1854. He and his wife Ruth were instrumental in recording the hymns of Ann Griffiths after her death in 1805, the famous hymn writer who attended chapel here. The John Hughes Memorial Chapel is open for visitors Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons Easter to September.

  • Inside of St Issui's Church in Partrishow, near Abergavenny
    St Issui's Church, Partrishow near Abergavenny

    Situated deep in the Black Mountains, with wonderful panoramic views, St Issui’s Church houses an exquisite rood screen and some very rare medieval wall paintings. Even today, people still visit the Saint’s well, a short walk downhill, to place offerings of stones, coins and flowers and a nearby tree is decorated with rags, jewellery and crosses.

  • Interior of St Mary's Church Cardigan showing the stained glass window
    St Mary’s Church, Cardigan by
    St Mary’s Church was originally part of a Benedictine Priory built just outside the town wall around 1158. The church is Grade 2* listed. St Mary’s had special significance to the area as it is on the pilgrim trail between Bardsey Island and St Davids. 

    The church contains many items of great interest. There is a Rose Piscina dating from the 14th century. The Altar is among the finest in the Diocese of St Davids. The Reredos (the screen behind the altar) contains the oak-engraved figure of Christ the King and beneath are the words “Duw Cariad Yw” (God is Love). The Paschal Candle is well worth studying, as is the old clock. The church is unusual in that the Chancel is as wide as the Nave.

For more ideas and inspiration for places of faith to visit in Mid Wales, Peaceful Places offers more information on destinations for great days out in North Ceredigion.