Special sacred places to visit in South Wales The faith heritage of South Wales is strong and with a long history. Early Christian sites, ruined Cistercian monasteries and Holy Wells are just some of the treasures available for visitors to enjoy. A St Illtyd’s Church & Galilee Chapel St Illtud's Church in Llantwit Major, Glamorgan Heritage Coast In 500 AD St Illtyd founded a monastic school here which had over one thousand pupils including, it is said, St David and St Patrick, making it one of Britain’s earliest centres of learning. The story of those early days of Celtic Christianity is now told in the restored 13th century Galilee Chapel next to St Illtyd’s church that also houses one of the most important collections of Celtic Christian stones in the UK. B Church and chapel at St Fagan’s St Teilo's Church in St Fagans National History Museum in Cardiff by Gill Jones As in Welsh villages across the land, St Fagan’s National Museum boasts both church and chapel. St Teilo’s church was moved from Pontarddulais and is recreated as it would have been in 1520 with brightly decorated murals, paintings and carvings. Pen Rhiw Unitarian Chapel is a quintessential Welsh Unitarian Chapel moved from Dre-Fach Felindre, Carmarthenshire and is still used to celebrate Christmas, Easter and Harvest. C Tintern Abbey, Monmouthshire Tintern Abbey, Wye Valley One of the glories of gothic architecture in Britain, the dramatic sculptural ruins of this Cistercian Abbey are perfectly set in the dramatic landscape of the lower Wye Valley. Recently Tintern Abbey has benefitted from a two year conservation programme on the famous west elevation and the statue of Our Lady of Tintern is installed in the south aisle of the abbey for all to enjoy. D St Cadog Church, Llancarfan, Barry St Cadoc's Church in Llancarfan, Glamorgan Pure wow factor! St Cadoc's church houses the most exciting discovery of British Medieval wall paintings of the 21st Century. After five years of restoration startlingly bold images of the seven deadly sins, a royal family, a ghoulish death figure and a spectacular tableaux of St George and the Dragon has been revealed housed alongside a fully re-guilded vibrant 15th century rood screen. E Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff Llandaff Cathedral, Cardiff by Dedicated to the Celtic saints of St Dyfrig, St Teilo and St Euddogwy and sited close to where the Roman road forded the river Taff, Llandaff Cathedral has had a tumultuous past. Enriched by the support of Jasper Tudor until the dissolution, it has undergonenumerous restorations including after WWII when the roof was destroyed. Open daily and in a beautiful tranquil location in Cardiff it is well worth visiting. F Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay by Paula J James The Norwegian Church is a poignant reminder of when Cardiff was one of the greatest seaports in the world. Founded in 1896, it was a Seaman’s mission for the Norwegian sailors bringing timber for pit props into South Wales. As trade declined it finally closed in the 1970’s, but found new life when it was rebuilt on its current site and opened in 2011 as an unusual but atmospheric coffee shop, arts and events venue on Cardiff Bay. G St Cynwyd, Llangynwyd, Maesteg St Cynwyd's Church, Maesteg This lovely Welsh hilltop village is home to St Cynwyds church with one of the largest private graveyards in Europe. This is also the setting of the tale of the Maid of Cefn Ydfa. Sadly Ann Thomas, the maid of the story lies under the chansel of the church and Will Hopkin the poet and author of Bugeilio'r Gwenyth Gwynunder, under an ancient yew tree in the old churchyard, separated in death as in life. H St Mary’s Well, Penrhys Our Lady Penrhys statue, South Wales Valleys by Steve A beautiful wooden statue of the Virgin and child fell miraculously into an oak tree by the holy well in the thirteenth century, creating a major site for Catholic pilgrimage and devotion. Realizing its importance, Cromwell had it secretly removed and burned in 1538. A new statue and a revival of the pilgrimage tradition in the 1950’s has restored this most holy of places 1100ft high on a Welsh hillside for all to revere. I Pontypridd Museum, Tabernacl Chapel Pontypridd Museum, South Wales Valleys by FooseMoose An award winning community museum based in the former Tabernacl chapel in Pontypridd with a newly restored unusually decorative interior and the original pipe organ. The museum is grade II listed and not only tells the story of its religious past but also the industrial, social and cultural history of the community it served. More information on Faith Tourism Enjoy this? 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