History – Coychurch

Treoes was for many years closely connected to its neighbouring village, Coychurch, or LLangrallo in Welsh. The histories of these two settlements were closely entwined until new road development divided them.

  Saint Crallo's Church, Coychurch

Saint Crallo’s Church, Coychurch

Coychurch contains a large and historically important church dedicated to Saint Crallo, who was reputed to be the son of Saint Canna. Saint Crallo was also related to Saint Illtyd and may have studied at his large college in LLantwhit Major, before establishing his own centre of study at Coychurch.

The present day Church is a Grade 1 Listed Building, with its origins dating back as far as the 13th Century. The Church had undergone little change until it was restored by the architect John Pritchard in 1870. No work was done to the tower due to lack of funds ,and at the time is appeared sound. However, on the 7th February 1877 there was a calamity when the tower collapsed without warning, damaging the Cross in the churchyard and leaving the South transept in ruins.  Just prior to this a contractor had been moving the remains of graves close to the tower, relocating them to the East side of the Church. It could well be that this disturbed the ground and led to the collapse. No doubt superstition at the time would have attributed the moving of the graves as a violation which led to the Church’s damage.  As the nave  remained unscathed services were held there until funds were available for the main church to be restored.

  Saint Crallo's Cross, Coychurch

Saint Crallo’s Cross, Coychurch

The medieval Cross in the churchyard is also Grade II*  Listed. The Nave in the Church contains two ancient monuments – a Celtic Cross and the Ebbisar Stone. The Cross was originally placed on top of the medieval preaching cross in the Churchyard.

The Ebbisar Cross is associated with an Angle invader who was captured during the 6th Century. When faced with execution or taking Holy Orders, he wisely chose the latter.

There are some very fine stained glass windows in the Church, depicting Saint Crallo and Saint Canna – again emphasising the close connection between Coychurch and LLangan. These windows were dedicated by the Mordecai family.

  Stained glass window dedicated to Saint Canna

Stained glass window dedicated to Saint Canna

  Stained glass widow dedicated to Sant Crallo

Stained glass widow dedicated to Sant Crallo

  Plaque to William Thomas of Tregose in 1840  Plaque to William Thomas of Tregose in 1840

The Church also presents an interesting clue as to how Treoes got its name. The plaque dedicated to William Thomas inside the Church shows that he resided at Tregose before his death in 1840.

This provides further insight into how the original name, Goston, became firstly Tregose, then Treos, before finally becoming known as Treoes. 

  Plaque to Thomas Richards, author of the first Welsh - English dictionary

Plaque to Thomas Richards, author of the first Welsh – English dictionary

Saint Crallo’s Church is also associated with Thomas Richards, its Curate for 43 years and also the first person to publish the full length Welsh – English dictionary in 1753. It was produced through subscription, with the head of the list being the then Prince of Wales. 

Born around 1709 in Carmarthenshire Thomas Richards moved to Glamorgan in 1737 and conducted services in Welsh for the parish since the rector Reverend Daniel Durel was a non-Welsh speaker.

Thomas Richards supported the Circulating Schools organised by Griffith Jones from 1737 which visited Coychurch and translated into Welsh a number of current religious documents. He was also an early teacher of the poet and historian Iolo Morgannwg, whose mother lived and was buried at Coychurch.

Thomas Richards was appointed Vicar of Eglwysilan in 1777, but he continued to reside in Coychurch and died at 80 years old. He was buried in the Churchyard, a plaque to his honour is mounted inside the Church.

  Roper Window, Saint Crallo's Church, Coychurch

Roper Window, Saint Crallo’s Church, Coychurch

The modern stained glass windows which dominates the aisle were installed Frank Roper in 1969. Known as the Roper window the engraved glass shows Christ in majesty. Roper was born in Haworth, Yorkshire in 1914 and studied at the Royal College of Art under Henry Moore. After WW II he taught sculpture at Cardiff College of Art, later becoming Vice-Principal. Frank Roper died in 2000.

There is a cave in Coed y Mwnster wood which is associated with Saint Illtyd. Historians Wilson and Blackett have claimed that this cave was used to secretly bury King Arthur for fear that his death would lead to in-fighting between the Celtic tribes at the time.  Their theory then points to King Arthur being moved to a permanent burial place at Saint Peter’s Church, which now lies ruined above Brynna. There are of course many historical claims related to King Arthur, but Wilson and Blackett’s books offer a fascinating prospect that this area of South Wales was really at the heart of the Arthurian legends that are known throughout the world.

  Williams Memorial Hall, Coychurch

Williams Memorial Hall, Coychurch

The Coed-y-Mwstwr Hotel, named after the nearby wood was at one time the home of Arthur John Williams MP and his wife Rose. Many famous and influential guests came to stay at their home including the songwriter Ivor Novello and the Prime Minister at the time David LLoyd George.  The large memorial in the village dated 1920, was financed by Rose Williams following the death of her husband,

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