Derwen Churchyard Cross
Churchyards always seem to divide people.
For some, wandering around the old tombstones is a peaceful moment to think back on the lives of other people.
Some however can’t help the sweeping tide of heebie-jeebies that runs through them at the thought.
Hiding in the grounds of St. Mary’s
But there's something much more than just tombstones and flowers waiting to be discovered when you arrive at St. Mary’s Church in the rural Welsh village of Derwen.
Heebie-jeebies or not, your curiosity will take over as you spot the striking pillar of stone standing since the 15th century amidst the church grounds.
Standing beside the church, watching over gravestones close by and the sweeping hills of Wales further away, is the Derwen Churchyard Cross.
The cross stands all in all 14ft high, so you might have to balance on tiptoes to get a closer look at the top.
And really that’s where the cross truly shines. Foliage and faces rise along the shaft until it’s met by the carved stone head.
The stone head seems to have been moulded as easily as playdough.
Intricate carvings of the Blessed Virgin, St. John, and the Scales of Justice are all bordered by the windings of vines and flowers.
Watching the world go by
It's truly incredible to think that after all this time, stoically standing through beating winds and cold rains, the cross retains such a palpable energy.
It’s impossible not to imagine a time long ago when people stood listening to preachers echo the words of the bible.
Only one voice, along with the winds breaking in over the Welsh hills and the talk of birds in the sky could’ve been heard.
For such a small village, Derwen packs in a lot of history. Not only can you see the medieval cross, but also located in the church grounds is a sundial dating back to the 18th or 19th century.
And the church itself dates back to the 13th century so is well worth spending time exploring.
When you’re inside, you won’t be able to miss the incredible stained-glass windows.
On a clear day, when the full sun catches the shifting colours, the church fills with a luminosity that rivals that of a rainbow.
And be sure to check out the church rood stretching across the ceiling inside. Not many can boast such a well-preserved rood screen as St. Mary’s.
Rug Chapel nearby
It won’t take long to explore so why not head to Rug Chapel after your adventures in Derwen are finished?
Wander through serene gardens, admire the beautiful architecture and paintings before sitting down and enjoying a picnic to round your day off.