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St Bodfan

St Bodfans
 The Church was taken down in 1878, and a new church right below built on its southern side. The old church stood in the lower part of the churchyard, surrounded by ten beautiful Old yew trees, which have since been removed

drive to the rectory s1

aber church

Aber church 2

View of old church, Aber, from drawing kindly lent by Miss Griffith, Henfaes.

The New Church since sold for holiday homes

aber church1 s

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The first Aber Church delightfully situated on the road to Penmaenmawr

a post card of St Bodfans

St. Bodfan      Feastday: June 2
Died in the
7th century  Patron saint of Ahern, in Gwynredd, Wales.
He saw the formation of Beaumaris Bay in a natural inundation and became a religious
According to Mr H L North B.A., F.R.I.B.A. on
September 19th, 1908 on a visit to Aber he wrote “The original church of St Bodvan being higher up the valley near Hafod Celyn, the dwelling place of Llewelyn the Great”.

Sir Stephen Glynne describes it thus: ' This church has a modern west tower, a nave, a south transept, and a chancel. The windows are chiefly square-headed of two lights, and late perpendicular, only two having three lights. The transept has a rude open timber roof, so common in Wales. There is some pretty good wood carving incorporated in a pew, and some neat open seats.  The Font has an octagonal bowl on a cylindrical stem.' l
Lewis's Topographical Dictionary described it in 1833 as being ' an ancient and spacious structure with a good square tower, having been greatly improved by the late Viscount Warren Bulkeley. The interior, which is neatly fitted up, consists of a nave and chancel of equal length, the latter lighted with a row of low windows, differing in their style, and probably inserted at different times.'
The nave and chancel had a plastered ceiling following the curve of the principals. In the east window were a number of diamond quarries, each containing a little flower, belonging doubtless to the fifteenth century. The east wall of the transept was not flush with the east wall of the chancel, but about 3 ft. westward of it. In the gables of the chancel and transept outside were two heads, one in each, popularly regarded as portraits of Bodvan.2
Tradition states that the church was occupied by the soldiers of the Commonwealth on their way through to Ireland.
The tower was built by Viscount Bulkeley in 1811, as recorded on a stone tablet originally fixed to the tower but now in the rectory garden. The four pinnacles of the tower are preserved, one at the rectory, one at Pen y Bryn, and two at Gorddinog. Viscount Bulkeley also gave a fine bell, now in the present tower, to be rung on foggy days to guide people crossing the Lavan sands from Beaumaris. It is inscribed : ' T. Hears of London. Fecit 1817.' A further small bell, bearing the same date but no inscription, was probably the old one recast at that time. The tower remained standing for some time after the old church was removed.
The old
Holy Table, a fine late Georgian twelve-light candelabrum, and the Old Font are still preserved. The latter is octagonal externally, 26 in. across by 18 in. deep, but cylindrical inside, 20 in. across by 12 in. deep. The lead, which is neatly soldered together, is inscribed on the edge ' r.o.j.p. 1675.' At present the Font stands much too high on a new base, but the old cylindrical shaft, 12 in. high, is to be seen just outside the entrance door. There is a late Georgian-painted deal cover, but the marks of the old bar and lock are still to be seen, with which, in the middle ages, Fonts were commanded to be secured.

Extracts of tax records
The Taxatio records ' Rectoria de Aber 5- 6s. 8d.
1 Arch. Camb., xvii. 5th series, p. 169.
2 From information given by the late Mr. Hughes of Bont Newydd
The living is a rectory, rated in the king's books at 14. 7. 3!/2.; net income, 382, with a glebe-house; patron, Sir R. Bulkeley Williams Bulkeley, Bart. The church, dedicated to St. Bodvan, is a spacious structure with a good square tower, having been greatly improved by the late Viscount Warren Bulkeley in 1811: the interior, which is neatly fitted up, consists of a nave and chancel of equal length, the latter lighted with a series of low windows, differing in their style, and probably inserted at various times. There are places of worship for dissenters. The Very Rev. John Jones, Dean of Bangor, in 1719 gave 100, by deed, to the rector and churchwardens, to be laid out in the purchase of land, and the produce to be appropriated to teaching ten poor children of this parish to read Welsh. A building has been erected for a national school, which is partly supported by the above benefaction; and there are two Sunday schools, one of them belonging to the Calvinistic Methodists, and the other to the Wesleyans. The parish has also several small donations and bequests, chiefly vested in the 3!/2 per cents., and amounting to 6. 2. per annum, which are periodically distributed among the poor in money and bread: these were principally the gifts of Sergeant Owen of Twickenham, and Robert and Catherine George

This church is dedicated to St. Bodfan, one of the sons, of Helyg ab Glanawg in the seventh century. It has lately been rebuilt in the Gothic 'style with the dark grey stone of the district, having yellow stone dressings and a square tower. The Rev. Hugh Davies, the eminent naturalist, who accompanied Pennant on his travels, and author of the "Botany of Anglesey," was rector of this parish from 1787 to 1816. A bell was set up in the church jn 1817, by Viscount Bulkeley, of Baron Hill, to be rung In foggy weather, to indicate to those crossing th sands, the direction of the land. During that year a party numbering eight people from Roe Wen, engaged in cockle-gathering, were overtaken by a dense fog, and the tidei coming in they all perished. Formerly a great number of travellers between London and Ireland crossed the sands at Aber, and were ferried over the narrow channel across to Beaumaris; and, as might be expected, many lives were lost in the attempt, owing to the fog and continual shifting of the sands. The following are some of the casualities which occurred in crossing the Menai Straits at various times and places:—
December 5, 1664.—The Talyfoel boat, in returning from Carnarvon to Anglesey, was swamped, and of 81 persona on board one only was saved, his name being Hugh Williams. December 5, 1785.—The Abermenai boat was lost, having on board 54. persons, of whom only one escaped, his nume being also Hugh Williams.
August 5, 1820.—A boat from Anglesey, in going to Carnarvon Market, was upset between Moelydon and Carnarvon, when 24 lives were lost and only one saved, and, by a singular coincidence, his name was also Hugh Williams.
October, 1726.—The Menai boat was sunk, and all the passengers, to the number of 17, as is supposed, were lost.
April 13, 1723.—The Talyfoel boat foundered, with the loo of 30 lives, two only being saved.
June 25, 1787.—The Penmon boat, in returning from Baugor, was capsized, when 30 were drowned, and three saved.
To the above may be added the following:—
December 24, 1687.—The ferry boat at Conway was capsized, and 45 persons drowned. December 25, 1806.—The mail boat coming to Conway was sunk, when 11 persons perished and two were saved.

MINUTES OF THE VESTRY. of 22nd April 1817

It is often stated in Aber that the vestry meetings used to be held in the old days at the house of one James Sumster, Ty'n Llan, subsequently called "The Bulkeley " and then " The Bull". This statement may well be believed because, as the accounts show, no vestry meeting took place and no task, however slight, was performed without a copious quantity of beer being consumed. But in the year 1818, on the 21st May, a momentous decision was made. The parishioners were extremely wrath at having been wrongly assessed and after notice had been given on two preceding Sundays, the vestry met in solemn conclave. The proceedings can best be described by quoting the minutes in full:" It clearly appearing to us the undersigned persons being Proprietors of land and Inhabitants of the said Parish, that an assessment purporting to bear date the 22nd Day of April 1817 has been very lately irregularly signed and made and that the Inhabitants of the said Parish are thereby irregularly assessed contrary to the lawful and antient Custom of the said Parish and it was therefore unanimously Resolved by us that we will not pay the said assessment or any other assessment hereafter to be made unless the same is lawfully made and signed and the Inhabitants of the Parish and particularly those Inhabitants residing out of the Lordship within the said Parish be lawfully assessed and charged according to the antient custom of the said Parish which has prevailed in the said Parish from time immemorial. It is further unanimously Resolved that having a feeling for the Welfare of the Church Establishment, we will always fully contribute towards the Repairs of the Parish Church in a dignified manner but not deviating from the Antient Custom of the said Parish as to the manner of assessing the Inhabitants thereof. It was also Resolved and ordered that the County rate be collected according to the Antient Customs of the Parish and not paid out of the Poor Rates as we find has lately been the case. We also abominate that shameful Practise of holding Vestrys at a Public House and of drinking Ale at such Meetings at the Expense of the Parish and it is further unanimously

Disbursements.

s

d

Imprimis for our Oath & journey to Bangor

00

02

04

Item for bread & wine agst. Whitsunday 

00

02

04

It. at Bangor in yc visitation and our journey ye second time

00

04

08

It. for bread & wine agst. Allsaints  

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02

04

It. for Lime and ye carriage thereof & of gravell

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09

05

It. to ye Slater for mending ye Church

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12

00

It. for bread & wine agst. Christmas

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02

04

It. for candles agst. Christmas

00

00

09

It. for washing ye surplice three times

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02

00

It. for bread & wine agst. Lent.

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02

04

It. for a Lather 

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04

00

It. for mending ye surplise 

00

00

05

It. for Laths & nails

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00

10

It. for ye Lodging of 4 poor trafellers

00

00

08

It. for cleansing ye church 

00

00

06

It. for writing our Bills 

00

01

00

It. for three prayer-books 

00

01

03

It. for mending ye church-porch

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00

06

It. for our journey to Bangor & wr. way paid ye last time

00

02

08

For Parchmt. & copying ye Register 

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01

06

    Tot.

02

13

10

  Remains in our hands

00

05

61/4