Llandudno, Conwy – St Tudno on the Great Orme

Friday 27 April 2018 was a day chasing trains in North Wales – a ride on the loco hauled set from Chester to Holyhead. Nice signals on the platform, and signal box too. There are still several proper ‘boxes across Angelsey – we need to go back.

Back to Llandudno Junction, then to Llandudon where they have more signals, a ‘box, and some lovely buffers.

We walked through the town to Victoria station to have a ride on the Great Orme Tramway – website. The line opened on 30 July 1902, having been constructed by Thomas and John Owen, a Llandudno firm. The gauge is 3 foot 6 inches, and the track is in two halves. The bottom end is a street tramway, then there is a winding house half way, and the top section is a tracked tram. Propulsion is by cable – in a conduit at the bottom, between pulley wheels on the top. The winding machinery is at the centre – original boiler by Robey of Lincoln, replaced by electricity in 1957. The trolley poles are not poles which once gathered the power from a catenary – the communication system used to use overhead cables. Now communication between driver and man in the winding-house is all done by radio, but the poles remain. At Halfway you walk past the machinery and a small display – apparently they used to use the line to carry coffins to St Tudno’s chapel. I read the book by Keith Turner – he does not have any photos of that, which is a shame. There is a small exhibition at the top, then we slowly walked downhill taking photos.

We walked down to St Tudno’s church – SH 767839. Their leaflet points me to their website – I love websites which include paragraphs like this: “The parish is an exclave of the Diocese of Bangor comprising the Great Orme peninsula and the part of the town of Llandudno to the north and west of a line running from the West Shore, along the railway tracks, through the railway station, and along Vaughan Street to the Promenade. To the south and east of this line is the former Parish of Rhos-Cystennin, now part of the Aberconwy Mission Area, which is in the Diocese of St. Asaph.” You can find out why in the history of the parish (if you really want to!). I see that their new Minister is Mr Sully, and the new Associate Minister is his wife – who is also the Archdeacon of Bangor. (I wonder if they will live in her Archdeaconry or the one next door). It is a website that has a lot about the churches, our faith, and you can read it in Welsh if you so wish. The photos of the church on this blog were taken by Jeremy – my camera had died.


The church is surrounded by a very large graveyard – if you want to see how large look at this photo – here. They have excellent leaflets – one for adults, one for children, and a WW1 leaflet. I’d like to come back and work round the graveyard slowly. The earliest grave is 1705, there are Boer War, World War graves The children’s leaflet has some very good activities, and asks the question “Find the huge pink grave. Who is buried here?” Jeremy photoed me, but not the inscription – so I have no idea who is buried here! I want one like this.

St Tudno was a C6 Celtic monk who brought the message of Christianity to the people of the Great Orme. His original church would have been a small, wooden building with a few dwellings nearby, all surrounded by an enclosure. The present church was built in stone in the C12, and enlarged in the C15. A severe storm destroyed part of the roof in 1839, and was saved from ruin by William Henry Reece of Birmingham. He paid for the restoration as a thank offering for his daughter, Marianna, recovering her health while staying in Llandudno. There was further restoration in 1906, and a new roof in 2012.

The stone coffin lids are C13 with Celtic carvings. The font has a C12 sandstone bowl with Celtic carvings.

It is a lovely space, with a lovely sense of peace. I’m not sure what date the roof timbers are, but apparently I missed a dragon carving. The screen is 1888, the altar, communion rails, and boards 1855.

A rather lovely plaque, and one of the Victorian stained glass windows. Trains, trams, and a lovely church. It was a good day.


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