St John's Church at Ysbyty Ifan
|Population||196 (in 2011)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
Ysbyty Ifan is a small, historic village and community in the Conwy County Borough of Wales. The population in 2011 was 196 in 76 households (29 household spaces had no usual residents), over 79% of the population were able to speak Welsh. It has one of the smallest populations of any Welsh community, the smallest being Ganllwyd.
Ysbyty Ifan, until about 1190, was known as Dôl Gynwal (Welsh for Cynwal's Meadow). Then, it came to the attention of the Knights of St John, the Order of Hospitallers, who set up a hospital to care for pilgrims and also to be a hostel for them on their journeys (Ysbyty Ifan means hospital of St John). Ysbyty Ifan was on the ancient pilgrimage routes, for example, from Bangor Is Coed (Bangor-on-Dee) to Holyhead and Bardsey Island and the Cistercian Way between Aberconwy and Cymer. It is centrally located among a significant number of important pilgrimage destinations of the Middle Ages, see the map which only shows some of them.
The hospital was abolished in 1540 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries; the Church of St John is built on the site of the old hospital, and it contains a number of remnants that tell of the area’s history. Effigies in the church are said to depict Rhys Fawr ap Maredudd (fl. 1485-1510), a local nobleman who served Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth, his wife Lowri, and his son Robert, chaplain to Cardinal Wolsey.
There is a bridge over the Afon Conwy in the centre of the village
- The poet William Cynwal was buried in Ysbyty Ifan in about 1588. He was a disciple of Gruffudd Hiraethog and took part in the second Caerwys eisteddfod in 1568.
- Tomos Prys, sailor, buccaneer and poet, was buried in Ysbyty Ifan on 23 August 1634.
- Abraham Lincoln's great, great grandfather, John Morris, lived in Bryn Gwyn, a farmhouse in Ysbyty Ifan which is now derelict. His daughter emigrated to Pennsylvania in the United States with a group of Quakers in the 17th century.
- Siôn Dafydd Berson (c.1675-1769), poet, clog maker and lay reader, was buried in Ysbyty Ifan cemetery in 1769. Dafydd is mainly remembered as the person who taught Twm o'r Nant to read and write. The inscription on his grave, by Twm o'r Nant, says "Galar, i'r ddaear ddu - aeth athraw..." (Oh grief, into the black earth - goes the teacher...)
- Gwallter Mechain, the Welsh bard, was made curate of Ysbyty Ifan in 1799.
The Ysbyty Ifan Estate is the largest single estate looked after by the National Trust. The area of the estate is over 8,000 hectares and includes moorland, river valleys and hill farms. The Migneint is an area of moorland and bog designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Trust is responsible for a number of holiday cottages within the estate including Foel-Gopyn, which is off the grid.
- "Ysbyty Ifan - 2011 Census key statistics" (PDF). Conwy County Borough Council.
- "House of Knights Hospitallers: Preceptory of Halston Pages 87-88 A History of the County of Shropshire: Volume 2. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1973". British History Online.
- "Welsh History Month: Ysbyty Ifan and the tomb of Rhys ap Maredudd". Wales Online.
- "St John's Church, Ysbyty Ifan". History Points.
- "CYNWAL , WILLIAM". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales.
- Jenkin Jones, Rees M (1885). Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 46.
- "Lincoln: Conwy village Ysbyty Ifan's link to president". BBC News.
- "Siôn Dafydd (c.1675-1769) - Poet, clog maker and lay reader". Snowdonia National Park Authority.
- "DAVIES , WALTER". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales.
- "Ysbyty Ifan". National Trust.
- "Ysbyty Ifan and Cwm Eidda walk". National Trust.
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