St Cynog's Church

Brecon, United Kingdom

St Cynog's Church in Defynnog contains an ancient stone with Ogham inscriptions. Though most of the attractive building we see today is 15th century, the origins of St Cynog's go back to at least the Norman period if not earlier. There is 11th century stonework in the north vestry wall, and the font and holy water stoup may be 11th century or possibly even pre-Norman. The richly carved font is inscribed with Runic letters, the only example in Wales of a Runic inscription.

The churchyard contains several yew trees, of which the largest has a girth large enough for it to be 1300–3000 years old. An adjacent yew was reported in 2014 to be genetically identical to the largest, leading to conjecture in the popular press that the two trees were remnants of a single 5000-year-old tree; but this conjecture has been disputed on the grounds that layering is a more plausible origin for the adjacent tree. The crown of the largest tree is 60 ft in diameter.



Your name


Founded: 11th century
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

More Information


4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

G. Dunn (16 months ago)
Nice little church and ground, with from what i read the oldest Yue Tree in Britain.. If you are on a hike or on a walk while visiting, worth a look.
Carley Fitchett (2 years ago)
History galore! Oldest tree in Europe, an original Celtic window in the church and an Ogham stone. Really easy to find with parking. Definitely worth a stroll through the grounds
Ant Col (Nidum's Son) (3 years ago)
Eye catching Church and even though the Church was closed due to Covid19 I met one of the Church members in the yard and she was kind enough to tell me some of the history of the place, really interesting and bet there's tons more. Will definitely go back to check out the inside when Covid eventually subsides.
Hywel Gethin (3 years ago)
I just love this church. It's set in a beautiful village in the Brecon Beacons. The yew trees in the church yard are the most magnificent I have ever seen. The church and the yew trees are not to be missed, you won't be disappointed. Highly recommended
Eliot Collins (3 years ago)
St Cynog's Church in Defynnog is a largely 15th century building on the site of a much older Christian site from as far back the 6th century and the Welsh Age of Saints. The font is the only example of Runic carving in Wales. Another remarkable treasure at St Cynog's is a 5th century Roman tombstone, shaped like a pillar. On one vertical face is a Latin inscription reading 'RUGNIATIO LIVENDONIO', or 'Rugniatis, son of Vendonius'. Also carved onto the stone's side is worn Ogam script. At the top is a carving of a Celtic ring-cross, added some time between the 7th-9th centuries. The stone is now in the porch, but was discovered set into the tower wall, upside down. The churchyard is home to an incredibly old yew tree, the Defynnog Yew. The yew stands looking like two trees but DNA testing has shown they are one tree.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

La Hougue Bie

La Hougue Bie is a Neolithic ritual site which was in use around 3500 BC. Hougue is a Jèrriais/Norman language word meaning a \'mound\' and comes from the Old Norse word haugr. The site consists of 18.6m long passage chamber covered by a 12.2m high mound. The site was first excavated in 1925 by the Société Jersiaise. Fragments of twenty vase supports were found along with the scattered remains of at least eight individuals. Gravegoods, mostly pottery, were also present. At some time in the past, the site had evidently been entered and ransacked.

In Western Europe, it is one of the largest and best preserved passage graves and the most impressive and best preserved monument of Armorican Passage Grave group. Although they are termed \'passage graves\', they were ceremonial sites, whose function was more similar to churches or cathedrals, where burials were incidental.