St Peter ad Vincula, Pennal - History
History tells us that there has been a church of some sort on this site since the 6th Century when those intrepid monks came from Brittany to bring Christianity to these parts - St Tannwg and St Eithras here and St Cadfan in Tywyn. The Romans were busy in this area and maintained the church - stones from the roman fort at Cefn Caer are found in these walls - and the church probably became a stone building, alongside many others in Gwynedd, in the 1130’s.
In 1683 Pennal Church became a parish of its own - up to then being a chapel-of-ease attached to Tywyn - and in 1700, 1761, 1810 and 1873 significant building took place ending in the church you see now - though the present gallery was put in seven years ago replacing one that was removed in the 1870’s. What of course is not Victorian is some of the original 16th Century roof timbers, the oak pews, and the lovely oak altar. All the windows were put in in 1873; notable is the magnificent East Window showing the Victorian idea of what happened at the Ascension, and what is called the Children’s Window where Jesus is surrounded by young members of a local family. The East window is also significant as it is we think the only instance where the pagan Green Man is shown in glass - in most churches he is a gargoyle in stone or wood carved on pillars or in the roof.
Of course the church is particularly known for its association with the great synod held in Pennal by Owain Glyndŵr in 1406 and the sending of the Pennal Letter, one of the most significant documents in Welsh history, to Charles V1 of France. There are no details of the meeting, but it is accepted that Owain Glyndŵr would have adopted his usual practice of designating places of worship he used as a Chapel Royal, and that is what we are. You will see a copy of the Pennal Letter, with Owain’s seals, and a translation in English in the church. See Glyndŵr