Church Cottage

Llandygwydd, Cardiganshire


This quietly delightful Victorian cottage has outlived the Ecclesiologist church it was built to serve. Church Cottage also has a special place in Landmark’s history, as it was the first building we ever rescued. 

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • MicrowaveMicrowave

Beds 1 Twin, 1 Double

3 nights
£771 equivalent to £64.25 per person, per night

The very first Landmark

Built in the late 1850s, Church Cottage housed a caretaker and sexton for the nearby St Tygwydd's Church. Church Cottage was the very first building that the Landmark Trust restored. In 1965 John Smith had the idea of setting up a charitable trust, rescuing buildings and then offering them to people for holidays to pay for their maintenance. When it was bought from the Representative Body for the Church in Wales, Church Cottage was empty and derelict. But it has gone on to last longer than the church that it was built to serve. The demolition of St Tygwydd's Church in 2000 has served as melancholy reminder of the significance of John Smith's work and the legacy that started right here at Church Cottage. 

Your own cottage in this charming part of Wales

Tucked against a hillside, the cottage looks out over the site of its former church and the pretty village of Llandygwydd. Located nearly half a mile from the main Newcastle Emlyn to Cardigan road, Llandygwydd is a quiet village surrounded by well-wooded countryside and small farms. The south sweep of Cardigan Bay is under 10 minutes away. Local attractions include the nearby National Wool Museum, Castell Henllys Iron Age Fort as well as the beautiful Cenarth Falls. However there is as much pleasure to be taken in simply staying in Church Cottage in this delightful part of Wales.

Floor Plan


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Map & local info

Church Cottage stands in the small and quiet village of Llandygwydd east of Cardigan, in a hilly, well-wooded countryside of small farms. It is less than ten miles away from of Cardigan Bay.

Whilst the joy of Church Cottage is to simply be there, the surrounding area provides a wealth of things to see and do. 

The National Wool Museum offers an insight to arguably Wales's largest industry, with a working mill and textile gallery for you to explore. 

Castell Henllys Iron Age Fort and the Welsh Wildlife Centre are both excellent for entertaining children. The beautiful Cenarth Falls is only a 10 minute drive from Church Cottage.

Discover local walks for dogs with our friends at, the dog walks community. For more information on things to see and do during your stay at Church Cottage, please see our Pinterest Map 

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

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Essential info
What you need to know about this building
  • Yes. You are welcome to bring up to two dogs. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if you have an assistance dog, for which there is no charge.
  • Directly from the main road.
  • Carmarthen – 26 miles
  • Yes there is one car parking space adjacent to the property.
  • There are electric night storage heaters and an open fire.
  • Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • To check up-to-date mobile network coverage in the area, visit* Due to the location and structure of many of our buildings, signal strength may differ to those indicated.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also an electric cooker and microwave.
  • There is one bathroom with a shower over the bath.
  • No.
  • There is a garden (not enclosed).
  • No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being. Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
Booking and Payment
  • If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • The key arrangements will be included in the Further Infomation document which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • If your stay starts more than two months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy and The Bunk House at Llwyn Celyn must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • Our housekeeper will leave the key in a suitable place, the details of which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
Staying at a Landmark
  • Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.  Further information on access when visiting Lundy can also be found here.
  • Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if a registered assistance dog is supporting one of the guests, for which there is no charge.
  • Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visiting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).
  • Landmark’s electrical systems have not been designed to provide continuous power from one socket over several hours.  If an ordinary socket is used to charge an electric vehicle, there is significant risk of an electrical fire and consequent danger to life.  Therefore, we are unable to allow electric vehicle charging from most of our Landmarks at present.

    We are working to provide Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge points at our properties where there is private parking.  Where this is available, please request this facility when booking the property to ensure the outlet is enabled on your arrival.  There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.  Please book this facility in advance.
  • No, we do not allow smoking in any Landmark.
  • Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival. Except for the Llwyn Celyn Bunkhouse.
  • Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
    Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
  • A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. Hairdryers are provided.

A special place in Landmark's history

Church Cottage has a special place in the history of the Landmark Trust as well as Llandygwydd’s, as it was the very first building Landmark restored. In 1965, John Smith had the idea of setting up a charitable trust to rescue buildings in distress and then offering them for holidays to secure their future maintenance. He discussed his idea with architect Leonard Bedall Smith of Llangoedmon, who was able to suggest some candidates from his own local patch.

One of them was the abandoned cottage beside the church at Llandygwydd, and from here sprang the Landmark Trust which, more than forty years on, has almost 200 buildings in its care across England, Scotland and Wales.

The cottage was built in the late 1850s to house a caretaker and sexton for the imposing St Tygwydd’s Church, designed by R J Withers in 1857 (Withers also designed the two school houses in the village). John Smith’s prescience in stepping in to ensure the cottage’s survival was emphasised in melancholy fashion in 2000, when the church itself was demolished. It was at least the third church on the site and the dedication to the Celtic St Tygwydd suggests that Christianity took root here in the earliest times and before St Augustine’s mission from Rome in AD 597. Historians disagree about St Tygwydd’s exact identity and even whether s/he was male or female. Tygwydd was either the daughter of Tegyd and the wife of St Cunedda Wledyg, (chroniclers tell us that she lived in the early 5th century and was killed in Gwent by the Saxons) – or he was St Tyfrïog’s brother, with nothing else known except that his feast was variously placed on 13th or 18th January. (St Tyfrïog has left traces in both Brittany and Cornwall and may have had Romano-British, pagan origins).

So we may probably imagine a small, barn-like church in Llandygwydd from very early times. Certainly there was a church here in the years before the Reformation, since a mediaeval calling bell has survived until the present day. The font, too, is unusual in being a fine example of 15th-century stonemason’s craft (in Cardiganshire, almost all early fonts are of Norman origin). According to Meyrick, a new church had also been built as recently as 1803 “in a neat, elegant manner for the small sum of three hundred pounds.” This was not considered good enough by the evangelical Ecclesiologists, a group of earnest mid-Victorian Anglicans whose mission was to ‘improve’ both the architecture and seating capacity of the Established Church after a long period of neglect that had seen the rise of Nonconformity in Wales and elsewhere. Their aim was to reintroduce the Gothic architecture of the Middle Ages as the only fit architectural style for ecclesiastical buildings. This Gothic Revival was one of the most important movements in Victorian architecture and religious life, and soon spread to buildings of all kinds, even finding echoes in the little caretaker’s cottage and schoolhouses at Llandygwydd.

From an early illustration, the church built in1803 was a modest chapel and porch, well built of the local stone with a turret to house the calling bell and font. Sixty years later, The Church Builder described it as having been ‘if not waste and desolate, at least mean, neglected and unsightly…All within and without seemed to say it was the least cared for house in the village.’ Money was raised, and Somerset-born Robert Jewell Withers was brought in to design a replacement in the Early English style of the 13th century. Withers was to design many such Gothic churches and municipal buildings. For St Tygwydd’s, he designed a tower with a 130 foot wooden spire covered in lead, which local anecdote says was deliberately built to be of a height to be seen from the seats of the four local landowners who were the main subscribers. A peel of six bells was also installed, but this tower and its spire were to prove the church’s undoing.

By 1913, the spire was so unstable that it had to be taken down, and the tower was given crenellations instead. The stone tower survived until 1981, but its weight so destabilised the corner of the church that in due course it too had to be taken down. Structural problems continued however, and in 1996 the church, faced with a repairs bill of some £300,000, also had to be closed. It was finally demolished in 2000, its footprint and lonely font the only remains of the ecclesiologists’ ambitious project. The faithful mediaeval calling bell now hangs outside ‘new’ St Tygwydd’s at the bottom of the lane, where the best of the Victorian glass has also been moved. To all this Church Cottage has born silent witness, its own future secure. For all the Victorians’ overweening confidence, it is perhaps ironic that Established worship in Llandygwydd today continues quietly in a building of a scale and form much closer to its earlier churches. 

For a short history of Church Cottage please click here.

To read the full history album for Church Cottage please click here.

To download the children's Explorer pack for Church Cottage please click here.


Empty and derelict for years

When Landmark bought Church Cottage from the Representative Body for the Church in Wales, it had stood empty and derelict for a number of years. It was then a very dilapidated two-up, two-down cottage with a rickety staircase and no bathroom. The kitchen and a lavatory were in lean-to sheds at the back.

It was virtually built into the bank at the rear, which was causing serious damp problems especially on the west wall. Surrounded by glebe land, access to the cottage was then across the stream beyond the present garden.

First the site was cleared and the lean-tos demolished. The same team excavated the bank at the back (a laborious process once they hit rock within) and lowered the ground level inside and outside the cottage. They also stripped the plaster from the walls and ceilings and mostly demolished the chimney stack and end wall. In March 1966, builders Messrs. Rown of Cilgerran started work. An extension was added in local materials, which now houses the kitchen, stairs and bathroom. The west wall and chimney stack were rebuilt, the chimney stack and front of the kitchen being refaced with sawn stone rejected from the Cilgerran quarry, thrown aside a great many years ago when the quarry was working. Such thrift informed much of the work done on the cottage: the stone for the repairs to the rear wall came from Mr Beddall Smith’s own stables, which he was in the process of demolishing.

Preseli slates from the architect’s stables were also used for the front roof slopes, while slates salvaged from Blaen Pant were used at the back, bought for 2s 6d each from Mrs James of Blaen Pant. After stripping, sorting and carriage to Church Cottage, ‘the total cost comes to much the same as buying new,’ reported the architect, ‘but the old slates look nicer.’ New window and door frames were put in and floors, beams and staircase renewed in oak. Leonard Beddall Smith designed the quatrefoil device for the window heads, writing that ‘The joiners in these parts are accustomed to carving elaborate chairs for the bards for the eisteddfodau and carving will be no problem.’ Suitable mantelpieces were installed in sitting room and bedroom; a larder was made under the stairs and a back porch built up to and incorporating the outbuilding. The suitably Gothic front door was added. A paved space was laid between the cottage and outbuilding, with terrace and ha-ha beyond and the vicar agreed to a new access off the main road. After an advert in the Sunday Times and the first visitors began their holiday in Church Cottage on May 27th, 1967. It has been a popular Landmark ever since, and from these modest beginnings, the Landmark Trust was duly launched.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.