Church Island (Anglesey)

Church Island, also known as Llandysilio Island,[1] (Welsh: Ynys Tysilio) is a small island in the Menai Strait on the shores of Anglesey to which it is attached by a short causeway that is reachable only on foot. The dominant feature of the island is with St Tysilio's Church, constructed in the 15th century, its churchyard, and a grade-II listed war memorial. The 20th-century bard Cynan (Albert Evans-Jones) is among several notable people buried in the churchyard. The Anglesey Coastal Path passes the head of the causeway.

Church Island from Anglesey

A number of birds inhabit the island and its waters, and it also features numerous primroses.

Church Island and Causeway


Church Island is located in the Menai Strait, off the south-eastern shore of the island of Anglesey, close to the town of Menai Bridge.[2] It is located in a stretch of the Menai known as the Swellies, with the stretch of water to the south of the church is prone to dangerous tidal currents.[1] Access to the island is via a short tidal causeway, which meets the Wales Coast Path long-distance footpath at its Anglesey end. The closest road is the A545,[2] with a car park from which the island can be accessed via a woodland path.[1]

St Tysilio's, a single-chamber church, is the major feature on the island,[1] along with its graveyard and a war memorial near the highest point, which was designed by Harold Hughes and was given a grade-II listing in 1997.[3]


The early history of the island, including details of the construction of the causeway to the Anglesey mainland, is unknown.[4] The first recorded occupation was by Prince Tysilio, later Saint Tysilio, who was the son of Brochwel Ysgithrog, a king of Powys. Tysilio arrived on Church Island in approximately AD 630, and founded a hermitage there. He remained there for around seven years, before moving to Meifod where he became an abbot.[5] No trace of Tysilio's hermitage survives on Church Island today.[5]

The present-day church of Saint Tysilio was founded in the fifteenth century.[6] It is not known who built the church, but it is likely that it replaced an earlier structure on the same site.[4] Several prominent people are buried in the churchyard, including Henry Rees Davies,[6] other members of his family such as father Richard Davies,[4] John Edward Lloyd, and the bard Albert Evans-Jones, known by the pseudonym of Cynan.[6]

Flora and fauna

Birds found close to the island include oystercatchers, curlews, common terns, and in recent times, little egrets. There are also a number of primroses growing, which give the island a golden appearance during the spring months.[1]

See also


  1. Elizabeth Rees (2003). Celtic Sites and Their Saints: A Guidebook. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 111. ISBN 9780860123187.
  2. Explorer 263: Anglesey East / Dwyrain Ynys Mon. Ordnance Survey. 2006. ISBN 9780319464229.
  3. "War Memorial, Church of St Tysilio". British Listed Buildings.
  4. "Church Island and the church of St. Tysilio". Menai Heritage. Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  5. Warren Kovach. "Llandysilio - St. Tysilio's Church". Retrieved 3 March 2020.
  6. Academi Gymreig (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. University of Wales Press. p. 547. ISBN 9780708319536.