When I was a small child, we used to holiday at a farm near Dinas Head in Pembrokeshire, and as a family we would trek almost daily from the farm to the nearest beach at Cwm Yr Eglwys. We spent many happy hours playing there. It was a fantastic beach for bathing in the sea and for its many rock pools waiting to be explored. Set in a secluded bay, Cwm Y Eglwys is said to have its own micro-climate and is supposedly a few degrees warmer than elsewhere on the Pembrokeshire coast.
One of the main distinguishing features at Cwm Yr Eglwys beach is the ruins of the 12th Century church of St Brynach. Most of the church was destroyed in the almighty storm of 1859, and much of the ground that it was built upon and graveyard was also swept away.
Above: The old parish church of Dinas, Pembrokeshire, prior to its destruction in the 1830s. Scan of a hand-coloured print dated 1830. Copyright expired: from "Wales Illustrated", Jones & Co, London, 1831. Painting by Henry Gastineau (1791-1876). Engraved by Edward Kennion.
By the entrance to the churchyard, we find this memorial - a model brig consructed in metal by James Eifion Thomas, Blacksmith, of Dinas Cross. The plaque reads:
The Cwm TraderDate visited: 10 April 2009
This is a scale model of a coastal trading brig, typical of those that plied the waters of Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire about the time when St Brynach's Church in Cwm-yr-Eglwys was destroyed in the Royal Charter storm of 1859. These vessels were of relatively shallow draft and largely flat bottomed, so allowing them to be sailed into bays at high water and then unloaded at low tide by horse and cart transport. Many of these vessels were lost in that fateful storm and this model is erected as a memorial to those sailors and their ships and to mark the occasion of The Millennium.