Efenechtyd

Efenechtyd is a tiny hamlet some 2km south of Ruthin, set in in its own valley.  Beautiful and serene, it seems largely to have been missed by those writers historians rely upon to give a sense of the past of these small settlements.  Edward Lhuyd and Thomas Pennant, for instance, give no information on Efenechtyd, in all their correspondence or travels.  Curiously, it is situated at the meeting point of a series of lanes about the church, which would suggest the hamlet was a place of some importance.

 

The Norwich Taxation of 1254 names the hamlet, ‘Eccla de Wenechdit’, but ignores the settlement as it was, referring to the church of St Michael only.  There were several other mentions of the hamlet between the Norwich Taxation and the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836.  Named, ‘Venitghit’ in 1324, it was called both ‘Veneghted’ and ‘y fenechdid’ in 1530.  The name probably refers to ‘y menechdid’, translating to, ‘monastery’.  More likely, the name refers to Efenechtyd being something of a monastic grange or farm, connected to Valle Crucis Abbey, although this is still a matter of debate.

 

St Michael’s Church is a pressingly pretty thing.  Heavily restored, of course, during the 19th century.  Hubbard remarks on the unusual, pre-perpendicular two light east window and the late medieval roof.  Most impressive, however, is the rather wonderful wooden tub font, carved from a single piece of oak.  Its age is unknown at present.  There are remains of a medieval rood screen and the pulpit displays some 17th century panelling.  Fragments of a wall painting exist, with a Welsh inscription, and refers to the Ten Commandments.  A stone, Maen Camp, stands by the font and was used locally as a game of strength each year on St Michael’s Day (29th September), involving lifting the stone and hurling it over one’s shoulders.   This tradition has been revived of late, forming part of the harvest festival celebrations.  The curvilinear churchyard would suggest an earlier unrecorded past, but this is of course nothing more than a possibility.

 

Of the buildings in the immediate vicinity of Efenechtyd, Plas-yn-llan a little to the south west of the church is early 18th century, noted for its blackamoor finials, after which it is assumed a tavern was named in the 19th century.  It was owned by a Joseph Conway, for which exists a monument in St Michaels.

 

Efenechtyd is a place that once seen, is never to be forgotten.

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