Now, I do like a pretty church setting for a standing stone and this is a good example of just that.
Parking on the main road (A496) you walk under the ornate wooden church grounds entrance and down the gravel path to the church.
The stone is easily found to the left of the church entrance.
The stone is approximately 4ft high x 2ft across.
As previously stated the stone is very smooth and had yellow lichen growing down one side.
I wanted to have a look around inside the church but unfortunately it was locked.
The church is in a lovely setting with mountains in the distance and a nice, slightly overgrown graveyard to investigate – if I only had the time!
I parked on the A496 near the churches archway entrance, a short walk takes you down and out of the village to this lovely little church, with big old Yew trees and at its south west corner is the standing stone.
About five feet tall the stone is just centimeters away from the the church wall, its as smooth a stone as ive seen. Sitting down next to it for a while it looms above me like a giants doodah, rubbing my hands across it's surface I can feel a
hot spot on its top whilst the lower portion is quite cool. Strange
Inside the church i looked for the stained glass window with the saint laying his hand on the stone, it was the first window clockwising round the church, and perhaps not coincidentally the nearest window to the stone. Further round the church the womens fellowship have made a tapestry of the church and the stones right there, even further round are victorian plans of the church without the stone.
Its nice to see such a pretty stone still standing and that not all Christians are bigoted zealots.
Baring Gould (in the 1913 v4 of 'the lives of the British Saints') quotes from Pugh's 1816 'Cambria Depicta':
According to another version Twrog was a giant, who dwelt in the mountain. The villagers had incurred his wrath, and he flung the huge stone down with the intention of killing some of them, which , though it hit the church, did no damage. The imprint of his five fingers are still visible on it!
A stained glass window in Maentwrog church shows St Twrog holding a book in one hand and leaning on the stone with the other. (the book is Buchedd Beuno, the book of St Beuno, which Twrog wrote. It's also known as Tiboeth, from di-boeth, 'unburnt', because it escaped Clynnog church burning down three times - it was handily encased in iron).
I was intrigued by this, having seen it apparently mentioned in the Mabinogion: "And by force of strength, and fierceness, and by the magic and charms of Gwydion, Pryderi was slain. And at Maen Tyriawc, above Melenryd, was he buried, and there is his grave."* Felenrhyd is just downstream, and the stone that marks his grave stands in the churchyard of Maentwrog.
'Maen Twrog' however implies 'Twrog's stone' - Twrog being the celtic St Twrog. The stone stands beside the church in Maentwrog. A website about the church suggests the stone marks St Twrog's grave.
It would be interesting to know how old the church is (the current one seems Victorian?). The wikipedia doesn't say where it gets its version of the legend from, but suggests Twrog was trying to destroy a pagan alter with reckless stone throwing from a mountain, and that explains why Maen Twrog and the church are where they are.
It also mentions the belief that "if one rubs this boulder one is fated to return to the village in the future."
Moss's kind researches from 'Welsh Saints' by Breverton turned up the information that:
At Maentwrog, a huge stone different to local rocks (possibly a glacial boulder) is attached to the angle of the church, and is known as Maen Twrog. It was supposed to have been thrown by Twrog from the top of the mountain of Moelwyn.