Ysbyty Ifan

Ysbyty Ifan

St John's Church at Ysbyty Ifan
Ysbyty Ifan
 Ysbyty Ifan shown within Conwy
Population 196 (in 2011)[1]
OS grid referenceSH841488
CommunityYsbyty Ifan
Principal areaConwy
Ceremonial countyClwyd
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town BETWS-Y-COED
Postcode district LL24
Dialling code 01690
Police North Wales
Fire North Wales
Ambulance Welsh
EU Parliament Wales
UK ParliamentAberconwy
Welsh AssemblyAberconwy
List of places

Coordinates: 53°01′26″N 3°43′41″W / 53.024°N 3.728°W / 53.024; -3.728

Ysbyty Ifan is a small, historic village and community in the Conwy County Borough of Wales. The population in 2011 was 196 in 76 households (29 household spaces had no usual residents), over 79% of the population were able to speak Welsh.[1]


Bangor is Coed
Bardsey Island
Valle Crucis
Strata Marcella
Basingwerk and Holywell
St Asaph
Clynnog Fawr
Some pilgrimage sites (with links) around Ysbyty Ifan

Ysbyty Ifan, until about 1190, was known as Dôl Gynwal (Welsh for Cynwal's Meadow). Then, it came to the attention of the Knights of St John, the Order of Hospitallers, who set up a hospital to care for pilgrims and also to be a hostel for them on their journeys (Ysbyty Ifan means hospital of St John).[2] Ysbyty Ifan was on the ancient pilgrimage routes, for example, from Bangor Is Coed (Bangor-on-Dee) to Holyhead and Bardsey Island and the Cistercian Way between Aberconwy and Cymer.[3][4] It is centrally located among a significant number of important pilgrimage destinations of the Middle Ages, see the map which only shows some of them.

In the 15th century, the Red Bandits of Mawddwy used Ysbyty Ifan as a hideout, taking advantage of the Knights' privilege of sanctuary.[3][4]

The hospital was abolished in 1540 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries; the Church of St John is built on the site of the old hospital, and it contains a number of remnants that tell of the area’s history.[4] Effigies in the church are said to depict Rhys Fawr ap Maredudd (fl. 1485-1510), a local nobleman who served Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth, his wife Lowri, and his son Robert, chaplain to Cardinal Wolsey.[3][4]

There is a bridge over the Afon Conwy in the centre of the village

Notable associations

Moorland of Migneint (on B4409 looking NE)


Ysbyty Ifan has a primary school with two classrooms and a cafeteria. The village also has a bakery shop, a post office, a milk shop and a rugby union pitch with a children's playground.

The Ysbyty Ifan Estate is the largest single estate looked after by the National Trust. The area of the estate is over 8,000 hectares and includes moorland, river valleys and hill farms. The Migneint is an area of moorland and bog designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).[10] The Trust is responsible for a number of holiday cottages within the estate including Foel-Gopyn, which is off the grid.

There are also a number of other places of interest near Ysbyty Ifan,[10] so the area attracts a large number of visitors including walkers,[11] especially during the summer months.


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