The village name “Llangybi” means the “Church of Cybi”. The church is dedicated to St Cybi, a 6th Century saint, reputed to be the son of a Cornish king. It is thought he went on pilgrimages to Jerusalem and returned to find his father had died. He did not wish to become king and was threatened by Saxon invaders so travelled to Wales preaching and founding churches.
At Llangybi it is thought he was given a church by the local lord, close to a sacred healing well . This well is still along the lane from the church. There is also a church founded by Cybi in Ceredigion and a monastery, Caer Gybi, at Holyhead where Cybi was buried.
The first church would have been a wooden structure. The earliest part of the present stone building, the nave walls, are thought to date from the 13th century, built in the Gothic Perpendicular style.
A prominent feature is the tower, added independently in the 14th century. It did not originally join the nave but the nave walls were extended later.
In the later half of the 15th century windows were cut into the nave and a chancel and chancel arch added with staircases in the arch to a rood screen which was later removed. This rood screen would have supported a crucifix. The font is dated 1662. The fine pulpit is probably from the17th century.
The church was refurbished in the early 18th century and then restored and a vestry added in 1908 together with the pews, choir stalls and gallery.
Inside the church there are rare wall paintings on the Nave walls which are medieval c1460 and include The Creed on the south wall and St Michael and the Virgin Mary on the north wall. A later Mural of the Ten Commandments partly covers the earlier mural. In the Chancel is a depiction of Christ of the Trades dated approximately 1480. Whitewashed over for centuries then uncovered, these murals are currently being conserved.
See the: – Wall Paintings Web Page
After the Norman invasion control of the church passed from the Celtic Church to the Marcher Lords and by 1387 to the King. In 1533 it was part of the marriage settlement to Ann Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife and sold on after Katharine Parr’s death to a local landowner Roger Williams. The Williams and then Addams-Williams family remained in control from 1668 and were able to appoint the Rectors, mostly members of their family.
The Anglican Church in Wales took over control of appointing Rectors in the 20th century.