St Martin's Church at Cwmyoy
Cwmyoy is an extensive ancient parish in Monmouthshire. Alternate spellings include Cwm Iou and Cwm Iau, the name translating from the Welsh as "valley of the yoke"
The village of Cwmyoy is located seven miles north of Abergavenny and four miles south of Llanthony in the Vale of Ewyas in the Black Mountains. It is within the Brecon Beacons National Park, in an upland location just below the broad ridge of Hatterrall Hill, which carries the main Monmouthshire-Herefordshire border along which runs Offa's Dyke Path.
The parish is nearly eight miles long and a mile broad, and includes Llanthony as well as Cwmyoy itself. It also encompasses the hamlets of Fwthog and Bwlch Trewyn which form detached parts of Herefordshire.
St Martin's Church
Cwmyoy is best known for St Martin's Church which has been called the "most crooked church in Great Britain." St Martin's Church is a stone parish church standing on a steep hillside on the east side of the valley and subject to slippage. The church chancel has been described as a remarkable example of a "weeping chancel", where the nave represents Christ's body and the deflected chancel his head fallen sideways in death. At Cwmyoy not only the axis but the whole chancel slews sideways. Hando calls it "the Church below the Landslide".
The Cwmyoy area is very popular for hillwalking and pony trekking. Llanthony Priory, Capel-y-ffin and Gospel Pass are all accessed by passing below Cwmyoy village.
- "History of Cwmyoy in Monmouthshire". A Vision of Britain. http://visionofbritain.org.uk/place/14565.
- "Toronto SUN". M.torontosun.com. 2011-10-19. http://m.torontosun.com/2011/10/17/weird-wonderful-wales. Retrieved 2012-02-12.
- Hando, F.J., (1958) "Out and About in Monmouthshire", R. H. Johns, Newport.