SH8413 8113. The tiny medieval chapel-cum-baptistry of St Trillo stands just off Marine Drive, close to the promenade, at Rhos-On-Sea, some 2 miles north-west of Colwyn Bay. Also called Capel St Trillo, the tiny building stands in a quiet area beside the seashore in what has been a hallowed spot for many hundreds of years. Within the chapel is a holy well (Ffynnon Drillo) which has been a place where pilgrims have come in the hope of a miraculous cure. An earlier Celtic chapel or a hermit’s cell stood here previous to the present structure, a cell where the 6th century saint, Trillo, had once lived.
St Trillo’s chapel is a tiny, plain stone-built roofed building measuring 11 feet by 8 feet inside with walls that are 2 foot thick and low vaulting inside. The building is so tiny that only a small number of people are allowed in at any one time, the door is also quite narrow and there is only one tiny stained-glass window which shows St Elian another local Celtic saint. But it is open every day for prayer. The holy well is located beneath the altar but it is often covered by a metal grid – though this can be removed for access to the water inside a square-shaped basin. Even today the water from the well is used for baptisms. The monks of Aberconwy abbey looked after the chapel and holy well from roughly 1283 until the dissolution in 1538 at which time the monks had relocated to Maenan in the Conwy Valley, near Llanwrst.
What we know about St Trillo is that in the 6th century AD he came to Wales from Brittany and worked as a missionary along the north Wales coast as far as Anglesey where there is another church dedicated to him at Llandrygarn. He was the son of King Ithael Hael and his brothers were called Tegai and Twrog – both saints in their own right. St Trillo lived at his humble little cell at Rhos-On-Sea between the years 570-590 AD. He was buried on the holy island of Bardsey.