by Ged Johnson
Back in 2001, Anne (my wife) and I often talked about a dream that had gradually been coming to life in us. The dream we shared was to be able to provide a quiet space for people to 'come away and rest awhile' (Mark 6:31); a place to pause and review one's life journey. We thought of people facing a crisis or dealing with difficult circumstances, or those who were simply feeling a bit stuck in a rut or at a kind of crossroads (maybe because we had been at a bit of a crossroads ourselves at the time). We also had in mind those struggling with the noise, pace and demands of daily living, those looking for some room for individual reflection, or to rest, to read, to be renewed through encounter and engagement with God in scripture, silence and creation. Whatever the reason, we had a deep sense that the provision of a space to enable engagement with silence would be a great gift of itself and that people would be hungry for it.
So we spent the next 18 years looking (and saving) for the right place and moved into our present home eight years ago which had an outbuilding in the garden. This was originally a crossroads toll-house which we renovated to provide accommodation for one/two people at a time (one double-bed). Now called Tŷ Croes/Cross House (it stands opposite a 12 foot tall, thousand year old Wheel Cross), it is fully self-catering, with the option of having home-cooked food provided, and is now ready to receive its first guests!
Tŷ Croes is located in the county of Flintshire just over four miles from Holywell/Treffynnon. We are situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the north of the Clwydian Range and to the west of the Dee Valley. It is an area steeped in Iron Age, Roman and early Christian history. With 131 Scheduled Ancient Monuments including one confirmed Neolithic site and 67 Bronze Age and Iron Age sites, Flintshire is: a place of saints (Beuno, Winefride/Gwenffrewi, Asaph, Kentigern [believed to have founded Llanelwy/St Asaph during his time in exile] and Deiniol; a place of major religious centres (Basingwerk Abbey, St Asaph and Gwytherin); a place of pilgrimage and worship (St Winefride’s Well, St Bueno’s Well, Pantasaph Friary and Maen Achwyfan Wheel Cross); a place of castles (at Rhuddlan, Flint, Ewloe and Caergwrle); a place of barrows (burial mounds) including eight hill forts and other enclosures; a place of trails (we are situated on the 5 Villages Heritage Trail, on one of the Thomas Pennant Walks. We are also on the North Wales Pilgrim’s Way/Taith Pererin Gogledd Cymru, a 150 mile footpath across north Wales that links Basingwerk Abbey in the east with Bardsey Island in the west; a few miles east of the Offa’s Dyke Trail, an 8th century earthwork border than runs 176 miles from Prestatyn in the north to Chepstow in the south; and a few miles west of Wat’s Dyke, a 5th/6th century dyke that stretches 61 miles between Llanymynech in Powys and Basingwerk Abbey). We are seven miles from St Beuno’s.
If you are interested to know more please direct all communication to [email protected] being sure to give your contact number and postal address. We can then send you further details about the house and about making a retreat with us.