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Denbighshire Churches Survey

Church of St Tecla , Llandegla

Llandegla Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Llandegla in the county of Denbighshire. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ1959752437.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16828 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Llandegla Church, CPAT copyright photo CS970816.JPG

Summary

St Tecla's church lies at the northern end of Llandegla village, a little more than 5 miles south-east of Ruthin. Undoubtedly an early medieval foundation, its medieval church has been swept away to be replaced by a wholly Victorian building of simple plan and design. It retains a medieval font, a plank chest and, most remarkably, a late medieval chandelier. The present churchyard is rectangular with a few 18thC graves still marked, but an earlier enclosure can still be discerned around the western side of the church.

Whole structure of a single build from second half of 19thC. Possibly the only trace of its predecessor is projecting plinth at east end.

Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1986 publication The Buildings of Wales: Clwyd by Edward Hubbard

History

The location and perhaps the churchyard earthworks validate an early medieval origin. Thomas noted that the dedication is to a Roman saint, but that the date of the annual festival did not correspond and thus it might originally have had a different dedication.

In 1273 it was regarded as a chapelry of Llangollen, and thus belonged to Valle Crucis Abbey. In 1291 in Pope Nicholas' Taxation it was recorded as 'Ecclia de Landegla' at a value of 5 6s 8d.

Medieval church believed to have been a single-cell building, and slightly smaller than the present building, with a western doorway that had carved capitals.

A plan of proposed alterations survives from 1808, but it is unclear whether these were carried out.

Glynne visited church in the mid-19thC, though no date is given; he recorded a 'small, mean church' the nave and chancel as a single cell and a south porch. There was 'scarcely any original feature inside or out'. Windows were round-headed, the roof barn-like and open, the chancel plastered and whitewashed, there were benches not pews, the pulpit had carving on it, and there was a west gallery.

Church rebuilt in Decorated style, at the expense of Margaret, Lady Willoughby de Broke in 1866, almost certainly by John Gibson.

Architecture

Llandegla church consists of a nave and chancel in one, a porch located near the south-west corner of the nave, a vestry on the north side of the chancel, and a west bellcote.

The building is oriented slightly north of east.

Fabrics: 'A' comprises regular blocks and slabs of micaceous pink sandstone, generally of medium size and well dressed; quoins of the same material. Rarely a block of yellow freestone incorporated into the masonry.

Roof: slates, grey clay ridge tiles of simple form, metal cross finial at east end. Bellcote at west end is of 'A', but upper parts in yellow ashlar masonry; stepped sides and a single aperture.

Drainage: drainage trench likely around most of the building perimeter, but showing as either a concrete surface gully or, in places, as a concreted drain.

Exterior

Nave and Chancel. General. Described here as a single cell as no external distinction between the two elements. All in 'A'. Vestry and lean-to boiler room or storage shed on north side.

North wall: three windows (all to nave) with two-centred arches, two foiled ogee-headed lights with smaller cusped lights above, hoodmoulds with foliate stops; chamfered dressings in buff-yellow freestone, and decorative relieving arches in standard masonry. Vestry with a chimney in 'A' projecting from nave roof above it. East of vestry the wall is plain with no fenestration.

East wall: large east window with two-centred arch, three trefoiled round-headed lights and cusped lights with reticulated tracery above; hoodmould with foliate stops; relieving arch in 'A'. High up in gable a small trefoil light. At base of wall beneath the window is a discontinuous projecting plinth capped in concrete, its origin uncertain.

South wall: three windows (two to nave and one to chancel) in same style as those in north wall.

West wall: west window much the same as that in east wall, but lights have ogee rather than round heads, and there is a roundel set with three trefoil lights above the main lights. Small trefoil light just below.

Vestry. General. All in 'A'. East wall has doorway with shouldered arch, north wall a small rectangular window with two lights. Both in chamfered yellow freestone.

Porch. General. In 'A' with angle buttresses on south side and pilaster buttresses against the nave wall. Hollow-chamfered plinth at 0.4m, a string course at c.1.1m. All these in yellow freestone. Doorway has two-centred arch, chamfered dressings and a hoodmould with foliate stops. A small trefoil light above the doorway.

Interior

Porch. General. Black and red tiled floor; plastered and painted walls; simple raftered roof. Doorway to nave has two-centred arch and chamfered dressings in olive-coloured freestone.

Nave. General. Interior of simple design. Floor completely covered with carpet, benches raised on wooden boarding; heating provided by radiators and above-ground piping. Walls plastered and painted, and a wooden 'rail' runs around walls at height of c.1.3m. Roof of five bays including chancel: arch-braced collar trusses rest on decorative corbels, and further arch bracing above each collar supports principals, and trefoils cut out at the apices.

North wall: splayed windows and simple two-centred arched doorway to vestry; two 20thC brasses.

South wall: two splayed windows and doorway. One 20thC brass.

West wall: plain but for splayed west window.

Chancel. General. Three steps up to altar with altar rails on second step. For walls and roof see nave.

North wall: lower part of wall occupied by a blind, four-centred arch with quarter-round mouldings; set in a rectangular frame with sunken spandrels; painted and presumably Victorian like the rest.

East wall: both the window and the wall beneath it are inset so the altar is set back.

Vestry. General. Nothing of interest.

Churchyard

Llandegla churchyard is square, of medium size, well-maintained, and flat, except on the west side where it drops away outside the old boundary (see below). There is a modern extension (1956) on the north, and modern burials are largely restricted to this area. It is located a few metres back from the edge of a river terrace, the River Alyn passing to the west of the site.

Boundary: surrounded by a stone wall, effectively a retaining wall on all sides but the west.

Monuments: relatively sparse around the church itself, but much closer set and regularly laid out in the extreme western part of the churchyard outside the old 'llan' (see below). A few 18thC ledgers south of the church, the only legible one of 1786.

Furniture: sundial south of church; octagonal sandstone pillar on round base, but plate was stolen several years ago (info: the verger).

Earthworks: a scarped platform, roughly square but perhaps with rounded corners, visible to the west and south of the church and for a shorter distance on the north; 0.5m+ high on west represents an earlier circuit; churchyard is level on east side.

Present churchyard is raised by c.1.3m on north and similar sorts of height on south and east; only on west is there is no significant difference between internal and external levels.

Ancillary features: double, ornamental iron gates on south and a single one on east. Tarmac and concrete paths around the church.

Vegetation: a mature yew south of chancel and yew bushes beside the path with one near the north-east corner. Several pines around perimeter.

Sources consulted

CPAT Field Visit: 15 January 1997
Evans 1995, 12
Glynne 1884, 260
Hubbard 1986, 192
Neaverson 1953-54, 12
Plan 1808: DRO/PD/44/1/25
Pritchard n.d.
Ridgway 1997, 122
Thomas 1911, 88
Click here to view full project bibliography

Please note that many rural churches are closed to the public at certain times. It is advisable to check when the church will be open before visiting. Information about access, or how to contact parish clergy, can often be obtained from the relevant Diocesan Office which can be found through the Church in Wales website. Further information about Llandegla Church may also be found on the St Asaph Diocese website.


The CPAT Denbighshire Churches Survey Project was funded by Cadw as part of an all Wales survey of medieval parish churches.

This HTML page has been generated from the Cadw Churches Survey database & CPAT's Regional Historic Environment Record - 17/07/2007 ( 22:01:32 ).
Further information about this and other churches surveyed is available from the Regional Historic Environment Record, Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 7a Church Street, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 7DL tel - (01938) 553670, fax - (01938) 552179, email - chrismartin@cpat.org.uk, website - www.cpat.org.uk.

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