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Flintshire Churches Survey

Church of St Michael , Trelawnyd

Trelawnyd Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Trelawnyd and Gwaenysgor in the county of Flintshire. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ0890479634.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 102099 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Trelawnyd Church, CPAT copyright photo CS962223.JPG


St Michael's church at Trelawnyd is first recorded in 1291 and there is no evidence to suggest that in origin it goes back into the early medieval period. The present church was built in 1724 and heavily restored in the 19thC. It contains a late medieval roof and part of a sepulchral slab but little else of early date. It occupies a sub-rectangular churchyard, which is notable for a 14thC churchyard cross and a rare 18thC hooded tomb.

Church masonry probably dates to 1724 with windows from the restoration of 1895, though their round heads indicate the residue of the earlier 18thC windows. The porch doorway survived from the Georgian building. A vestry was added in 1917.

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


The village of Trelawnyd ('Trevelesneu') is recorded in Domesday Book in 1086, while the church is first referred to in Pope Nicholas's Taxation of 1291 as 'Ecclesia de Deyserth, cum capella sua de Rywlyfnyd'.

The parish of Trelawnyd was referred to as Newmarket from AD 1700 when John Wynne of Y Gop rebuilt most of the village and obtained a faculty to substitute the name of the church. The Welsh name was reinstated in the 1950s.

The present church was built in 1724 and restored in 1863 when a gallery was added to the west end and the roof was reslated; the walls plastered and general repair work undertaken.

A more major restoration was completed by Douglas and Fordham of Chester in 1895-7. This included the removal of plaster from the walls, repointing of stonework, the chancel was tiled, the old roof cleaned and varnished, the gallery removed and a new east window of three lights inserted. The church was reseated with pitch pine pews in the nave and oak in the chancel, woodblock floors laid under the benches; a new oak pulpit and reading desk were introduced, existing windows were removed and Gothic replicas inserted. The outer arch of the porch was removed and the present arch rebuilt. The east gable was fitted with a stone cross, the bell-turret was remodelled, the roof repaired where necessary and new guttering and downspouts added.

In 1917, a new vestry was erected on the north side to the design of Douglas, Minshall and Muspratt of Chester, in keeping with the general design of the church.


Trelawnyd church consists of a nave and chancel in one, a south porch, a north vestry and a western bellcote. It is oriented north-north-east/south-south-west but 'ecclesiastical east' is used here for descriptive purposes.

Fabrics: 'A' is of small and medium-sized blocks of grey limestone; some larger blocks are occasionally used for quoins and at the wall base; irregular coursing. Buff-yellow sandstone dressings for architectural features.

Roof:- slates with stone ridge tiles; cross finials at the east end of chancel and over the porch.

Drainage:- guttering and downspouts renewed in 1983; these lead to soakaways, but no obvious sign of a drainage trench around the church.


Nave and chancel - General. No external differentiation. All in 'A' though some variation in appearance.

North wall:- a foundation plinth rising to no more than 0.1m is visible for a distance of about 6m east from the vestry, but then disappears as the ground level rises. It is unclear whether this is an 18thC feature or earlier. Features from the west are: i) vestry. ii) round-headed window with two ogee-headed lights and panel lights above, flush with the masonry of the wall; above this a relieving arch of stone voussoirs; wholly 19thC. iii) window as ii) but with the addition of a hoodmould with simple stops. iv) a buttress at the north-east angle which takes the form of a battered plinth, 1m long and 0.4m high.

East wall:- base of wall hidden by several chest tombs. East window has a round-headed arch, three ogee-headed lights with panel tracery, a hoodmould and simple stops and a relieving arch of stone voussoirs. Over the window is a datestone recording 'Barnard Parry, R. Robt. Parry, Edwd Parry, Thos Parry, May 1724 A.D'. The kneeler at the north-east angle is inscribed 'Tho P'.

South wall:- in 'A' though a couple of blocks of brick-like material are also evident. Plinth of west wall (see below) continues along south wall as far as porch. Features from the west are: i) porch with boiler house adjoining its east wall. ii) window mirroring that in north wall of nave. iii) window comparable with that in north wall of chancel; smaller than ii). iv) low sloping buttress, c.1.3m high, at south-east angle.

West wall:- in 'A' although very occasional inclusions of what may be grey slate. Low basal plinth, c.0.1cm high, along the whole length of the wall. Wall otherwise plain and without fenestration.

Bellcote has tiered head with segmental-headed opening for the single bell. The masonry appears slightly different from that of the west wall below.

Vestry:- in 'A', and dating from 1917. A door in the east wall, and windows in the east and west wall, all with three-centred heads; projecting chimney stack on the north side rises above roof level.

South Porch - General. In 'A' with sandstone quoins. West wall is plain, the east wall with a lean-to boiler house. The south wall has a round-headed doorway with a distinctive keystone; 18thC. Iron gate with grille.


Porch - General. Flagstone floor, exposed rafters and purlins with ceiling plastered above. Exposed stonework to the walls and wooden benches on stone plinths along the east and west walls.

North wall:- round-headed arch in limestone to doorway.

East wall:- resting on the bench is a small free-standing stoup.

Nave - General. The stone flagged floor at the west end includes at least two graveslabs of 18thC date (1733 and 1778), and there is a sloping ramp down to the south door. A carpetted central aisle, and flush woodblock flooring below the benches. All stonework exposed, although heavily pointed and the window apertures are set under two-centred arches with stone voussoirs and flat sills; the windows are clearly inserted and the 18thC window embrasures may have been slightly larger than their successors. The late medieval roof consists of six arch-braced collar trusses with wave-carved raking struts, resting on wooden corbels, forming seven bays; exposed rafters and through purlins. On the south side at the west end is a dormer light.

North wall:- doorway from vestry with two steps down into the nave. One large religious painting. Marble memorial of 1777 and stone memorials of 1749 and 1752.

South wall:- nothing other than window embrasures and the south doorway which has a segmental head to the reveal and is finished in concrete, as are the angles of the jambs. The heavy door has a ring on the inside, similar to the sanctuary ring at Caerwys.

West wall:- an alcove with a modern figure of St Michael.

Chancel - General. One step up from the nave and two to the sanctuary. Floor and walls as nave but coloured tiles in the chancel and encaustic tiles in the sanctuary.

North wall:- niche for an aumbry.

South wall:- one brass memorial of the 20thC.

Vestry - General. Carpetted floor above concrete; unplastered walls; and ceiling with rafters and purlins.

South wall:- the door to the nave has a round-headed arch with simple chamfers and an arch fashioned from a single block of stone.


The churchyard is a fairly level sub-rectangular plot, the ground dropping gently to the south-west. There is a modern extension on the south, and the whole is well maintained.

Boundary:- a revetment wall on the north side, west of the lychgate, and an ordinary wall on the rest of the north and on the east where it is c.1.5m. Revetment walls, too, on the west and south.

Monuments:- randomly placed on all sides, and many slabs have been cleared, particularly from the south side and reset along the paths. Five table tombs and a hooded tomb mainly of 17th and 18thC date and recording the Wynne family are set along the east wall of the church. The hooded tomb has a semi-circular canopy, partially supported by bricks, and has a broken finial; there is ornamentation on the table sides and the longitudinal panels have round-headed arches. Table tombs have side panels of similar round-headed arches between pilasters and bear dates of 1664 and 1762-64. On the south side of the church is a table tomb of 1651.

Furniture:- a 14thC churchyard cross, a scheduled ancient monument, is located south-east of the porch. The weathered reddish sandstone chamfered shaft, c. 3.5m high, is rectangular in cross-section. It has a square plinth, with chamfered angles that terminate in pyramid stops and this is now mounted on a circular concrete base. The head consists of four cusped panels; a cinquefoil on the east and west sides, containing respectively the Crucifixion, and the Crucifixion with Virgin and (missing) St John.

Sundial:- weathered, square-sectioned sandstone pillar c.1.3m high, with chamfered angles. No plate or gnomon. West of the church.

Earthworks:- churchyard raised on the west side some 2m above the road, less obviously so on the other sides. Internal banking on the north and east. The church itself occupies a level platform, most obvious from the west and south-west.

Ancillary features:- a tarmac path leads from the northern lychgate to the south porch and continues south to the new burial ground. A grass path runs eastwards to the former rectory beyond the east boundary wall. A lychgate on the north side was erected in 1921.

Vegetation:- a few beeches, clipped 19thC yews and ornamental trees.

Sources consulted

Church guide n.d.
Clwyd SMR
CPAT Field Visits: 3 October 1996 and 19 June 1998
Faculty: St Asaph 1894 (NLW): restoration faculty
Faculty: St Asaph 1917 (NLW): vestry construction
Gresham 1968, 145
Hubbard 1986, 446
NMR Aberystwyth
Owen 1886, 149
Quinquennial Report 1989
RCAHMW 1912, 72
Thomas 1908, 408
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 Trelawnyd Church may also be found on the St Asaph Diocese website.

The CPAT Flintshire 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 ( 22:02:03 ).
Further information about this and other churches surveyed is available from the Regional Historic Environment Record, Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 41 Broad Street, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 7RR tel - (01938) 553670, fax - (01938) 552179, email -, website -

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