Flintshire Churches Survey
Church of St Mary , Flint
Flint Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Flint in the county of Flintshire. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ2434672998.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16778 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.
St Mary's church is a large Victorian structure with 20thC additions in the centre of Flint. Nothing of its medieval predecessor survives. The churchyard was landscaped in 1994 as part of a pedestrianisation scheme.
Large church in Victorian Gothic style from 1846-8.
Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1986 publication The Buildings of Wales: Clwyd by Edward Hubbard
The church was established when the town of Flint was laid out at the end of the 13thC. In the Lincoln Taxation of 1291 it was recorded as a chapelry dependent on Northop, the 'capella sua de Flynd'.
The Valor Ecclesiasticus (1535) attests that it had become an independent parish church by the early 16thC, yet at the beginning of the 17thC it was still being claimed as a chapelry by Northop. By the end of the century its parochial status was secured.
The old church had a small western wooden steeple, a north aisle shorter than the nave, and a north porch. It had some Perpendicular windows, though the east window of the north aisle had Reticulated tracery. Above the east window of the chancel was an
ornamented niche for a statuette, and there were buttresses to the north and east walls. This earlier structure is shown in a drawing of 1800 and reproduced in the Royal Commission volume of 1912. At the time of its demolition old coffin lids were
discovered in its foundations, seemingly indicating that it was not the first church on the site. At this time, too, medieval floor tiles were lost, and the churchyard cross, visible in the drawing of 1800, was removed.
A new church was built in 1846-48 by Ambrose Poynter.
The church was considerably altered in 1923-4, and the east end was extended to include a new chancel and vestry in c.1931-35 to the design of Sidney Street.
In 1941 a new organ was erected in the organ chamber which overhangs the chancel.
The bells were restored and rehung in 1961. At the same time panelling was fitted in the sanctuary and behind the north and south aisle altars.
A new porch was added to the north door in 1977.
The church consists of a nave and chancel, north and south aisles with a west tower against the former. The church is oriented fractionally north of true east.
Fabrics:- 'A' is of medium and large, regularly cut slabs of local limestone, light brown in colour and coursed.
'B' is of regular blocks of limestone with ashlar dressings, uncoursed.
'A' is Victorian, 'B' is from the 1970s.
Roofs:- slates with ceramic ridge tiles. Cross finials to west end of nave, and at the east end of the chancel. Rising above the nave roof are two square projections probably supporting internal lights.
Drainage:- modern guttering, downspouts leading to main drainage system. No evidence of a drainage trench.
The following description is a summary statement only as this is a wholly 19thC and 20thC structure.
Tower - General. All in 'A'. A square four-stage tower, with a basal plinth about 1m+ off the ground. Above are four string courses, the highest with gargoyles which project rainwater off the flat roof around the spire. Stepped angle buttresses at the
north-east, north-west and south-west corners rising to about half way up the belfry stage, and a short buttress at the south-east corner. An octagonal spire tapering to a wrought iron weathervane has three ascending, cusped lucarnes, the lights decreasing
in size on four of the eight faces as the spire rises.
North wall:- the first stage has a single, cusped window, the second stage has a similar window, the third stage a small cusped light, effectively no more than a window head, below the blue clock face with its gold numerals set in a chamfered aperture. The
belfry window has a two-centred arch of two orders with a hoodmould and simple stops, and it contains a pair of trefoiled, two-centred louvred lights with an open trefoil above.
East wall:- visible above the north aisle. The third stage had a single light to the same design as the lower ones in the north wall, and the stage above contains a standard belfry window.
South wall:- adjoins nave roof and has only a belfry window of standard form.
West wall:- the first three stages have standard cusped lights, and there is a standard belfry window.
North aisle - General. Abuts the east wall of the tower and the north side of the 1930s transept. Roof slopes down off the nave north wall. The walls are plinthed at a height varying from 0.5m-1m.
North wall:- three bays each with a window consisting of a single cusped, two-centred light set within a two-centred frame, the bays separated by short buttresses. A third buttress is set against the modern north porch which abuts the fourth bay of the
East wall:- north transept against the wall.
West wall:- against tower.
North Porch - General. Constructed in the 1970s in 'B'. Plinthed at 0.5m.
North wall:- a two-centred archway turned in ashlar over a pair of modern vertically-planked square-headed doors with a plain glass tympanum.
East and west walls:- plain without features.
North 'transept' - General. In 'A'. Abuts the north wall of the chancel and adjoins the east wall of the north aisle. An addition of the 1930s. Buttresses extend the north wall outwards.
North wall:- basal plinth of two stages, the upper topped by a moulded course. Three windows with moulded two-centred, arches, under a continuous ashlar head, set directly into the masonry of the wall; four small and narrow pilaster buttresses separate the
windows, rising from the basal plinth. A large round multifoil window is set in the gable to light the organ chamber.
East wall:- three peaked arched windows with pilaster buttresses, as on the north side.
West wall:- four steps up to a doorway with a moulded two-centred arch, as the windows; stopped chamfers to the jambs.
Nave - General. The north and south walls rise above their respective aisles and have clerestorey windows.
North wall:- four clerestory windows consist of pairs of shouldered arches in square-headed frames, set directly into the stonework.
South wall:- as the north wall but five windows.
West wall:- the basal plinth is continuous from the tower along the nave west wall and south aisle west wall. A string course runs below the two-centred west window which has three cusped, two-centred lights as the east window and an irregular trefoil
above. In the gable is a single trefoil. Stepped buttresses support the west wall.
Chancel - General. A 1930s extension to the nave, also in what is essentially 'A'. The join in the masonry is visible above the south vestry. There is a continuous plinth at c.0.7m above ground level, an extension of that around the north transept. Angle
buttresses at this end.
North wall:- a long, cusped two-centred window with a blank datestone slab below.
East wall:- the window mirrors that in the west wall with three long, cusped, two-centred windows and a small irregular trefoil in the gable. Also a string course below sill level. To either side of the window, the two stepped buttresses rise to triangular
heads, projecting above the gable roof.
South wall:- a single trefoil, of comparable form to the north wall, and with a worn datestone below.
South vestry - General. A variation on 'A'. Located in the angle between the east wall of the south aisle and the south wall of the chancel, but set slightly in from the south aisle. Its roof slopes down below the clerestorey windows, but is lower than the
south aisle roofline. A boiler house is located below the vestry; a flight of steps leads down to a two-centred archway with a vertically planked door. The approach is enclosed by wrought iron railings and a gate.
East wall:- a single, cusped two-centred window. A new toilet block with flat roof abuts its east wall.
South wall:- a shouldered arch to the doorway, approached by three steps.
South aisle - General.
East wall:- adjoins 1930s vestry.
South wall:- six bays formed by seven short buttresses, and there is a continuous plinth as on the north side of the church. In the third bay from the west is a doorway with a two-centred, chamfered arch of two orders. The other bays contain cusped
West wall: in line with the nave west wall. A single, cusped two-centred window.
Porch - General. Tiled floor; walls plastered and painted; peaked ceiling.
South wall:- a two-centred archway of two orders (painted in buff brown) allows entry to the north aisle; inner and outer doors.
Tower - General. Floor with linoleum over; plastered walls and deeply splayed window apertures. Accessed from the dog leg staircase which leads up to the bell chamber and the west gallery (see below) is a platform for the ringing chamber. The ceiling with
a trap door giving access to the bells.
North wall:- one splayed window.
East wall:- doorway to nave (see north aisle, west wall).
South wall:- plain apart from ?boxed-in pipes rising to the ceiling.
West wall:- a lead coffin lid to ? Ellis (d.1814) leans against the wall.
North aisle - General. Stone floor with carpetting over, and benches set directly on the stone floor. Plastered and painted walls. Lean-to roof of four and a half bays with rafters supported by braces resting on corbels that project from above the arcade.
At the east end is an altar on a raised wooden dais.
North wall:- internal panelled porch and three windows. Commemorative slab to the west of the porch records the 1848 rebuilding of the church and lists the architect, curate and churchwardens of that time. One marble memorial of 1832 at the east end.
East wall:- a wall divides the aisle from the east vestry with panelling in front of it, from 1971. Above this in the wall is a small two-centred, splayed embrasure with a cusped light inside it.
South wall:- arcade of four bays on three octagonal piers with east and west responds supporting chamfered, two-centred arches; moulded octagonal capitals and high column bases. The arcade is painted in buff brown to set it off from the white walls.
West wall:- plain except for a square-headed, slightly splayed doorway to the tower.
North transept:- herringbone woodblock floor with carpet; walls plastered and painted; flat ceiling. Steps lead through a trap door to the organ loft. On the north wall a painting of the old church. Toilet extension off north side.
Nave - General. A large high interior. Stone floor with carpetting over; plastered walls. A camberbeam roof of five and a half bays, the beams supported on short wall posts resting on corbels and arch-bracing. Above the nave/chancel divide are two
camberbeams only about 1m apart, demonstrating the addition of the chancel roof. Boarded ceiling.
North wall:- arcade as described above (see north aisle south wall). Four clerestory windows above the arcade have apertures without splays, and between the arcade and the clerestorey a heating pipe runs along the wall. At the west end is a projecting
buttress in line with the east wall of the tower. Also at the west end under the gallery is a 19thC brass and a 20thC marble memorial, together with a brass plaque recording the donation of bells in 1907.
East wall:- two steps up to the chancel but no screen.
South wall:- arcade and clerestory as described under north wall, but five clerestory windows, the fifth above the gallery. Under the gallery is a fifth bay to the arcade which is panelled off and partially blocked by the gallery itself.
West wall:- against the wall is a gallery supported on stone corbels and a main tie-beam; three braced beams project from the west wall to link with the main east-west beam. The gallery front bears the Royal Arms of Victoria. The gallery itself has tiered
floors with benches.
Chancel - General. Stepped up from the nave with one step to the sanctuary and two to the altar. Roof as nave but the beams are heavier and of polished timber. The chancel ceiling is also more ornate with moulded ribs, and the spandrels formed by the arch
bracing are filled in. In addition to the two complete bays there is a short bay at the west end with lateral ribs. The organ loft overhangs the chancel.
North wall:- entrance to north transept through a shoulder-arched doorway, and a memorial inscription of 1922 over it. There is also an organ plaque of 1941/2 and on the wall east of this a memorial of 1886.
East wall:- plain panelled dado of 1967 behind the altar, and three stained glass windows.
South wall:- access to vestry through a shoulder-arched doorway, with a memorial metal plate of 1941 immediately above it. Also an 1857 marble memorial.
South aisle - General. As north aisle, except that the rafters of the roof are visible. At the west end a storage area partitioned off.
East wall:- wall with panelling in front and altar.
South wall:- internal porch. Also a marble memorial of 1901 and a First World War memorial.
The church stands in the remnants of a raised churchyard within the pedestrianised town centre of Flint. The churchyard ceased to be used as a cemetery in 1856.
Boundary:- a stone revetment wall on three sides of the church, more than 1m high in places, and surmounted by iron railings on the south side.
Monuments:- thirteen old grave slabs laid flat outside the south aisle range in date from 1782 to 1814, though a couple are too worn to read.
Ancillary features:- a pair of limestone pillars with a stepped entrance lead to the old vestry door and bear an 1886 datestone. There is also a splayed stepped entrance to the church from Church Street and near this is imitation Victorian street
furniture. A gravel path around the east and west sides of the church.
During evaluation work in 1992-4, prior to the pedestrianisation scheme, the base of the churchyard cross was located on the south side of the church, a position which is depicted on John Speed's map of the early 17thC. The square limestone base is thought
to have originally been the base of the town cross. The cross stood in the churchyard until the rebuilding of 1847 when the churchyard was replanned. During this rebuilding, the shaft and pedestal were destroyed but the cross head was removed to Stockyn
Hall. It was reputedly given back to the church in the late 19thC after the Reverend Elias Owen had tracked it down to Stockyn (see also Thomas), but it was not seen during the current fieldwork. A description and drawing of it are to be found in Owen
Cadw Schedule of Listed Buildings 1995
CPAT Field Visits: 3 May 1996 and 11 December 1998
Faculty: St Asaph 1932 (NLW): alterations to church
Flintshire County Record Office: D/MT/165 (1564); P/20/4/1 (1923/4); D/DM/464/23 (1934/5)
Hubbard 1986, 349
Owen 1886, 70
RCAHMW 1912, 28
Thomas 1911, 176
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 Flint 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 ( 22:01:54 ).
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 - email@example.com, website - www.cpat.org.uk.
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