CPAT logo
Back Home
Index to Wrexham Churches survey

Wrexham Churches Survey

Church of St Giles , Wrexham

Wrexham Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Offa in the county of Wrexham. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ3355350121. At one time it was dedicated to St Aegidius.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 106012 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Wrexham Church, CPAT copyright photo GILESTWN.JPG

Summary

St Giles's church incorporates portions of a 14thC Decorated building with later additions in Perpendicular style, in part a result of a major fire in 1463. An elaborate tower was added between c.1506 and 1520. Furnishings and fittings of high quality include a 1524 brass eagle lectern, a wall painting of the Last Judgement, 14th and 15thC effigies,17thC brasses by Sylvanus Crue and a good collection of 17-19thC memorials. The irregularly shaped churchyard includes the tomb of Elihu Yale, wrought iron gates by Davies Bros and a 1809 sundial.

14thC Decorated style for the arcades, perhaps from c.1330-1. Some of the south aisle may also be of this date.

15th-16thC remodelling occurred after a fire of 1463, creating the current Perpendicular appearance in which the only intrusive element is the south porch. However, Hubbard noted the disparities in the window designs on the south side, and suggested that here 14thC features survived the later 15thC remodelling,

Subsequently the nave was extended westwards, creating an ante-nave with its different clerestorey lights., presumably in the second half of the 15thC. Finally the tower was erected between c.1506 and 1520. The chancel was also added around this time, and there were changes to the east end of the south aisle, for all the post-remodelling windows have two-centred arches, as opposed to the four-centred arches of the mid-15thC.

South porch added in 1822 in Perpendicular style.

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

History

A chapel in this area, probably at Brynyffynon, is believed to have been founded by St Silin. At a later date unknown, a church was constructed on the present site with the dedication to St Aegidius, the Latin equivalent of St Silin. It was subsequently re-dedicated to St Giles.

There are early references to Bishop Reyner, Bishop of St Asaph between 1186 and 1225, granting a moiety of the rectory of Wrexham to the Abbot and Convent of Valle Crucis for the use of the abbey in 1220. In 1247, Madog ap Gruffydd, Prince of Powys Fadog, who had given lands to the monks at Valle Crucis for them to build their house on sometime prior to 1202, further granted them the patronage of the church at Wrexham.

The church is recorded in the Norwich Taxation of 1254 as 'Ecca de Gwresam' with a value of 8. Tithes to the Abbot at Valle Crucis appear to have been paid in full until Bishop Anian II (1268-93) was given the throne at St Asaph in 1268; he appointed a vicar at Wrexham, an appointment which Valle Crucis successfully contested (by a papal judgement in 1274) on the grounds that Wrexham was still a chapelry to Valle Crucis.

By the time of Pope Nicholas's Taxation in 1291, a vicar had again been appointed. By then the value of 'Ecclia de Gwregsam' was put at 33 6s 8d.

Contemporary records refer to the steeple of the early church blowing down in 1330. The rest of the structure was taken down soon afterwards and a new church was built in Decorated style. The present church contains a large number of mason's marks relating to various building periods and also faint scratch marks on the nave arcade which suggests that the plan of the 14thC church was similar to the present one, except for the present chancel. The two easternmost bays of the present south aisle appear to date from the 14th-century church.

In 1463 a serious fire in Wrexham caused severe damage to the church. It was reconstructed later in the 15thC, presumably on the foundations of the earlier church. Like its predecessor the new church had no structural chancel, but there were chantry chapels which were screened off. The south door was sited in the second bay from the west and a north porch was constructed. The aisles were rebuilt and the clerestorey added at this time; a flat panelled ceiling replaced the high pitched one in the nave, though the stone corbels were retained: many were renewed in 1867. Lean-to roofs were inserted in the aisles.The reconstruction was completed by 1480, except for the tower which at that time had a wooden steeple.

Considerable restoration work was undertaken at the beginning of the 16thC. By 1506, the steeple had been pulled down and the first stage of the new tower was erected. A stone on a level with the capital of the western arch is inscribed 'This steeple was finished 1506' - indicating building work to that level. In 1518, a Chester citizen made a bequest for finishing the steeple and the design was ascribed to Hart of Bristol.

Also about this time a new chancel was constructed. The east window was removed, its frame was opened to the ground to form the existing chancel arch and a new five-sided chancel was built to the east with a crypt below it. The chancel fabric bears masons' marks with 'NH'or 'N' initials and a 'XV' which appear to be specific to the chancel. The great wall painting above the chancel arch probably dates to the construction of the chancel. Palmer (1886) suggested that a rood screen and loft were constructed at this time. There was apparently evidence of a staircase in the fabric of the wall between the east ends of the nave and south aisle, which must have led to a loft. The round-headed arch of a blocked doorway is visible high on the north wall of the south aisle at this location and this doorway was used as access to the gallery occupying the east end of the nave in 1707, but was presumably sited there because of the pre-existence of a rood loft.

In November 1643, the fittings in the church were damaged or destroyed by Parliamentarians. During the Commonwealth period, the church was used as a prison and a stable.

In 1662, the rood loft was taken down and the old chancel flagged. Windows were repaired, the tower floor levelled, roof releaded and the four weathercocks repaired. The ground floor of the tower was utilised as a consistory court. The interior of the church was part whitened and the arcades were coloured green. Church accounts mention the pulpit, reading desk, brass eagle, peal of four bells and a priest's bell, a replacement apparently cast in 1678. In this 17thC church, the east end of south aisle chantry was called 'The Isgoed Chancel', and the other side 'The Llwyn Onn Chancel'. The chantry at the east end of the north aisle belonged to the Puleston family. In 1684 Thomas Dineley sketched the tower and the western end of the church.

In 1707, a gallery was erected at the east end of the nave by Elihu Yale of Plas Gronw; this gallery was moved to the west end in 1715. A wrought iron chancel screen was erected at the same time by Yale, who also donated a painting of the Last Supper though this was sold in 1843 to defray the repair costs of the chancel. Yale gifts also included a wooden reredos with Corinthian columns and three panels depicting the Decalogue, Moses and Creed, though these were also removed in 1843 and the present stone reredos introduced.

In 1726, a peal of ten bells by Rudhalls of Gloucester were inserted into the tower. In 1735 the clock and chimes were donated by Sir Watkin Williams Wynn. And in 1779 an organ by Green of London was introduced; to accommodate it, a new gallery was erected which occupied the space between the tower and the west end of the nave.

Restoration work in 1789-90 included levelling the floor, making the pews more regular and introducing a new pulpit and desk.

The windows in the church were reglazed in 1810. In 1814, the south aisle roof was renewed. In 1820-21, two large galleries were erected running the entire length of the north and south aisles; the south aisle was extended westwards to accommodate the staircase leading into the south gallery. The former south door was blocked and a new window inserted. A new south door was inserted in the extended bay. Access to the north gallery was by a staircase in the north porch to a doorway in the upper part of the west wall of the aisle.

The old organ was sold in 1827, and in 1853 a new organ by Bewsher and Fleetwood of Liverpool was constructed in the west gallery, exposing a west window through to the tower. To accommodate the new organ, the old gallery was removed and a new one reconstructed uniform in height to the side galleries. A three-decker pulpit was introduced at the same period.

Between 1833 and 1841, repairs were undertaken to the exterior. The chancel appears to have been 'embellished'; stained glass by Evans of Shrewsbury was put into three windows in the chancel and a stone reredos replaced the old wooden one. The ancient stone font, located in the garden of Acton Hall, was restored. Extensive repairs were undertaken on the tower turrets and parapets; some were wholly rebuilt.

Glynne visited the church at some unknown date though presumably in the middle of the 19thC and completed an enthusiastic description.

Major restoration work by Benjamin Ferrey in 1867 included removing the north and south galleries; replacing box pews with open oak seating, reflooring the aisles in red, black and buff tiles by Messrs. Denney, Hargreaves and Co, and encaustic tiles by Maws in the chancel. Old sepulchral slabs were presumably broken up and used as a base. The Myddelton monument was re-sited in the north aisle, the interior walls were cleaned of all paintwork and repairs were made to the stonework; a new pulpit, carved oak altar table, corona for the chancel, a new prayer desk, and a heating system were introduced. The restoration cost 4,345 and was executed by Yates of Shifnal.

In 1894 the organ and gallery were removed from the west end and the organ was re-sited in the south chapel. The west window was filled with stained glass by Clayton and Bell.

In 1901, the Yale alumni restored the north porch to commemorate their bicentenary; they made further contributions in 1929 to restoring the roof of the north aisle and in 1968 contributions to restoring the Yale tomb.

Restoration work in 1902-3 was undertaken by Prothero, which included a thorough restoration of the fabric of the church. The external stonework was crumbling and in need of refacing and repointing work. The tracery of the windows in the tower was replaced, and the 27 statues on the tower needed refixing and securing. Fenestration in general needed repairing and the church was re-roofed and releaded.

The chancel was partiallly refurbished by Sir Thomas Graham Jackson in 1914. The reredos, rails and marble flooring are his. In 1918-19 he fitted the east end of the north aisle as a War Memorial Chapel, and he also intended that statues, of which only three materialised, be placed on the disused corbels of the nave.

Remodelling of the area under the tower took place in 1952 and the inner porch was contructed. There was further repair work to the tower in 1954. The floor of the ante nave was refloored with York stone in 1959, the font was moved and cleaned and fitted with a modern oak cover and the 17thC oak table was set against the north wall.

The organ was restored 1987. General repairs were undertaken between 1987-91 on stonework in tower, including the rebuilding of the corner turrets, and renewing the lead covering on the tower and the north porch. Interior floor tiling was much renewed in 1991, including the black and white marble tiles in the sanctuary and chancel and the red, black and yellow tiles in the aisles.

Architecture

The church comprises a nave and chancel, north and south aisles, a west tower and north and south porches which are integral parts of the aisles. It is oriented east to west.

Fabrics: 'A' consists of sandstone ashlar. The older sandstone remains weathered and discoloured and recent repair work in fine grained yellow ashlar is clearly visible. Medium to large linear blocks with large rectangular blocks in the lower stage of the tower; irregular coursing. 'B' is similar to 'A' but the individual blocks are more regular.

'A' is 15thC/16thC. 'B' is from 1822.

Roofs:- leaded roofs, their visibility masked by battlemented parapets

Drainage:- 19thC guttering and downspouts lead to soakaways. Slabs around the western end. A surface drain around much of the south, east and north sides might disguise a sub-surface drainage trench.

Exterior

Tower - General. Perpendicular west tower, c.45m high. A basal plinth at c.0.7m above ground level is double stepped and topped by a roll moulding above the hollow-chamfered coping. Almost immediately above this is a much worn string course at 1m. Six stages are separated by string courses and and in some places friezes of quatrefoil decoration. There is a battlemented parapet with sixteen crocketed pinnacles and set behind these four hexagonal corner turrets surmounted by crocketed pinnacles with weathervanes. Clasping buttresses incorporating canopied niches at regular intevals, change to diagonal buttresses in the topmost stage. Gargoyles, usually one to each side. Some of the ashlar of the wall faces has been renewed.

The tower faces display large blind panels and a total of thirty niches surmounted by a crocketed pinnacle and founded on a corbel carved with a grotesque or some other motif; twenty-seven still contain sculptures, though some at least of these must be much restored. The central statue of the nine on the west side is a Virgin and Child.

North wall:- the lowest stage constructed of large rectangular blocks of ashlar include one carved 'A...B...76'. The top of this first stage has a chamfered string course with several worn grotesques protruding from it. Two stages of blind foiled ogee-headed panelling with quatrefoils in spandrels. Next three stages with pairs of four-centred windows separated by a central column, effectively a pilaster buttress. The windows contain different numbers of foiled, ogee-headed lights, four or six in two rows divided by transoms. Many of these windows are blind, but the belfry windows have louvred lights, six to each window. All the windows including the bell openings have crocketed ogee hoodmoulds, usually with decorative stops. The central buttress contains five of the niches for statues and there are subsidary columns of three niches on either side in the fourth, fifth and sixth stages. A clock face is affixed to the centtral buttress in the fifth stage. Built into the north-west corner is the tower stair, lit by small windows.

East wall:- visible above the nave roofline.The windows in the fourth to sixth stages are much as on the north wall. There is, however, no central niche in the fourth stage. A clock face is set on the fifth stage.

South wall:- similar to but not the same as the north wall for in some of its features it is not so elaborate. There is for instance only one statue and this in a diagonal niche on the south-east corner buttress. The central buttress has ogee-headed panelling rather than niches, and there are additional blind windows in the fourth stage. The windows in the fifth stage are not symmetrical though there is no obvious reason for this. As elsewhere a clock face at the fifth stage.

West wall:- the tower has a west door with a square-headed frame and a label with simple stops, over a two-centred arch with carved spandrels, one an animal the other perhaps a rose. The doors are panelled with wooden tracery holding glass lights and below decorative ironwork plaques. The double plinth and the small string course immediately above it are stepped down to either side of the doorway. In this first stage a small two-centred window with a label lights the tower stair. Above the doorway the quatrefoil frieze contains a much worn figure, perhaps Christ, and the string course above it has grotesques. A large west window spans two stages of the wall; it has five cinquefoiled, ogee-headed lights with a transom and panel tracery; and a hoodmould with grotesque stops. The fourth, fifth and sixth stages are as the north wall. All the niches have statues.

North aisle - General. Roof slopes down from nave wall below its clerestorey. The walls have the double plinth at the base, but unlike the tower there is no roll moulding and no string course immediately above it.

North wall:- a clasping buttress at the north-west corner, a diagonal north-east buttress and five stepped straight buttresses, all the straight buttresses rising to crocketed pinnacles; six bays. Five bays have windows with rather angular four-centred arches with four foiled, ogee-headed lights with tracery above; hoodmoulds with simple stops. There is a battlemented parapet with a string course below it and under this a frieze of floriate motifs mixed with occasional masks and grotesques. The most westerly bay is occupied by the two-storey north porch which projects by no more than 0.4m beyond the aisle wall. The battlemented parapet and the string course with frieze continue across this, but in addition there are gargoyles. The north door has a two-centred arch of two orders with rib and hollow moulding to the chamfers, and a hoodmould; several of the arch and jamb stones are renewed. Above the doorway a figure of the Virgin Mary and Child in a heavily decorated, ogee-canopied niche. To the west of this is a new square-headed window over a pair of four-centred lights.

East wall:- a two-tier plinth rises to c.2.5m above ground level. The east window has a two-centred arch with hoodmould over four ogee-headed lights with panel tracery above. It is similar to but more elaborate than the north wall windows.

West wall:- the west wall of the porch. A plain string course below the crenellated parapet but the frieze is not carried round to this side. Two square-headed windows with four-centred lights, both with modern dressings and probably of modern origin.

Nave - General. All that is visible is the seven-bay clerestory.

North wall:- seven three-centred clerestorey windows with hoodmoulds and head-stops, over paired cusped two-centred lights. Above, a battlemented parapet with crocketed pinnacles and a moulded string course with another frieze of decorative motifs as on the north wall of the north aisle. One gargoyle at the west end and between the first and second bays a stair turret continues above the clerestory level.

East wall:- gargoyles at the north and south ends of this wall but otherwise it is not possible to discern the nature of the nave from ground level.

South wall:- appears to be similar to the north clerestorey though no stair turret and perhaps no gargoyle either.

Chancel - General. Chancel with polygonal apsidal end, a 16thC addition to the earlier church plan. Walls added to the eastern buttresses of the earlier building. A moulded basal plinth varying in height from 0.5m on the south side to 1.5m on the east, and above this a heavily moulded string course which mirrors the stepped plinth. The plinth is not continuous with those of the aisles. Buttresses at each angle. A battlemented parapet with floriate and grotesque frieze as on the aisles. Stepped buttresses terminate in crocketed pinnacles. The lower niches contain 19thC memorial statues. Some renewal of the stonework.

North wall:- large window with two-centred arch over four foiled lights with transom and panel tracery above; hoodmould with decorative carvings and animal stops.

North-east wall:- window with two-centred arch with hoodmould as north wall, and three foiled ogee-headed lights with panel tracery. One gargoyle on this side.

East wall:- window with four-centred arch, five ogee-headed lights, sub-arches, transoms and panel tracery; hoodmould with head stops. Below this window is a three-centred doorway to the crypt; hoodmould, and all completely modern. Two gargoyles.

South-east wall:- as north-east wall but no gargoyle. The window has been completely renewed though not the hoodmould with its stops.

South wall: as north wall, with much renewal of stonework to the window and the wall. One gargoyle.

South aisle - General. Two-tier plinth, and beneath this in the two most easterly bays a third, flat-topped plinth. Battlemented parapet with a moulded string course below which is a frieze similar to that on the north aisle.

East wall:- parapet not battlemented. Window with a two-centred arch over four foiled, ogee-headed lights with panel tracery above; hoodmould with simple stops. The frieze of carvings continues for only half the length of the wall, and it is evident that the string course has been renewed for part of its length.

South wall;- six-bay aisle of 15thC date with the 19thC south porch forming a seventh bay at the west end, but showing a continuous alignment. Clasping buttresses at the south-east (15thC) and south-west (19thC) corners with five straight 15thC buttresses and one 19thC buttress dividing the south wall into seven bays. The 15thC buttresses rise to crocketed pinnacles, but the 19thC buttress lacks this sophistication. The six bays each contain a window with a four-centred arch with a hoodmould over four foiled, ogee-headed lights with panel tracery. The easternmost window, however, is two-centred, has sub-arches and has cinquefoiled two-centred lights. It also has head-stops to the hoodmould, one of large proportions which looks out of place. To the east of it the buttress is different too from the others on this wall for its has blind traceried panels beneath the pinnacle. And the frieze beneath the top string course is different. The mix of grotesques and floriate motifs is replaced by animals. All in all it appears that the design and probably the date of this bay of the south aisle is different from the rest.

The most westerly bay is in 'B' and contains a doorway with a hollow-chamfered, two-centred arch over a pair of studded, panelled doors; a hoodmould with square stops completes the doorway. Above the arch is an 1822 datestone.

West wall:- all in 'B'. A double basal plinth c.0.6m above ground level, and moulded string course below the battlemented parapet. The wall houses a window with a two-centred arch with hoodmould and square stops over three multifoiled lights with tracery above; 19thC in date. At the south-west corner a gargoyle projects over the buttress.

Interior

Tower - General. Carpetted ground floor; exposed stonework to the walls. A vaulted ribbed ceiling rising from four figured corbels to above the height of the large west window. The tower was the original chapel of the Royal Welch Fusiliers (RWF) and retains many of its memorials.

North wall:- several large marble memorials from the Boer War and 1900 China Expedition, several brass plates and a 19thC inscription carved into the stonework - all RWF tributes.

East wall:- a high four-centred arch of perhaps five orders with moulded and fluted jambs and arch.

South wall:- up to 43 brasses on the wall.

West wall:- stone flagged western stepped entrance from west door set under a two-centred arched reveal. The western doorway is enclosed by a modern oak panelled inner porch with traceried lights in the upper panels. Two marble memorials on the wall to the south of the porch.

North porch - General. Modern tiled floor, stone benches along south and west walls. A vaulted ceiling by Prothero from 1901 with floriate bosses and a central boss of St Giles with a deer, arrow and crozier.

North wall:- a high four-centred reveal to the north door.

East wall:- wooden screen with panelled entrance doors and traceried panels filled with glass fill the wide four-centred arch that separates the porch from the west end of the north aisle.

South wall:- an extremely faded wall painting of the Crucifixion, discovered in 1867. Also a commemorative brass of 1901 referring to the restoration of the porch.

West wall:- various wooden boards listing vicars, parish funds etc.

North aisle - General. Red, black and buff tiled floor throughout the north aisle with iron heating grilles; flush planked floor under benches. Exposed stonework to the walls; there are masons' marks on the north wall and also two consecration crosses. Roof of six bays defined by principals supported on arch bracing with tracery in the spandrels; short wall posts supported on head corbels; all this was replaced in the 19thC except perhaps for the tracery. Nine panels to each bay with decorative bosses at the intersections. Corbels from an earlier roof at a lower level, some perhaps original. An altar at the east end with a marble floor surround.

North wall:- a large number of marble memorials from 1730, 1751/2, 1759, 1766, 1776, 1802, 1804, 1813, and 1866. Brasses of 1736, 1745, 1746, 1769, 1786, 1797 and 1809, plus two of the 20thC. At the extreme east end beside the altar is a 14thC effigy and also a War memorial.

East wall:- a marble reredos of the 19thC or later.

South wall:- at the extreme east end are marble memorials of 1817 and 1829/30, and on the west face of the arcade reveal a brass of 1743. Otherwise a 14thC six-bay arcade of six, chamfered, two-centred arches of two orders rising from five octagonal sandstone piers with octagonal bases mounted on square plinths; no responds for the arches spring directly from the walls. One pier carries a brass of 1673/4.

West wall:- four-centred archway with panelling, and some changes in the masonry visible above the archway. Also two 20thC brasses and four commemorative brasses relating to works in the church, also of the 20thC. Finally Royal Arms from the early 18thC.

Ante-nave - General. Between the tower and the nave proper is an ante-nave with porches to the north and south of it. Stone flagged floor; bare walls. Roof a continuation of that in the nave.

North wall:- the masonry of the 14thC wall terminates in a butt joint with the later work on this wall, despite the fact that corbels from an early roof line have been simulated here by the 19thC restorers. The clerestorey over the ante-nave has four lights, rather than the two in the windows over the nave. In the wall is a doorway, approached by two steps, with a four-centred arch and chamfered jambs giving access to the tower. Above this is a wooden memorial board of 1692, and to the west of it are plans of the church and a Buck print, and to the east 19thC and 20thC memorials.

East wall:- no division from the nave.

South wall:- clerestorey as north wall, but most of the wall have been used for the Cunliffe monument of 1834; one other 19thC marble memorial and a brass of late 19thC date.

West wall:- tower arch as described above.

Nave - General. Floor and walls as north aisle. A camberbeam roof of seven bays with 24 panels to each bay. The camberbeams have traceried arch bracing and rest on short wall posts and stone corbels with armorial shields which may be original (Hubbard); the outer cusps support richly painted wooden figures of angels playing musical instruments; the panels of the roof have decorative bosses and diagonal moulded ribs across the panels. At the east end of the nave is a carpetted platform, supporting an altar which is in use for most services.

Lower than the present roof corbels are large corbels, disused, from the the 14thC roof. Most were renewed in the 19thC, and Hubbard believed that some of those renewed were not original, and that it was at this time that the redundant corbels were carried across the walling of the ante-nave. At least two may be original with one on the south side representing a mermaid with a comb and a glass.

North wall:- arcade to north aisle as noted above. Above the piers of the arcade are corbels from the earlier roof; one is used as a support for a statue. A clerestory of six bays with paired multifoil lights set in round-headed splayed apertures (with a seventh bay over the ante-nave). Brasses of 1673, 1687 and 1902 attached to piers.

East wall:- a two-centred chancel arch with hollow chamfers, formerly the east window of the church. It retains fragments of its original tracery which hang down like stalactites. The chancel is closed off by a wrought iron screen. To each side of this at the base of the arch are canopied niches with ogee heads and tracery. Above and around the arch a wall painting of the Day of Judgement.

South wall:- arcade and disused corbels, two with statues. Attached to the piers are brasses of 1860 and 1888, and at the extreme east end marble memorials of 1698, 1743 and 1799. High up above these in the wall is a blocked doorway, seemingly square-headed wirth no trace of any dressings (see south arcade below).

West wall:- attached to the reveal at the west end of the arcade are marble memorials of 1668, 1735 and 1696, and one of the 20thC.

Chancel - General. Black and white marble floor, and two steps up to the sanctuary, two to the altar. Walls as nave and there are raised longitudinal oak benches with open traceried panels. The 19thC roof is plain compared with that of the nave and consists of three moulded tie-beams with moulded purlins and rafters.

Note: below the chancel a crypt with both internal and external entrances.

North wall:- immured in the wall at the extreme west end of the wall is the original stepped buttress that supported the east wall of the church. marble memorial of 1754/1756 and below this a brass of 1822 recording the burial of Danvers Gartside and others in a vault in the new burial ground. Another marble memorial of 1784. Also a four-centred doorway to the crypt approached by two steps.

North-east wall:- one 20thC brass.

East wall:- carved stone reredos below the east window. To either side of the window are richly carved, medieval, vaulted and canopied niches culminating in crocketed pinnacles; each niche has two platforms supporting statues.

South-east wall:- an ornate triple sedilia (medieval), with vaulting and 'nodding ogees' (Hubbard), carved foliage in the spandrels through which heads, some of green men, appear.

South wall:- immured buttress as in the north wall. On the sill of the south window is the life-size effigy of Hugh Ballot with a large inscription stone of later date set below it. The wall also supports a marble memorial of 1770.

South aisle - General. Floor and walls as north aisle. Roof of six and a half bays with seven camberbeams on stone corbels with carved heads, some of which have been renewed. Oak panelling of the roof restored or replaced and the bosses are less highly decorated than those in the north aisle. The easternmost bay of the aisle was formerly the chantry of St Mary. It is now occupied by the organ. The west end is panelled off to form a utility room and a locked vestry.

North wall:- six bay arcade (see above) . A blocked doorway high in the wall may have belonged to either or perhaps both the rood loft and the 1707 gallery; certainly Crossley was happy that this functioned as an access to the rood loft. On the walls brasses of 1665 and 1679; marble memorials of 1748/9 and one each from the 19thC and 20thC.

East wall:- a vaulted and canopied niche in the corner, thought perhaps to be 14thC, and a monument of 1676, both largely hidden by the organ.

South wall:- the upper part of a 14thC piscina within a canopied niche is located at the east end. Marble monuments of 1703/5, 1740, 1746, 1749, 1756, 1784, 1793, 1797, four of the 19thC and one of the 20thC; brasses of 1729, 1751, 1797, 1799, 3 of the 19thC and 3 of the 20thC. On the wall above the south door, four benefaction boards, probably but not certainly of the 19thC.

West wall:- this is not accessible (locked vestry), but there is at least one monument on the wall.

Churchyard

The church is centrally placed in an irregularly shaped churchyard, which has been encroached on by the 19thC development of the town centre. In 1784 Sir Watkin Williams Wynn gave three acres of land for a burial ground and it was consecrated with a chapel in 1793; it forms the present municipal cemetery. Various features within the churchyard form part of a Scheduled Ancient Monument (De 158).

Boundary:- stone wall on all sides, showing as a revetment surmounted by iron railings on the north and east sides, a low wall with railings on the south, and an ordinary wall for some of the west side.

Monuments:- the churchyard was levelled in 1904 leaving only a few marked graves other than the large collection of chest and table tombs to the north and south sides of the church. The oldest recorded gravestone is of 1695, but there is also a slab sited in the south path with 'ME RE 1672'. The Yale Tomb (Elihu Yale, 1648 - 1721) is a chest tomb with angle pilasters on a raised base, reputedly restored in 1820, again in 1874, and in 1968 by Yale alumni (SAM De158 but also Grade II* listed). Other chest tombs of c.1720, 1726 and 1790, and several are listed.

Furniture:- the octagonal sandstone sundial was donated by Edward Ravenscroft in 1809; an octagonal plinth with traceried panels, a large copper plate and gnomon with Roman numerals. A weathered date on the stone rim below the plate. (De158; Grade II listed).

Earthworks:- the ground to the south of the church falls away steeply to lower ground, and there is a lesser slope to the east.

Ancillary features:- the highly decorative wrought iron gates have central double-arched gates with lower flanking arched side gates, and were made in 1720 by the Davies Brothers of Bersham. Hollow square wrought iron piers separate the main gates from the side entrances. Outer stone piers are surmounted by urn finials. All the gates have scrolled overthrows with leaf and flower designs (Listed Grade II*). A wide stone-flagged walkway to the west door and flagstone paths continue all round the church.

Vegetation:- a single yew tree is located on the east side of the entrance gates. Also hollies, laurels, and beeches, probably of 19thC, throughout the churchyard.

Sources consulted

Cadw Schedule of Listed Buildings 1994
CPAT Field Visits: 9 January 1997 and 25 February 1999
CPAT SMR
Crossley 1946, 42
Denbighshire Record Office: PD/101/1/206 (1776): alteration to gallery
Denbighshire Record Office: PD/101/1/207 (1819): erection of two galleries
Denbighshire Record Office: PD/101/1/208 (1865): dismantling galleries etc
Denbighshire Record Office: PD/101/1/211 (1899): erection of vestries and porch
Denbighshire Record Office: PD/101/1/561 (1954): repair work to tower
Dineley 1888, 56
Faculty: St Asaph 1865 (NLW) restoration of church
Faculty: St Asaph 1914 (NLW) restoration of interior of chancel
Glynne 1885, 130
Gresham 1968, 178
Hubbard 1986, 298
Lloyd Williams and Underhill 1872. pls 32
Palmer 1886
Petition: St Asaph 1793 (NLW) new burial ground
Quinquennial Report 1995
Smith 1988
Thomas 1913, 290
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 Wrexham Church may also be found on the St Asaph Diocese website.


The CPAT Wrexham 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 ( 22:03:19 ).
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 - chrismartin@cpat.org.uk, website - www.cpat.org.uk.

Privacy and cookies