Wrexham Churches Survey
Church of St Deiniol , Worthenbury
Worthenbury Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Worthenbury in the county of Wrexham. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ4189246227.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16976 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.
St Deiniol's church was completely rebuilt in 1736-9, and is reputedely the best example of a complete Georgian church in Wales. It retains box pews,a triple-decker pulpit and a font, together with other 18thC furnishings, the only earlier features being a
little stained glass and a stoup. It has a small rectangular churchyard from which most of the earlier memorials have been cleared.
Large Georgian church from 1736-9 with apsidal chancel and a three-storey western tower constructed in red brick. A west gallery was added in 1830.
Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1986 publication The Buildings of Wales: Clwyd by Edward Hubbard
The church is dedicated to St Deiniol, the son of Dunawd, the first Abbot at Bangor, who died in AD 544. It was originally a chapel attached to Bangor Is-y-coed. The date of the original establishment here is not known but there is no certain evidence of
an early medieval foundation.
A chapel is mentioned here in 1388, and it is known that a brick and timber structure was constructed in 1557. Thomas, however, recorded that a new chapel was built here in 1658.
In 1689 the parish of Worthenbury was carved out of Bangor Is-y-coed.
The present building was built by Richard Trubshaw with financial assistance from the Puleston family in 1736-9.
In 1849 Worthenbury was transferred from the Diocese of Chester to that of St Asaph.
The church underwent large-scale repairs in 1951 which included re-roofing.
The church consists of a nave with a narrower chancel and semi-circular apse, and a western tower. It is oriented fractionally north of due west, but 'ecclesiastical east' is adopted here for descriptive purposes.
Fabric: 'A' consists of red brick in header and stretcher bond; sandstone dressings.
'B' is medium to large blocks of yellow to grey sandstone used for the foundations and dressings.
Roofs:- slates with black ceramic ridge tiles over the nave. Flat roofs to the chancel, apse and tower.
Drainage:- guttering and downspouts lead to soakaways. No obvious drainage trench on the south, but there could be one, albeit narrow, on the north and west.
General. Wholly in 'A' with a plinth in 'B'.
Tower - General. A square three-stage tower with three courses of stonework forming the basal plinth which has chamfered coping. Above this the three stages are divided by stone string courses, the first of slabs, the second one of more standard form with
a hollowed underside, and the third a more complex moulded course. Above this is a balustraded parapet with corner urn pinnacles topped by wrought ironwork weathervanes and a central flag post. There are crosses midway along the parapet sides. The sides
have clasping buttresses in 'B'.
North wall:- boiler house at ground floor level and then higher in this stage a round-headed window with four radiating keystones. The second stage lacks features while the third stage has a round-headed belfry window with two rectangular wooden lights and
a tympanum, all louvred, and a keystone.
East wall:- abuts nave, the roof of which reaches to just below the second string course. Above this is a standard belfry window only.
South wall:- the first stage has a round window on the north, the second stage a round-headed niche with a corbelled support for the sill but no statue, and the third stage a standard belfry window, the bottom half of which holds a blue clock face.
West wall:- the first stage round-headed window contains small rectangular leaded lights, but is otherwise the same as the belfry windows. The second stage has a standard round window with small coloured leaded lights, and the third stage a standard belfry
Boiler house - General. The north-west boiler house is a more recent addition set in the angle between the tower north wall and the nave west wall. Constructed in red brick with a slate roof sloping to the north. A single square-headed wooden planked door
is located in the west wall.
Nave - General. Plinth of three to four courses in 'B'. At eaves level is a moulded string course below what appears to be a plain parapet
North wall:- a doorway at the west end has square pilaster jambs, moulded capitals and arch and a projecting keystone; it contains a pair of panelled doors with solid wood in the tympanum. To the east are three tall round-headed windows, similar in design
to the door. Pilaster buttresses at the corners.
East wall:- visible to either side of the narrower chancel but no features.
South wall:- as north side with pilaster buttresses at the corners. The south door is in the same style as the north door and is used as the main entrance to church.
West wall:- visible to either side of the tower but no features.
Chancel - General. Narrower than the nave and with a semi-circular apse. Stone plinth and eaves string course as the nave. As the apse is narrower than the chancel there are pilaster buttresses of a sort where they meet.
North wall:- a flight of six stone steps with an iron handrail lead up to a priest's door with a round-headed arch, a smaller version of the north and south doorways but lacking the moulded capitals and keystone; a single heavy panelled door. A round
window above with radiating keystones, immediately above the doorway.
East wall:- a window of standard form to the apse except that overlying the keystone is a large cusped 'plaque' in pale sandstone. Above this the plain parapet gives way to one with three balustraded openings.
South wall:- a round-headed window of standard form with stained glass.
Tower - General. Used as a vestry. Carpetted floor, brick walls which are plastered and limewashed, and a boarded ceiling with one main visible joist. The next floor has the ringing chamber with an oak planked floor, limewashed walls and plastered ceiling.
Above this is the bell chamber.
North wall:- possibly a former fireplace in the north-east angle.
East wall:- giving on to the nave is a square-headed door and blocked tympanum in a round-headed tower arch.
South wall:- nothing to note.
West wall:- splayed window aperture and below this a brass memorial plate of 1786/1813.
Nave - General. Floor carpetted with box pews on raised planked floors; midway along the length of the aisle there is one step up. Walls plastered and painted. The windows have alcoves beneath them in which are ledges or seats. Floor of sandstone slabs,
carpetted central aisle and box pews. A plastered ceiling which rises in an arch along the centre and this has a moulded frieze along its base. To the sides of this the ceiling is flat and there is a cornice at the wall tops resting on decorative, paired
North wall:- the north door, blocked by a large cupboard or wardrobe of 1726, has a square-headed frame. On the wall marble memorials of 1824 and 1893 and brasses of 1910 and 1946.
East wall:- three steps up to the chancel. There is no chancel arch, just the inset chancel walls with pilaster columns rising to the ceiling. Marble memorial of 1734 to the north, another of 1799 to the south.
South wall:- window alcoves as north side. Marble memorials of 1833 (referring to a vault beneath), 1836 and 1865; brasses of 1899 and 1905 and a brass First World War memorial.
West wall:- at the west end is a gallery inserted in 1830 and supported by a front tie-beam and six cast-iron columns, four in two pairs centrally placed to the aisle, and two at the front of the gallery. It is accessed via a spiral staircase, through a
low round-headed doorway in the south wall of the tower arch reveal.
The gallery extends the full width of the nave and its floor drops from west to east. Its panelled front has short balusters and centrally placed is a grimy painting of a royal coat-of-arms. In the gallery is the organ. On the west wall below the gallery
are three hatchments and a 1796 list of the church holdings.
Chancel - General. Three steps up to the chancel from the nave. Stone slabs for the floor with carpet over. Plastered and painted walls as the nave. The ceiling with rococo plasterwork and a cornice which shows corbels and flower heads. Two large box pews
to the north and south of the aisle.
North wall:- square-headed reveal to priest's door. Brasses of 1860, 1896, 1915 and 1916; marble memorials of 1801 and 1843.
South wall:- a marble memorial of 1840 and a brass of 1894.
Sanctuary - General. In the apse. Carpetted and one step up from the chancel. Wall separated into bays by Ionic and Corinthian pilaster columns and the ceiling displays a gilded dove and a sunburst, and small grey clouds, all in plaster.
East wall:- four wooden panels around the walls display the Lord's Prayer, the Decalogue (two boards) and the Creed.
West side:- balustrade altar rails.
A well maintained almost rectangular enclosure on flat ground. The church was originally sited in an almost square enclosure which was extended westwards in 1900.
Boundary:- a red brick wall with sandstone coping.
Monuments:- the earliest graves are located around the apse; 18th and 19thC sandstone tablets, chests and table tombs randomly placed in close proximity - a chest tomb of 1768 appears to be the earliest, but there are slabs that are largely illegible.
Chests and table tombs of 19thC date line the church side of the south path. Four brass memorial plates are affixed to the south wall of the church, all 19thC. The more recent burials are located in the western extension where the graves are regularly
placed. The ground on the south side of the church is clear of markers, except along the edge of the churchyard, where a long mound of material appears to be of broken memorials and earth.
Furniture:- a wrought iron lamp-post located beside the south path.
Earthworks:- the original churchyard is marked by a drop of 0.6m in ground level immediately to the west of the tower. The churchyard is raised by 0.4m on the east, 1-1.5m on the south and up to 1m on the north.
Ancillary features:- a pair of iron gates form the eastern entrance which is approached by three steps. A tarmac path leads up to the south door and a single gate in the north boundary wall gives access via a grass path to the north door at the chancel
Vegetation:- deciduous trees of 18thC or 19thC date line the boundary.
Church guide n.d.
CPAT Field Visits: 29 June 1996 and 5 February 1999
Faculty: St Asaph 1900 (NLW) addition to churchyard
Faculty: St Asaph 1919 (NLW) removal of two yew trees
Faculty: St Asaph 1951 (NLW) temporary closure of church
Hubbard 1986, 457
RCAHMW 1912, 116
Thomas 1908, 462
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 Worthenbury 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 - firstname.lastname@example.org, website - www.cpat.org.uk.
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