Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Church of St Mary  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
The parish church stands at the S end of the main street of Chirk, within its own graveyard, on the N edge of the valley of the Afon Ceiriog.  


Broad Class
Religious, Ritual and Funerary  

The church, first dedicated to St Tysilio, originally consisted of an early C12 nave and chancel of similar length to the existing building, perhaps serving the early lordship of Chirk. It was extended by the addition of a parallel nave of equal size on the N side, in 1519 by William Edwards of New Hall for which documentary evidence exists, although the style appears earlier, shortly followed by the insertion of the tower in its W bay. It was altered and repaired through the C17 and C18, and again after 1811. The interior was transformed in 1828-9, and the furnishings were further altered in 1877 by E Griffiths of Chirk under the guidance of Henry Kennedy. It has served as the family repository for the local Myddleton and Trevor Estates.  

Built of sandstone from the Upper Coal Measures. Slate roofs. Twin naves, the earlier to the S incorporating the S wall of the C12 church, evidenced by residual pilaster buttresses, with a wider section incorporating a round arched S door, now blocked and behind a C19 buttress. The arch retains one impost capital on the S, decorated with grooves. Later C15 3-light windows with cusped heads replace all but one small Norman window, now blocked, set low in the wall E of the blocked door, with a monolithic arched head. Above the later windows, an early cross head and another weathered stone from the early church. Cusped and panelled subarcuate tracery to the E windows, one restored in C19. At the W end, C19 4-light window with a door under a square label below. The N nave was added in the early C16, of regular stonework on a chamfered plinth. Angle corner buttress and two 3-light N windows with casement-moulded surrounds. The tower is inserted in the 4th bay at the W; 3 stages with angle corner buttresses and strings at each stage. Two-light bell openings and a crenellated parapet. The stair is in the NW corner with small lights flush with the W wall. Similar 4-light W window with cinquefoil heads in each light and a door with label under. A clock has been set in the centre stage. Attached to the N is a later C20 stone-built range extending to a meeting hall, with associated toilets and kitchen.  

The S nave and undifferentiated chancel is of 6 bays, having a roof of restored C15 arch-braced collar trusses, plastered below the rafters. The arches sweep down to bracketed wall corbels forming pseudo-hammer beams, and have raking struts above the collars. Walls plastered. The floor is raised by 2 steps into the parquet floored sanctuary, with the altar raised a further step. The two roof bays at the E end have a segmental vaulted ceiling divided by three intermediate ceiling trusses with moulded ribs and a ridge beam with gilded bosses, all in an early C19 Gothic taste. The N nave is divided from the S by a C16 4-bay arcade of octagonal columns carrying depressed arches. The independent roof of 4 bays has similar heavy late medieval trusses with arch-braced collars on similar bracketed timber corbels, but here the heavily moulded rafters and wall plates and 3 tiers of purlins are exposed. The tower is inserted into the western 4th bay, and has a similar depressed tower arch to the N nave. The spandrels of the brackets are carved and coloured, and the soffits of alternate trusses have large carved animals. The truss of the 2nd intermediate bay however has a carving of 2 knights on a balcony on the S, the inscription DAVIT under, and a jettied tower house on the N. Fittings: pulpit located in the E arcade arch, C17 carved floral panels redeployed in 1828-9, and angled top, approached by a C19 replica newel stair. Font, relocated under the tower, is of stone, large and octagonal, inscribed D.R T.P 1662, and has a good contemporary octagonal cover with a knob at each angle. Reredos and altar rail is of carved oak, early C20. Dado panelling around the sanctuary, but C19 timber Gothic dado at the E end of the N aisle, the cusped tracery of which is of metal. Glass: some good C19 figurative glass. S nave E window, a Visitation, prophets below, by Kempe, for Mary (Moyra) Trevor of Brynkinallt, d.1904 (see Mausoleum); S window, faith, hope and charity by Burlison and Grylls, commemorating Hill-Trevor family. N Nave E window, Ascension, a good memorial window for Robert Myddleton-Biddulph, d.1872 and family. N window, a Resurrection by Bell & Son, Bristol, in greys, for Richard Myddleton, d.1913. To the W, a British Legion memorial window in blue and mauve by Jane Gray, 1994. Furniture: pews C19, oak. Chest with side arms and 2 locks, dated 1736, inscribed with the names of churchwardens. Long C15-C17 oak document chest with iron fittings, and a panelled chest inscribed SL 1675. Also a mid C17 communion table with bulbous legs. Against the E face of the tower pier, an early C19 Gothic-style Commandment board of 4 panels, until 1894 the reredos. Monuments: two remarkable monumental tombs by John Bushnell of London. To the left of the altar (a) wall monument of c1675. Life sized busts of Sir Thomas Myddleton, parliamentary sergeant-major general in the Civil War, and wife Maria Napier, d.1666, she in 1674, flanked by obelisks carrying flaming urns, the black field curtained from a baldachino, arms above and heads peering round the curtain either side. The pedestalled busts stand on a moulded shelf, bracketed by a wide strapwork panel with a central Latin inscription, added in 1722, all steadied by ill-proportioned naked running cherubs. To the right of the altar, (b) a similar wall monument of c1676. Black marble shelf supporting the reclining figure of Elizabeth Myddleton (Wilbrahim) wife of the 3rd Sir Thomas, 2nd baronet, suckling an infant, set in front of a draped black panel flanked by pedestalled urns, the drapery eminating from a baldachino, heads each side, and crowned by arms. Below the shelf a cushioned panel in a strapwork cartouche, set in front of a lower shelf with a fullsome inscription, all also added in 1722. The cost of both tombs is recorded as £400. On the S wall of the S nave, (c) another fine monument, by Robert Wynne, sculptor of 'Ye Elaboratory', Ruthin, which cost £400. White marble, a gadrooned and panelled base, with a long inscription, set forward carrying the life-sized recumbent figure of Sir William Myddleton, d.1717/8, behind, his standing parents, fashionably dressed and flanking a corniced die with an urn crest, and displaying on its front a swaddled child. The figures are flanked by Corinthian columns supporting an entablature, the cornice arched at the centre with roses on its soffit. Flaming urns stand above the columns, and the family crest, garlanded with a helmet and red hand crest above the arch. (d) A large white marble panel to Lieut.Col Arthur William, 2nd Lord Trevor and Vice-lieutenant of Denbighshire, d.1923, his mezzo-relievo bust and arms below. Also (e)-(h) four rope-edged shields each carrying an inscribed cross botonny for the Hill Trevor family of Brynkinallt; (i) Marble rectangular wall panel to Lieut Hillyar George Trevor, d.1914 at Givenchy, his medals and citation set in a glazed recess; In the N nave, five elaborate limestone Gothic aedicules, to (j) Charlotte Myddleton-Biddulph; (k) ensign Robert Myddleton-Biddulph, d.1863 in Malta; (l) Charlotte Elizabeth Maude (Myddleton-Biddulph), d.1871; (m) Robert Myddleton-Biddulph of Chirk, MP and Lord Lieutenant, d.1872 and Fanny (Mostyn Owen) his wife, d.1887, the first girl-friend of Charles Darwin, and (n) Gilbert Myddleton-Biddulph, son of the last. (o) A Grecian wall tablet, white on grey, by Bossom, to Richard Jebb, agent to the Chirk Estate, d.1840, erected by Viscount Dungannon; (p) Tapered white marble tablet to Richard Jebb, son of the last; (q) Oval marble panel in a pilastered frame, draped urn over, all against a grey field, to Thomas Lovett, d.1801; (r) unfixed, a late medieval stone carved with a ragged relief figure clutching a heart, and standing on a death's head. Also a brass to Thomas Foulkes of New Marton, Salop, d.1752. Another to Dean Walter Balcanqual, the celebrated C17 divine, by W Stanton, c1678. Bells: a ring of six bells of 1803 by Rudhall of Gloucester. Miscellaneous: a Royal Arms painted in oil on board, framed, displaying an inclined royal shield with Royal Hanover in pretence, 1816-37 fruity lion and unicorn supporters, and a hatchment set on the inner tower wall, having quarterly 1st and 4th Myddleton, 2nd and 3rd Biddulph, the arms granted to Lieut-Col Ririd Myddleton of Chirk Castle, d.1988.  

Reason for designation
Included at Grade I for the important survival of early fabric in a church which largely retains its medieval character and its fine carved late-medieval roofs, and for its fine internal fittings including the outstanding group of C18 monuments and memorials.  

Cadw : Full Report for Listed Buildings [ Records 1 of 1 ]