Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Parish and Collegiate Church of St Peter  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
Located off the N side of St Peter's Square, in the centre of Ruthin.  


Broad Class
Religious, Ritual and Funerary  

Collegiate parish church founded in 1310 by John de Grey, Marcher Lord of Ruthin. A community of Augustinian Bonhommes was based here, until the dissolution of the lesser monasteries in 1536. Originally the church consisted of a nave, chancel and crossing tower, the domestic accommodation to the N. In the later C14, a S aisle was constructed, resulting in the typical Denbighshire twin-nave plan. Fine panelled roofs, that to N chamber dated by its heraldic carvings to 1485-1508, that to S chamber probably C16. The chancel was destroyed in 1663. Some time later, the nave became the aisle, and a new nave and chancel were established in the former S aisle. C18 work included the reconstruction of the W walls on a slightly different alignment, and part of the E side of the tower. A vestry was added to the E, on the site of the original chancel, in 1824, but was demolished in 1859. Major restorations were undertaken in 1854-9 by R K Penson, including the addition of a spire to the tower, a S porch, insertion of new windows in late Geometrical style, and new dressings. Inside, the chancel was refurbished and the box pews and galleries removed.  

Church with 2 parallel chambers, containing nave and chancel to S range and aisle and organ chamber to N range; S porch, NE tower and spire. Part of the N side is of red sandstone, probably original. Elsewhere, mainly constructed of large blocks of coursed grey stone, including early C18 and early C19 fabric. Much remodelling and rebuilding as part of the 1859 restoration, either in coursed or snecked stone, and with renewed slate roofs. Contemporary red sandstone dressings, including moulded plinth, sill band, quoins and raised stone copings with kneelers bearing gablets. Many of the windows are also of 1859. South porch of snecked stone under steep gabled roof, with diagonal buttresses with offsets. Ogee-arched entrance with 2 orders of mouldings including attached filleted shafts with ringed capitals; hoodmould with flower bosses; double boarded doors with iron strapwork. Inside porch, entrance has pointed arch with filleted moulding; double doors with overlight, probably C20. South side of nave has C19 pointed-arched 3-light windows, the lights with cinquefoiled heads, one to L of porch and 4 to R; the hoodmoulds have end stops with heads, plumes and foliage. The W end is 2-span, of coursed grey masonry of the early C18, but the gables are rebuilt in snecked stone. Window to each gable end, the hoodmoulds with foliate end stops; that to R is 3-light with a sexfoil under the arch, possibly C14 but re-set. L-hand gable end has 4-light C19 window, and a roundel to gable apex. Large sandstone tablet fixed to wall immediately L of centre, with a figure in relief, now eroded. To E end, chancel window by Penson is 4-light, with reticulated tracery under the arch; the gable has been rebuilt in snecked stone. To the R, the original chancel was demolished, leaving the E crossing as the new external wall; a short stub wall running E may have been retained as a buttress. The E crossing arch has been rebuilt in red sandstone, probably in 1859, in Early English style. It has attached filleted shafts with foliated capitals, the hoodmould with head stops. The arch is blocked with snecked stone and a 2-light window. A further stub wall runs N from the NE angle, its purpose unknown. The N side of the church is abutted by the Old Cloisters at right-angles. To the L, the wall is of red sandstone blocks to the lower half, with a pointed doorway to far L, probably original, containing double boarded doors; a continuous hoodmould forms the sill to an early 2-light window to the R, in the angle with the Old Cloisters. It is of yellow sandstone, the tall lancets with trefoiled heads in plate tracery, under a square hoodmould; the lancets are blocked with stone. The upper part of the wall is of coursed grey stone and contains to R of centre, a large yellow sandstone 4-light Perpendicular window with 4-centred-arched head. To far R, beyond the Old Cloisters, is a 2-light C19 window. The tower and spire were rebuilt above the 1st stage in coursed pink sandstone as part of the 1859 restoration. The earlier lower stage has a small pointed lancet to E, and an arched bronze plate to S, probably a sun-dial. The upper stage is stepped in, with a large recessed panel with corbel table to each face, pierced by a 3-light Geometrical louvre under a hoodmould; an open ironwork clock is attached to the front of each louvre. Broached spire with lucarnes to each face, surmounted by a weather-vane  

Twin chambers separated by a Decorated 5-bay arcade of red sandstone; octagonal shafts with notches to the diagonal faces with scroll-moulded capitals, supporting pointed arches with 2 orders of chamfered mouldings; hoodmould with head bosses to the haunches. To E end of N aisle is former West crossing arch in Early English style, with attached filleted shafts with foliated capitals, supporting a pointed arch of 3 strong orders of mouldings under a hoodmould. It contains a boarded screen decorated with stained glass panels, containing a segmental arched door leading into a chamber, not seen. To the R of crossing arch, on S wall, is a piscina with trefoiled head. The church has exceptionally fine late-medieval wood-panelled roofs to both chambers: moulded cambered tie-beams on arched and corbelled wall posts; heavily moulded ribs with painted bosses. The 5-bay N aisle roof (formerly the nave) is highly ornate, the tie-beams with a trefoil frieze, the panels carved with traceried circles and badges. The current nave ceiling is 4-bay, the chancel of 4 narrower bays which were painted in 1965-6. The SW angle is canted and contains a blocked doorway with Tudor-arched head, moulded splayed surround, and decorative motifs (possibly heads) to the spandrels. At ceiling height is a moulded sandstone band or cornice. In the opposite corner of the nave is part of a stoup with cinquefoiled head, the rest blocked by the W wall, suggesting that the church was slightly longer originally. Chancel: the chancel to SE was formed in 1859: it has a flagged stone floor reached by one step. The wooden choir stalls have pierced decoration and are probably late C19-early C20. Moulded wooden altar rail on wooden posts with decorative braces. Altar table, said to be dated 1621, with turned baluster legs and guilloche frieze. Pale wood reredos, probably C20. To R of altar, fine sedilia, with 4-sided colonettes with foliate capitals supporting open ogee arches under pedimented stone canopies. Octagonal wooden pulpit to R front with blind traceried arches. Both chambers have a central aisle, with plain wooden seating. Furnishings: Towards the W end of the nave is an octagonal stone font with ornate blind tracery, the octagonal stem with blind lancets; large platform on a black & white mosaic floor. It is a memorial to Robert Humphrys Jones (d. 1858). The E end of the aisle contains a large painted pipe organ behind a wooden screen with pierced trefoiled arches and brattishing. Monuments: The church contains an exceptionally fine collection of monuments, including: N wall of aisle 2nd from L end, an inscribed Elizabethan brass bearing figures of a man and woman flanked by weepers, to Edward Goodman (d. 1560), father of Gabriel Goodman, and his wife; it is set within a cast iron border with decorative round arch. To the L is a large stone monument with moulded segmental-arched recess, to another member of the Goodman family (d. 1621). To the R is a large recessed arch containing a painting, a memorial to Donovan Griffith who died in World War I. To the centre of this wall is a monument with pinnacles containing a segmental-headed marble panel, to Harriet Myddelton of Chirk Castle (d. 1848). To its R is a 2nd brass to Edward Goodman (d. 1560). To the R of this is a large cartouche, with heraldry, to John Wynne (d. 1655) and his wife Martha (d.1694), of Nantclwyd House. Three monuments to N wall of chancel: To the R is a painted bust of a man in an arched recess, to Gabriel Goodman, Dean of Westminster (d. 1601). To centre, a large ornate marble monument in 2 halves divided by a twisted colonette, the outer Corinthian colonettes supporting an entablature with urn, foliage bands and coats of arms; attributed to Robert Wynne. The L panel is to Gabriel Goodman (d. 1673), a descendent of Gabriel Goodman, Dean of Westminster. The R panel is to Roger Mostyn of Brymbo (d. 1712), who married into the Goodman family. To the L is a tapering tablet, surmounted by an urn, containing a roundel with a kneeling weeper; by J H Foley, and dedicated to Joseph Ablett of Llanbedr Hall (d. 1848). Good monuments to E wall, mainly C18, that to L containing an urn in front of an obelisk, by Joseph Turner, and to Mary Hughes (d.1798). Behind the pulpit, a cast iron panel bearing a coat of arms flanked by the initials I P, a date of 1636 and a Latin inscription. Above the pulpit, a classical-style monument with volutes, cherub heads and heraldry, to John Wynne (d. 1725), and attributed to his brother, Robert Wynne. Stained glass: all the stained glass is C19. East window, by Wailes, 1855, showing life of Christ. To W of N aisle, 2 figures, probably including Christ, by James Powell & Sons, 1855, said to have been designed by Bouvier. R-hand window behind organ has 2 roundels towards centre, one showing a baptism. W end of nave depicts Crucifixion, to John Spier Hughes (d. 1868).  

Reason for designation
Listed grade I as a very rare example in Wales of a Collegiate parish church, retaining features of exceptional architectural interest, including a highly decorative late medieval roof of the Denbighshire type, and a good range of monuments. The church is at the centre of a fine parochial close with good historic landscape value.  

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