Parish church, St Asaph

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Link to French translationParish church, St Asaph

It’s said that this church was founded by Kentigern c.560AD. From the mid-12th century the church was dedicated also to St Asa (whose name was later modified as Asaph).

Tax records from 1254 record the church’s existence. The earliest surviving parts date from the same century, but the church was rebuilt on the earlier foundations in 1524. The church’s size was soon doubled, with the addition of the north nave later that century. Both naves boast 16th-century hammerbeam roofs. This technique used stub beams, cantilevered from the upper walls, to support a higher beam, enabling a wider space to be roofed without intermediate supporting pillars.

Further changes were made in the 17th century, including a new porch to replace one that collapsed during a storm. Architect Sir George Gilbert Scott oversaw restoration in 1872 and added the current porch, bellcote and vestry.

In the churchyard is an ancient sundial. Some have suggested it dates from the 16th century, but Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust believes that’s unlikely.

The wandering polyglot Dic Aberdaron was buried in the churchyard in 1843. Other tomb slabs were moved to the perimeter and pathsides when the yard was tidied. One slab was for the grave of the bard Sion Tudur, of Wigfair, near St Asaph. At one time he was a bodyguard to Queen Elizabeth I. His wife was daughter of Pyrs Gruffudd, King Henry VIII’s serjeant-at-arms. He was classed as an apprentice chief bard at the eisteddfod in Caerwys, Flintshire, in 1568, an event commissioned by Queen Elizabeth. He was buried here shortly after his death in April 1602.

With thanks to Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust

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