St Giles' Church, Wrexham
St Giles' Church
A church has stood on this site since the 11th century. The present church was built in the 15th and 16th centuries, probably financed by Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII. Look out for the Tudor rose and portcullis, inside and outside the building. The tower, one of the “Seven Wonders of Wales”, was completed in 1524-25.
At the beginning of the 18th century, the church recieved a number of gifts from Elihu Yale of Plas Grono (1649-1721), the benefactor of Yale University. His tomb is in the churchyard, near the west door. Also buried in the churchyard are Sir Roger Palmer (1832–1910 ) of Cefn Park, a survivor of the Charge of the Light Brigade, and painter John Downman RA (1750–1824).
The gates to the churchyard were made by local smith Robert Davies of Croesfoel. They were originally erected in 1720, and moved to their present position in 1820. Look at the words written above the gates on the open books.
Entering the church, you can see the Royal Arms of Queen Anne. Above you are the arcades of arches. One, from the 14th century, shows a mermaid combing her hair. The wooden roof dates from the 16th century and is adorned with 16 angels playing musical instruments. At the east end there is the small red face of the devil.
Over the arch of the east wall is a 16th-century wall painting of the Day of Judgement. Although the head and shoulders of Christ are missing, the figures of the Virgin Mary, St John and figures entering the gates of Heaven are clearly visible.
The brass eagle lectern is one of only a few surviving from before the Reformation. The pulpit is decorated with figures of Christ and the four evangelists, and dates from the 1867 restoration of St Giles’ Church.
The north aisle is now the Royal Welch Fusiliers Memorial Chapel and the Wrexham War Memorial Chapel (memorial details are here). There is a stained-glass window designed by Joseph Nuttgens showing men of the RWF in their historic uniforms.
Other items of note include the memorial to Mary Myddleton, daughter of Sir Richard Myddleton of Chirk Castle, and the oldest effigy in St Giles’ Church, that of a Welsh knight holding a sword and shield.
With thanks to the Rev Kate Tiltman
Postcode: LL13 8LY