St Mary’s Church & Towyn war memorial
St Mary’s Church & war memorial, Towyn
This church was consecrated in 1873. It was a gift from Robert Bamford-Hesketh of Gwrych Castle (the prominent building on the wooded hillside west of Abergele). At the time, the parish had a population of just 453, compared with almost 10,000 today.
The design was by George Edmund Street, whose other buildings include the Royal Courts of Justice in London and the American Cathedral in Paris. Inside is a carved stone reredos (the screen behind the altar) by the sculptor Thomas Earp. It depicts the Crucifixion.
The fabric of the church was damaged by the major tidal flood which affected Towyn in 1990, and sharp-eyed visitors can still pick out signs of where the water settled for several days – for example in the stonework around the main doorframe. The entire floor of the nave had to be replaced, with tiles made specially to reproduce the original pattern. The flood destroyed the church hall, which had been built before the Second World War with £2,500 raised in the local community.
Church attendance was boosted in the Second World War when many servicemen occupied bungalows at Sandy Cove, with their families in some cases. Initially the soldiers went to Rhyl for Sunday worship but switched to St Mary’s after being told that the river Clwyd divided the parishes of Towyn and Rhyl.
The names of local men who died in the First and Second World Wars are inscribed on the memorial beside the church’s south wall. Follow the link below to read their details.
You can discover some of the interesting graves in the churchyard by clicking here.
With thanks to Lynda Griffiths, and to Alwyn Evans of Clwyd Family History Society
Postcode: LL22 9ER