Church of Saints Cyngar and Cynfarch, Hope

button-theme-slavesChurch of Saints Cyngar and Cynfarch, Hope

Drawing of Hope church in 18th centuryThis church is dedicated to two Celtic saints of the 5th and 6th centuries. The picture, courtesy of the National Library of Wales, was painted in the late 18th century for Thomas Pennant’s travel books.

The church was recorded in 1254 as Ecc’a de Estun. Estyn was the parish’s name. Later that century the church (possibly built of wood) was damaged in the conflict between King Edward I and Welsh princes.

Parts of the current church are thought to date from the 1280s. It was extended in the 14th century. A further extension was reputedly funded by Margaret Beaufort (d.1509), mother of King Henry VII.

The east window of 1730 includes pieces of glass from c.1500. The south wall features two millstones and two Norman coffin lids, discovered during the church’s 1880s renovation. Set into another wall is a stone Celtic cross from the 9th to 11th century, uncovered in 2000.

The tower, completed in 1568, was built in three stages, allowing the ground to settle under the weight of each new section. The current ring of six bells, from 1921, is dedicated to the local people who had served in the First World War. A small “priest’s bell” was added in 1966.

The church’s south aisle is the Trevor Chapel, with effigies of Sir John Trevor and wife Margaret. Sir John built Plas Teg Hall, Pontblyddyn, in 1610 and had been secretary to Charles Howard (Earl of Nottingham and cousin of Queen Elizabeth I).

One of Sir John’s descendants, Richard Dacre Trevor-Roper, is named on the church’s brass memorial to the local Second World War dead. Richard was the rear gunner in the lead plane, piloted by Guy Gibson, in the “dambusters” raid on German dams in 1943. He was killed on a bombing raid over Germany in March 1944.

Rev George Warrington was the vicar here from 1778 until his death in 1830. In 1768 he had married Mary Strudwick, who had inherited from her father the Pantre Pant sugar estate and its slaves in Trelawny, Jamaica. The Warringtons sold the estate, including more than 100 slaves, for £3,000 c.1790.

In 2019 the Church in Wales’ governing body recognised modern slavery as a crime against humanity, and St Asaph diocese designated as its charity of 2020 Haven of Light, which supports victims of modern slavery.

Sources include the Centre for the Study of Legacies of British Slave-ownership, Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust and Hope church website

Postcode: LL12 9NH View Location Map

Church website – service  times, detailed history and more