Wrexham – St Giles’ Church

History

   The original church in Wrexham was erected in the twelfth or early thirteenth century. The first record of it comes from 1220, when the bishop of St Asaph gave the monks of Valle Crucis half of its income. In 1247, prince of Powys, Madog ap Gruffydd, bestowed monks of Valle Crucis with the patronage of the Wrexham church. As a result, the abbey received the vicar’s tithe, which further increased the wealth of Valle Crucis. In 1330, the church had to be rebuilt because of the damages caused to its tower during the storm. The present appearance temple owes to another reconstruction from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, probably financed by Lady Margaret Beaufort, the mother of king Henry VII. Its beginning was caused by the fire that struck the church in 1463. First, the side aisles were built, around 1500 a chancel was added, and the tower was completed in 1524-1525.

Architecture

   The late-Gothic church was formed from a three-aisle, rectangular nave in the form of a basilica, to which a three-side ended chancel was attached to the east. The central nave, dating back to the fourteenth century, with inter-nave arcades built in the style of English Decorated Gothic, gained seven bays, while the side aisles were shorter by one bay, due to the separation of entrance porches in the western part. The side aisles and the presbytery were already erected in the Parpendicular Gothic style.
   On the west side of the nave, there was a four-sided tower added, also built in the Parpendicular Gothic style. It gained over 41 meters high, richly decorated facades and top with four corner turrets. The entire tower was distinguished by incredible splendor with many blendes, pinnacles, friezes and medieval carvings, including an arrow and a deer, attributes of Saint Giles.
   The interior of the nave was covered with a 16th-century wooden roof truss, supported on stone corbels placed between the windows of the clerestory. Each corbel was decorated with a coat of arms. The 15th / 16th-century polychrome on the Day of the Last Judgment (doom painting) was placed on the chancel arch.

Current state

   St. Giles’ church in Wrexham is today one of the largest and greatest parish churches in Wales. It impresses with the splendor of the late-Gothic decorations and elaborate ornaments, especially on the façades of the tower. What’s more, inside, it has preserved the late-medieval roof truss and fragments of polychromes. The early modern transformations of the nineteenth century were limited to the porch of the southern aisle.

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bibliography:
Salter M., The old parish churches of North Wales, Malvern 1993.

Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.
Website stgilesparishchurchwrexham.org.uk, A Brief Guide to St Giles’ Parish Church Wrexham.
Website wikipedia.org, St Giles’ Church, Wrexham.