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Latitude: 53.2726 / 53°16'21"N
Longitude: -3.7056 / 3°42'20"W
OS Eastings: 286356
OS Northings: 376428
OS Grid: SH863764
Mapcode National: GBR 2ZKL.JK
Mapcode Global: WH65D.10PG
Entry Name: Parish Church of St Elian
Listing Date: 30 January 1968
Last Amended: 2 July 1998
Source ID: 177
Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Location: Situated within a raised rubble-walled churchyard on a commanding site in the village centre, with views of the sea to the N.
Community: Betws yn Rhos
Community: Betws Yn Rhos
Traditional County: Denbighshire
Medieval twin-aisled parish church, mentioned as the 'Ecclesia de Bodwelennyn' in the Lincoln Taxatio of 1291, though clearly on an earlier site. The earliest section appears to be the western part of the N chamber; this was extended eastwards and the S aisle added in the later medieval period and certainly by around 1500 it had reached its present scale and plan-form. The church was sparingly restored in 1859, with a later restoration of 1903.
Twin-aisled medieval parish church of rubble construction retaining some external render to the N side. The church has medieval sandstone and C19 limestone dressings and slate roofs with C19 kneelered and slab-coped gable parapets; these with gable crosses. Large gabled S porch with round-arched entrance and deeply-recessed C20 multi-panel doors. To the R of the porch is a 2-light leaded window with chamfered reveals and C19 cusped, pointed-arched heads; beyond this are 2 further, 3-light windows with similar heads. The N side has a further 3-light window to the L, as before, with a modern raking buttress to its R. Beyond this is a large 4-light early C16 window with replaced (C19) chamfered sandstone mullions; round-arched heads to the lights, with contemporary moulded and returned label, the returns with weathered head carvings. To the R of this window is a masonry break with the remainder of the N wall slightly advanced from this point. To the L of this section is a blocked Tudor-arched entrance with cyclopean lintel, of late C15 or early C16 date. To the far R is a 2-light window as before. The W gable of the N chamber has a further blocked cyclopean entrance, this one with a pointed arch. Its gable has a plain bellcote, itself gabled and with surmounting cross; segmental bell opening. The W gable of the S chamber has a further 2-light window with cusped heads.
The NE corner has a small diagonal buttress. The N chamber has a large late C15 4-light E window with pointed-arched heads and flat returned label; C19 replacement mullions. The southern E window is a near-contemporary Tudor-arched, 3-light window with returned label and carved head stops; multiple-cusped heads to the lights, with renewed mullions as before.
Stone-flagged floor to porch with 2-bay late C15 or early C16 arched-braced collar truss roof; 2 tiers of windbraces. The inner entrance is late medieval and has a pointed-arched cyclopean lintel.
Twin-aisled interior with N and S chambers roughly of equal size. Both have 8-bay roofs with good late C15 arched-braced collar trusses, with chamfered purlins and principals, 2 tiers of cusped windbraces and (unusually) a high proportion of original rafters. The trusses are supported on the arcade wall on both sides on stone and curved oak corbels. The eastern-most bays of each chamber retain their original rough boarded wagon vaults. That to the S chamber, above the chancel, has residual late C15 painted decoration on its soffit depicting various biblical narrative scenes (probably the Joys of the Virgin) flanking a large foliated IHS monogram; text bands in black letter Gothic. The N wagon vault has a moulded central rib with plain radiating ribs forming a sexpartite division. These ribs, together with rosette bosses are C19 additions and the whole has modern polychromy and gilding. On the N side is an original brattished wall plate with blind arcading and crenellations; on the S side is a relocated carved guilloche frieze, of the first quarter C17. Late medieval 5-bay nave arcade with simple chamfered pointed arches rising from capital-less octagonal piers; square bases. Tiled and parquet floors to both chambers with simple early C20 oak pews. Tooled limestone font, perhaps C17, with octagonal basin and blind quatrefoil decoration; octagonal base, pinched to the centre, with broach stopped detail, on a 2-stage square base. Close to this, at the W end, is a primitive and early circular stone font basin. At the W end of the N chamber is a mid C19 parclose screen of pitch pine, in early English style; this defines a small vestry space with angled return section to the S. Open pointed-arched, cusped tracery arcade above a plain panelled dado with decorative cusping to the stiles and rails. The S door has a plain modern inner porch. Square C19 oak pulpit with blind decorative tracery to the front and side.
The oak dado section of the original C15 rood screen survives in situ and has a moulded dado beam and N and S entrance reveals. Primitive decorative vents punctuate the screen at several points and there is some early graffiti. The chancel is stepped up with plain tiled floor and small-field dado panelling to the walls. This is mostly C17 and early C18 and is presumably made up of re-set box pew sections; one panel has the date 1722 and the carved initials PRM, most are raised and fielded. Stepped-up sanctuary in 2 stages with black and white marble quarry pavement. Plain foliated wrought iron supports to simple C19 altar rails. Retable carving of the Last Supper in oak, by General James Yorke (of Plas Newydd, Llangollen), signed and dated 1873. The N chamber has a large, plain organ towards its E end, with panelled oak case; by Peter Conacher and Co of Huddersfield, late C19.
Monuments: On the N wall of the N aisle are 9 late C15 painted panels from the former Rood loft. These depict scenes from the Last Judgement and the Conversion of St. Hubert (or St. Eustace), and are stylistically compatible with the chancel vault paintings; they are contained within a carved frame of 1874 with a painted inscription recording their provenance. On the same wall is a memorial tablet of figured white and grey marble to the Hollands of Teyrdan, with dates of 1717, 1727 and 1743; erection date 1734. This has an architectural surround with panelled pilasters flanking a central inscription tablet and a moulded pediment with winged putto-head carving to the centre; foliated and gadrooned boss to shaped apron. On the chancel E wall is a white marble pedimented tablet on a grey marble base to the Rev David Price d.1794. This has a pediment with winged putto head and foliate decoration to a shaped apron. To the R of the altar is a further memorial tablet to the Hollands of Teyrdan, commemorating John (d.1786) and Anne Holland (d.1794); by Benjamin Bromfield. White marble pedimented tablet on a grey marble base with tall extended obelisk; the pediment has scrolled ends and is surmounted by a swagged flaming urn, plain segmental apron. On the S wall of the chancel is a primitive incised stone plaque to Lowry Jones, heiress of Tan-y-Dderwen Fawr, d.1704; guilloche-carved border. On the same wall is a C19 tripartite commandments board with painted (Welsh) letters. Immediately E of the S door is a good C18 benefactors' board, framed with shaped, finialled top and with painted and gilded decoration; it is dated 1735.
Glass: C19 yellow-stain quarry glass with painted monograms and fleurs-de-lis motifs to nave windows. The chancel E window has good figurative stained glass depicting the crucifixion and commemorating John Lloyd Wynne of Coed Coch and Teyrdan (d.1862); the N chamber E window has glass depicting the 4 Evangelists in commemoration of Mary Holland, wife of the aforementioned (d.1844); both windows are by Ballantine and Son, 1862.
Listed Grade II* for its special interest as a medieval parish church retaining good external and interior character, and for its scarce late Medieval painted decoration.
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