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Rug Chapel

A Grade I Listed Building in Corwen, Denbighshire

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Latitude: 52.9842 / 52°59'3"N

Longitude: -3.3942 / 3°23'39"W

OS Eastings: 306497

OS Northings: 343892

OS Grid: SJ064438

Mapcode National: GBR 6N.J405

Mapcode Global: WH780.T8X3

Plus Code: 9C4RXJM4+M8

Entry Name: Rug Chapel

Listing Date: 20 October 1966

Last Amended: 1 February 1995

Grade: I

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 671

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

County: Denbighshire

Community: Corwen

Community: Corwen

Locality: Rug

Traditional County: Merionethshire

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The chapel was built in 1637 as a private chapel by Colonel William Salesbury of Rug. Originally served by its own curate, its chaplaincy was later held by the vicars of Corwen, and although it was never formally consecrated, neither was it used solely as a private chapel. Sir Robert Vaughan, whose family held the lordship from the late C18, restored the chapel in 1854-55. It was placed in state guardianship in 1974.


Undivided nave and chancel. Coursed and squared stone with slate roof. The exterior detail is almost entirely the result of the 1854-55 restoration. Western entrance in double-chamfered arch with hood mould. Broad lancet window above the doorway, and bellcote on the gable. Simplified Perpendicular tracery in 2-light arched windows to N and S, and in 3-light E window. Vestry added to NE.


The original interior of 1637 survives almost intact. Hammerbeam trusses alternate with simpler braced collar beam trusses, but all have cusped decoration in the panels formed by the upper raking struts, and support moulded purlins with moulded rafters. The principal rafters are richly painted with vinescroll and roses, and there are carved and coloured bosses. Cut-out coloured wooden angels carved in relief project from the bases of the hammerbeam trusses, and the panels formed by the moulded rafters and purlins are painted with flowing cloud-like forms. These panels are further enriched by stars and angels over the chancel. There is a rich low-relief wood frieze with stylized fruit, flowers and beasts running below the wall plate the length of the N and S walls. Original wooden chandelier hangs from the central truss. W gallery has turned balusters with low relief strapwork decoration to base and rail, all coloured. The panelled supports to the staircase in the NW angle are also richly coloured. Coloured dado panelling to nave. The benches are largely C17, although they were given backs in the C19 restoration. They are joined together at their bases by a scallopped plinth which is richly carved with beasts and birds. The screen which divides the chancel from the nave dates from the restoration of 1854-5, but was designed in a Neo-Jacobean style, and has been coloured in similar fashion to the original woodwork. The altar is flanked by canopied pews on either side. C17 communion rails not in situ, and possibly not original to Rug. Towards the NE of the nave is a C17 wall-painting in which Corinthian pilasters from a panel within which a smaller panel flanked by Ionic pilasters displays the emblems of death, with apposite inscriptions in Latin and Welsh.

Reasons for Listing

The chapel is a very rare surviving example of a rich C17 high church interior of outstanding quality.

Scheduled Ancient Monument, Ref. Me 89.

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