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Parish Church of St Thomas

A Grade II* Listed Building in Rhyl, Denbighshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.3213 / 53°19'16"N

Longitude: -3.4876 / 3°29'15"W

OS Eastings: 301009

OS Northings: 381514

OS Grid: SJ010815

Mapcode National: GBR 4Z21.R4

Mapcode Global: WH653.DSH6

Entry Name: Parish Church of St Thomas

Listing Date: 21 June 1949

Last Amended: 14 February 1994

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 1422

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Prominently sited on the corner with Bath Street.

County: Denbighshire

Community: Rhyl (Y Rhyl)

Community: Rhyl

Built-Up Area: Rhyl

Traditional County: Flintshire

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Rhyl

History

The parish church of the Holy Trinity was perceived to be inadequate to the need of a growing holiday resort by 1857, and George Gilbert Scott was appointed as architect for a new church building. His plan was drawn up in 1860 and the church was finished in 1867, although the spire was not completed until 1875. Fittings were not installed immediately, but were probably part of the original design - the pulpit, reredos and choir stalls were designed by the architect.

Exterior

Roughly squared random white Cefn rubble, with gold limestone ashlar dressings and slate roof. Nave with lean-to aisles, chancel, and tower with spire off-set to NE over vestry. Shafts and gablets to buttresses to west, flanking the west aisle windows which have plate tracery. Gabled west porch with paired foliate shafts to deeply moulded arch, its gable cutting into 4-light west window, plate traceried with paired 2-light lancets with trefoils and central 8-foiled rose window, all set in arches recess. Paired lancets to 5-bay aisles, with rose windows in clerestory, set in recesses with shafts between pilaster buttresses. Small corridor to SE linked to gabled vestry added by John Oldrid Scott in 1910. N aisle has heavy gabled porch with clustered shafts to arch with text in outer line. Beyond nave, the tower it linked to the aisle by a 2-storeyed gabled porch block with shafts to moulded arched doorway and 2-light plate traceried window. 3-stage tower, massively detailed. Stair turret forms NW angle buttress terminating in squat octagonal spire. Paired and triple lancet windows in N and E faces, and paired bell chamber lights with shafts to moulded arches. Corbel table with gargoyles at angles. Shingled brooch spire with square base which has crockettedgabled on each face, carrying open-work cast-iron clock faces. Arcading in lower stage to N and E of tower. Plate tracery to chancel E window, in recess with shafts.

Interior

Nave arcade of 5 bays, the marble octagonal piers have heavy foliate capitals carrying unchamfered stepped arches. The clerestory is articulated by marble shafts carried on stone corbels interrupted by a continuos sill band. Foliate corbels carry the wall posts of the roof trusses. Clerestory has triple arches arcade in each bay, with rose window set in central arch, the outer arches now painted and studded with gilded fleurs de lys. The roof id divided into 2 bays for each bay of the nave, and braced collar trusses carry short king posts. Cusped wind breaches to lower purlins. Decorated wrought iron ties with posts linked to main timber collar. Triple banded shafts with heavy foliate capitals to chancel arch.

Furnishings: Font on dais at west end of nave, a shallow basin carried on stumpy base with stiff leaf capitals and side shafts of marble with white stone stiff leaf capitals. Alabaster and Caen stone pulpit, with marble dressings including green marble shafts with fern-leaf capitals, heavily undercut; marble upper section divided by red shafts, with white panels studded with agate; shamrock capitals and frieze; bars rail to curving stair. Marble steps to chancel and sanctuary, with encaustic tiled texts in risers. Barrel vaulted timber roof with scissor braces to close-set rafters. Polished granite shafts to chancel E window. Open traceried choir stalls. Early-English style wall arcading to sanctuary, inter-laced to E wall, with marble shafts, and with foliate panelling against the wall surface. Marble and painted some reredos representing the crucifixion with flanking angels, added in 1891. Organ set behind arch to N, and arcade of 2 bays with clustered polished granite shafts to lady chapel to S.

Stained glass. Mainly by Ward and Hughes, the windows represent a clear series showing the development of their style over the late C19-early C20: the earliest appear to be those in the lady chapel (with commemoration dates of 1860 and 1867) and in the chancel E window: these are all in a neo-medieval style, as are the eastern-most windows of the S aisle, with commemoration dates of 1869, 1872 and 1875. Similar style to N aisle windows with dates of 1866, 1868 and 1872. Western windows are more purely pictorial (dated 1869 and 1878 and 1890), but SW windows of this aisle, dated 1889 and 1905, are in a renaissance style suggesting the influence of Kempe.

Reasons for Listing

The church is a fine example of high Victorian gothic, and a prominent feature of the townscape.

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