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Parish Church of St. Mary

A Grade II* Listed Building in Trefriw, Conwy

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.1521 / 53°9'7"N

Longitude: -3.8247 / 3°49'28"W

OS Eastings: 278075

OS Northings: 363221

OS Grid: SH780632

Mapcode National: GBR 63.5FD9

Mapcode Global: WH65X.61ZB

Entry Name: Parish Church of St. Mary

Listing Date: 13 October 1966

Last Amended: 30 May 1996

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3219

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Prominently sited in the town centre within a raised, rubble-walled churchyard; on sloping ground, the W end set into a hill.

County: Conwy

Community: Trefriw

Community: Trefriw

Built-Up Area: Trefriw

Traditional County: Caernarfonshire

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Trefriw

History

Traditionally said to have been built by Llywelyn Fawr c1230 adjacent to his palace to placate his consort Joanne, who found the long climb to Llanrhychwyn church tiring. Nothing of this date appears to survive and, if the story is true, the present building represents a late medieval rebuilding, perhaps following the destruction of the original in the Glyndwr revolt. The S aisle is of the early C15 and therefore supports this possibility. A N aisle was added probably in the early C16 and two blocked openings to its N wall are contemporary. The church was extensively restored in indifferent lancet style c1850 by Lord Willoughby De Eresby, owner of the Gwydir estate. As part of this phase a new porch and vestry were built and all the openings and dressings renewed.

Exterior

Small, double-aisled church of rubble with slated roofs and sandstone dressings. Leaded, simply-chamfered windows with plain labels, some partly shared between lights; shaped eaves corbelling and coped gable parapets with gablets above kneelers. Single-storey gabled porch with overlapping parapet coping and iron cross to apex. Pointed arch with chamfering and plain label and a similar inner arch with ribbed and boarded doors; flagged floor. 2 twin-light lancet windows to the R of the porch with simple Gothic buttress between; diagonal buttresses at corners. Triple-light window to E end as before with Celtic cross to gable apex; plain gable cross to W. Shallower-pitched roof to adjoining N aisle. Between the two, at the E end, a large octagonal pier with tapering crocketted finial. 3-stage gabled bellcote to E gable end with surmounting decorative iron cross. 2 lancets with trefoil oculus above to E wall and three 2-light windows as before to N side; diagonal and dividing buttresses at the corners and between the windows respectively. To the R of the eastern-most window, a blocked flat-arched window and, partly obscured by the western-most buttress, the original Tudor-arched N entrance, again blocked.

Stepped down and adjoining to the W, the narrower vestry. Construction as before with lancet window to N side and pointed-arched entrance to S side as before; partly-glazed contemporary boarded door. At the W gable apex, a plain chimney with triangular capping; slated verges to W.

Interior

S nave with early C15 4-bay roof. Of arched-braced collar truss type it includes end trusses and has two tiers of long, straight windbraces; chamfered detail to soffits and (contemporary) purlins. C19 pews of oak and pine with trefoil benchends. C19 Neo-Norman font on a stepped slate plinth with cylindrical basin, square base and top, the latter supported on 4 cable-moulded columns with simple capitals; chip-carved decoration. Wide, segmentally-arched splays to windows with figurative stained glass of c1880 and 1932. Gothick altar rails with pierced and cusped tracery. Flanking the E window, 2 plain oval mural plaques of marble, that to the L commemorating Thomas Jones, Rector (d. 1759) and family, and that to R to Jane Hughes of Gomanog (d. 1778).

The N and S aisles are separated by a C19 rendered arcade of four pointed arches; plain bases and abaci, chamfered detail. Early C16 4-bay arched-braced collar-truss roof as before, though with cusped, curved windbraces and stopped-chamfered detail to soffits and purlins; crenellated and moulded brattishing in two tiers above the wall plate on the N side. Pews as before and Gothick reading desk similar to the altar rails. Octagonal pulpit on base; a C19 composite piece of pine with re-used sections of mid C17 geometric panelling, carved angels, putti and grotesque consoles, probably originally from a domestic context. One panel has the carved date 1653; further sections of this are incorporated in the raised pews at the W end. These have Gothic gabled finials towards the S and are placed in front of a C19 organ with clustered pipes in a turret-like arrangement; crenellated mahogany sham-battlements. Figurative stained glass as before including ( N wall, centre), representations of Llywelyn Fawr and Princess Joan (of 1932). Plain vestry interior.

Reasons for Listing

Listed Grade II* as a prominently sited parish church of late-Medieval origin.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Tan-yr-Yw
    On the street line, opposite the church of St. Mary.
  • II Glan-y-Ddol
    On the street line, opposite the church of St. Mary and stepped-down and adjoining Tan-yr-Yw.
  • II Llys Llewelyn
    Prominently sited in the town centre just S of the church of St. Mary; set back slightly from the road behind a low garden wall with simple spear-headed gates and railings.
  • II Peniel Welsh Presbyterian Chapel
    Strikingly located in the centre of the town, set against the hillside above and to the SW of the parish church; raised up on a revetted and railed terrace with simple gates and gatepiers.
  • II Plas Coch
    On the street line in the town centre, just S of Llys Llewelyn and opposite the Trefriw Hall; set back slightly behind a low wall with simple C19 gates and iron railings.
  • II Trefriw Hall
    Set back from the main street in the town centre, partly obscured by later housing on the street-line in front.
  • II Pont Trefriw
    Road bridge in the town centre, spanning the Afon Crafnant.
  • II The Old Rectory
    Located towards the SE edge of the town; occupying a commanding hillside position S of the Afon Crafnant, close to the old Trefriw woollen mills.

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