History in Structure

St Deiniol's Library

A Grade I Listed Building in Hawarden, Flintshire

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Latitude: 53.1859 / 53°11'9"N

Longitude: -3.0273 / 3°1'38"W

OS Eastings: 331451

OS Northings: 365919

OS Grid: SJ314659

Mapcode National: GBR 74.394Y

Mapcode Global: WH88C.G5NX

Plus Code: 9C5R5XPF+93

Entry Name: St Deiniol's Library

Listing Date: 16 November 1994

Last Amended: 16 November 1994

Grade: I

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 15025

Building Class: Education

Also known as: Llyfrgell Gladstone

ID on this website: 300015025

Location: Set back from the road in its own walled grounds.

County: Flintshire

Community: Hawarden (Penarlâg)

Community: Hawarden

Built-Up Area: Sandycroft

Traditional County: Flintshire

Tagged with: Library Charitable organisation Library building Writing residency

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The library was founded by W.E. Gladstone in 1890 as a centre for Christian learning and as a place for study. A trust was established and some 25,000 of his own books were donated and lodged initially in a temporary building on the present site. Following his death in 1898 the present library wing was built as part of the National Gladstone Memorial, the trust voting £10,000 and Gladstone's estate providing £40,000 towards building costs. It was designed by Douglas and Minshull of Chester and was erected between 1899 and 1902. A further, accommodation wing was added 1904-6, also by Douglas and Minshull, and paid for by the Gladstone family.


Roughly H-plan and conceived as Jacobethan in design and as late Perpendicular in detail. Of red sandstone under a medium-pitched slate roof. Roughly symmetrical 2-storey S (main) front with central storeyed porch. To the L of this, with a gabled cross-wing, is the library. To the R with balancing cross-wing is the residential addition. The porch is coped and gabled with ball finial. Canopied nich to first floor with a sculpted, life-size statue of the Virgin within. Flanking 2-light mullioned windows with arched heads. Continuous moulded pointed entrance arch with recessed double wooden doors with decorative ironwork. Flanking buttress with gablets and moulded bases.

Library Range: 4 bays with dividing ground-floor buttresses, rising as applied shafts to end as crocketted finials above a crennelated parapet. 6-light cross windows to ground floor with leaded cames and paired, 2-light mullioned windows with arched lights above. Cross-wing to L with large coped and ball-finialled gable and octagonal corner turrets with ogee caps and crocketted finials. At first floor, a central niche with figure as before flanked by tall, 9-light oriel windows resting on plain, flat buttresses and with crenellated parapets. Tracery to upper lights. Small slit-window in gable apex with returned label. Ground floor with central 3-light mullioned window and then flanking 1 and 2-light windows, mostly with arched heads, and with a continuous label course. Gabled dormers, coped and finialed, to E and W faces of range. Single-storey extruded bay at intersection with main block. with crenellated parapet. Central louvre with ogee lead cupola and weathervane. Near symmetrical W facade with gabled and canted bays flanking a storeyed porch with attached octagonal stair-turret to L. Detailing as before.

Residential Wing (R of porch): 4 bays with simplified detailing. R bay extruded at angle with cross-wing, and with an entrance to its W face. 3-light mullioned windows, arched-headed, to first floor. 2 and 4-light windows to extruded bay, with angle buttress to S face. Plain coped parapet. Gabled cross-wing with projecting end chimney and flanking buttresses. 2, 3 and 6-light mullioned windows as before. Large canted and finialed ground-floor bay to W face with 3x9-light cross windows, and a similar bay to the rear (N) elevation.

Uneventful brick extension to the E with simple mullioned windows and a flat roof. L-shaped single-storey modern extension to the W of the Library range.


The Library is a 5-bay open hall with complex roof open to the collar and with arcade posts, giving the effect of an aisled hall, though actually supporting a gallery which runs along the E and W sides. Octagonal oak columns with ogee balustrading. The fascia of the gallery is enriched with complex tracery and foliate forms. The adjoining Divinity Library is a smaller and simpler version of this, though it contains simple stalls by H.S. Goodhart-Rendel.

Reasons for Listing

An important work by John Douglas and his only major public commission. Listed Grade I for the national importance of its historical associations with W.E. Gladstone, whose foundation the library was.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

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