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Church of St John

A Grade II Listed Building in Cefn-mawr, Wrexham

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Latitude: 52.9776 / 52°58'39"N

Longitude: -3.0679 / 3°4'4"W

OS Eastings: 328389

OS Northings: 342787

OS Grid: SJ283427

Mapcode National: GBR 72.JK80

Mapcode Global: WH785.VF84

Entry Name: Church of St John

Listing Date: 20 April 1998

Last Amended: 20 April 1998

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 19677

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: In a large churchyard towards the edge of the built-up area at Rhosymedre.

County: Wrexham

Town: Wrexham

Community: Cefn

Community: Cefn

Locality: Rhosymedre

Built-Up Area: Cefn-mawr

Traditional County: Denbighshire

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The church was built 1836-7, largely at the expense of Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn of Wynnstay, and designed by Edward Welch. Designated as a parish church in 1844. It was refitted in 1889 by W H Spaull of Oswestry. J C Edwards, proprietor of the Penybont Works in Cefn Mawr, a pioneer in the production of terracotta, contributed to this restoration, and is commemorated in a remarkable tile-work reredos in the church.


Parish church, designed in the thin Gothic idiom more usually associated with Parliamentary Commission-funded churches. Nave with west porch, transepts and short chancel with separately articulated sanctuary. Roughly coursed and squared rubble with continuous sill bands and moulded stone eaves cornice, gabletted pilaster-buttresses stressing angles, and surmounting pinnacles marking principal angles (of W wall, transept gables, and junction of chancel and sanctuary); coped gables to shallow pitched slate roofs. Western bellcote corbelled out with saddle-back roof and louvred openings. Y-traceried windows throughout, foiled in sanctuary, which also has 5-light intersecting traceried E window. Gabled west porch with lancet lights to either side of the pointed-arched doorway. Shallower gabled porch against S transept gable, with arched doorway between buttresses.


Simple 'preaching box' plan (originally with galleries to W and in transepts). Wide nave with shallow pitched roof. Plain, almost severe, interior relieved by later fittings. Fine traceried chancel screen with paired panels either side of wide entrance, and vine-scroll frieze, dated 1918. Similar panelled screen to N transept, which has panelled wood reredos and encaustic tiled floor. Cefn stone pulpit. The most remarkable and richest detail is provided by the tile-work to the sanctuary: richly coloured throughout, encaustic tiled panels with scroll-work detail alternate with, and form the spandrels to foiled arched panels containing embossed lilies, vines etc; the whole is surmounted by trailwork frieze and embossed fleurons to cornice. Behind altar, and forming the reredos, the tilework is stepped up with central arched panel containing lily motif, flanked by square panels with IHS emblems. There is a tile-work inscription panel recording that it is a memorial to J C Edwards, who 'assisted in the restoration of the church in 1888: the reredos was made and presented by members of this church, and the church of Saint Paul, Acrefair employed at the Trefynant Tileworks, in July 1906'. Encaustic tiled floor to chancel, and stained glass in E window, dated 1867, The Ascension, by Done and Davies of Carlisle. Stained glass in N window, 1902, a commemoration of Queen Victoria. Other fittings include two Commandment boards, 1885, to commemorate the first vicar of the church, and pulpit of 1914.

Reasons for Listing

A well-preserved, pre-archaeological gothic church, which is of special interest for the remarkable tiled reredos, a richly detailed work which is a rare example of its kind, using the products of a celebrated local industry.

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