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Franciscan Friary

A Grade II* Listed Building in Whitford, Flintshire

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Latitude: 53.2745 / 53°16'28"N

Longitude: -3.2601 / 3°15'36"W

OS Eastings: 316067

OS Northings: 376019

OS Grid: SJ160760

Mapcode National: GBR 5ZNK.ZX

Mapcode Global: WH76J.WYRL

Plus Code: 9C5R7PFQ+QX

Entry Name: Franciscan Friary

Listing Date: 25 May 2001

Last Amended: 25 May 2001

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 25241

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Set back from the road in grounds and approached by driveways. The Church of St David adjoins to the R. A linking range to the L joins the friary with the guest house and includes the entrance to th

County: Flintshire

Town: Holywell

Community: Whitford (Chwitffordd)

Community: Whitford

Locality: Pantasaph

Traditional County: Flintshire

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A friary was established at Pantasaph in 1852 following the opening of St David's Church. St David's was started in 1849 as an establishment church, but became Roman Catholic on the conversion of the donors, Lord and Lady Fielding. They decided that they wanted a community of Franciscan friars of the Capuchin Reform, who at that time had no permanent base in Britain. The first monks lived at the Guest House, originally intended to be the vicarage, and the friary buildings were constructed from 1858-65, possibly to the designs of T H Wyatt, and under the influence of Father Seraphim of Bruges. The friary became the mother house for the Capuchin order in Britain. A wing was added to the E in 1899.


L-shaped range in Collegiate Gothic style with turret in angle. Two storeys with attics and basements. The church to the S forms the 3rd side of a courtyard which is open to the W. Constructed of snecked grey stone with sandstone dressings under steeply pitched slate roofs, with some fish-scale tiles. Detail includes gables over upper storey windows, a string course at 1st floor level, buttresses with offsets and raised stone copings to gables. Perpendicular-style tracery. The S front of the E-W range is articulated by 4 gables over the 1st floor windows, which are flat-headed with square hoodmoulds under relieving arches. The L window is 3-light, each light with a Tudor-arched head. The others have 2 similar lights flanking a blind panel. Some small-pane glazing is retained. Small pierced quatrefoils to gables. The lower storey is divided into 8 bays by tall angle buttresses. Each bay has a tall 2-light window under a segmental-pointed head with a transom and heavy cusping to the lights. Two-light openings to basement storey with flat heads. Diagonal buttress to SW angle of range. The wide gable end has windows as front to the lower storey, to the L and centre. To the R is a blank shield with tracery above in a square stone surround. To the 1st floor is a flat-headed 4-light window with cusping and a transom. Beneath is a frieze with 4 blank shields with a 5th centrally placed above the window. Two-light window to its L with flat head and transom. The attic is lit by a 2-light window under a flat head, the lights with cusped ogee heads. Small quatrefoils flanking window. Stone end stack with 3 diagonally-set shafts.

Two-stage tower in angle of ranges supporting a tall octagonal spirelet on stepped offsets. String course between stages and diagonal buttress to angle. Narrow trefoiled lights to W side at ground and 1st floor levels. Small cross-angle windows between tower and E-W range, that to the upper storey corbelled. In the S wall at 1st floor level is a statue within a trefoil-arched niche. Towards the top of the tower to the S and W sides are clocks, each within a square stone surround under a hoodmould. The octagonal spirelet has a louvre opening to each face with cusped ogee tracery. Pyramidal roof with lucarnes.

The adjoining N-S range faces W and the roof line steps down to the R. To the L at ground floor level are windows to the centre and R as E-W range, with a single light to the L in the same style. The string course continues. Above is a gable offset to the R over a 3-light 1st floor window. To its L is a small 2-light window beneath the eaves. Two skylights to roof pitch. Stone ridge stack. The lower part to the R is 3-window and has no string course. Central pointed-arched doorway with planked door, flanked by small 2-light windows, the lights with trefoiled heads, under segmental-pointed arches without hoodmoulds. Similar window above door, flanked by single lights. Gabled attic dormer to centre, also with 2-light window. Small ridge stack to R end.

The rear of the E-W range has 5 gables over the 1st floor windows (as front). Between the 3rd and 4th gables from the L is a lateral stack. To its L, the bays are further divided at ground floor level by tall angle buttresses. Each narrow bay has a tall flat-headed 2-light window with transom and hoodmould under a relieving arch. To the R of the stack are 2 identical windows but with no dividing buttress. A single-storey lean-to adjoins the R bay, which is part of the linking range. A metal fire-escape staircase rises over the lean-to to a late C20 door which replaces the R light of the 1st floor window.

The E gable end has small single lights to the 1st floor and an ornate 2-light window to the attic as W gable. Adjoining at ground floor level is a single-storey link to the addition of 1899 which has a 3-light window under a segmental-pointed head to the S. To the L of the gable end is the rear side of the N-S range with higher part to R and in the same style. This includes a gable offset to the L over a 1st floor window (as front), and to its R a 4-light window. Doorway below with Tudor-arched head and a 2-light flat-headed window to its R. Two skylights to roof pitch.

Additional range to E has been altered and is 2-storey with an attic clerestorey which may be a later addition. The 2 bays to the R have been rebuilt in red brick. The attic has 3-light uPVC windows. The 1st floor has corbelled lateral stacks, now truncated, and flat-headed 2-light windows. Sill band and angle buttress to L. The lower storey windows are closely spaced and 2-light under segmental-pointed heads with transoms. The rear side has a tall lateral stack offset to the R and truncated stacks to the L and centre. Four angle buttresses with offsets. Flat-headed windows to ground and 1st floors, irregularly set.


Partial access to interior. A corridor runs through the building from the W, towards the SE and into the church. It has quadripartite vaulting to the ceiling and a tile floor.

Reasons for Listing

Listed grade II* as a fine High Gothic friary, of considerable historic interest, and a rare example of this building type. Part of a group with the Church of St David and the guest house.

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