17 | 11 | 2017

Corwen Church, North Wales, and Owen Glendower

The parish church of Corwen, North Wales has lately been restored, and also enlarged by the erection of a south lean-to aisle. Previously to the recent works the building was a barnlike structure, possessing scarcely any architectural character, although the main walls were in a good condition. The debased windows have been cut away, and new ones of a proper design inserted. The east end of the chancel had a triplet window of Early English date,—blocked up, however: this has been opened out. The old church possessed transepts, the south one being of no antiquarian interest whatever. The latter has been pulled down, and a lean-to aisle substituted for it, the north transept being still retained. Stone copings and carved crosses to all the gables replace the common slate verges of the old building. A stone arch has been corbelled out over the entrance to the chancel, which is not otherwise now constructionally divided from the nave. The exact position of the ancient rood-screen (not now existing) was discovered, and so supplied an authority for the length of the chancel, and the south chancel door, with its remarkable stone head, has been carefully preserved. The tradition is that Owen Glendower, from a neighbouring mountain height, violently threw his sword against the church, where its impression still exists. The nave and south transept roofs have been opened out and repaired where necessary. New wood brackets have been placed under some of the tie-beams. It was found necessary to put an entirely new roof to the chancel, with a polygonal-shaped panelled ceiling to it. The nave arcade, opening into the south aisle, is in four bays, with simple carved capitals of an early character. A fragment of the frieze of the old rood-screen has been utilised for the altar-rail, uprights and brackets being placed underneath it. The roofs are covered with the local slates, a simple serrated tile cresting serving to emphasize the chancel. The nave, aisle, and transept are paved with tiles. The sanctuary has been laid with rich encaustic tiles of Mr. W. Godwin of Lugwardine’s manufacture, according to the architect’s design. A reredos of brown alabaster and marble inlay has been placed over the altar, and is the gift of Archdeacon Ffoulkes. The chancel seats are of oak, with pierced fronts and shaped moulded bench-ends. The pulpit is of Bath stone, and has been given as a memorial to a relation. The emblems of the sacred Cross, Star of Bethlehem, Purity, Christian Hope, and the immortality of the soul, are introduced in the panels. The fragment of the rude old Norman font has been set upon a base of suitable character. The nave is seated with deal stained benches, having square panelled ends.

The carving to the church, the pulpit, and the reredos have been executed by Mr. J. Lewis Jaquet, of Vauxhall Bridge-road. Mr. W. E. Samuel, of Wrexham, was the contractor for the work, the total expense of which amounts to about £2,000. The architect is Mr. Ferrey, F.S.A. The restoration of the tower has been deferred to a future period.

The Builder, 1872

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