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Flintshire Churches Survey

Church of St Mary , Nannerch

Nannerch Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Nannerch in the county of Flintshire. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ1667069675.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16915 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Nannerch Church, CPAT copyright photo 95C0167.JPG

Summary

St Mary's church at the northern end of the village of Nannerch is a Victorian structure occupying a site which almost certainly had its origins in the early medieval era. Inside are a few fragments of medieval glass and a Grinling Gibbons monument of 1694. It is set within what was a sub-oval churchyard enclosure surrounded by yew trees.

The present church constructed in 1852-3 in Early English style. Nothing of the earlier building remains.

Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1986 publication The Buildings of Wales: Clwyd by Edward Hubbard

History

The Norwich Taxation of 1254 refers to 'Ecca de Nannerth' at a value of 5 and the Lincoln Taxation to 'Ecclesia de Nannerch' at 4 13s 4d.

Glynne visited the church, prior to the rebuilding in 1853. This consisted of a single chamber a bell-turret over the west end. There was a south porch and a west gallery with external access via wooden stairs on the south side. The east window was Perpendicular, and the other windows were square-headed and late. The chancel had a coved ceiling with a cornice of vine leaves. The whole interior was 'clogged with whitewash'. On the south side of the chancel was a slab bearing the effigy of a woman beneath a crocketed canopy, and an inscription which was illegible. The memorial to Charlotte Digby was also mentioned.

This building was taken down in 1852, and the present church was constructed in Early English style to the design of T. H. Wyatt, and consecrated in 1853. The cost was 1314.

Architecture

Nannerch church consists of a nave and slightly narrower chancel with a south tower surmounted by a broach spire, the base of the tower forming the entrance porch. There is also a vestry on the south side of the chancel. It is oriented slightly south of west, but 'ecclesiastical east' is used here for descriptive purposes.

Fabric: 'A' is of small to medium blocks of uncoursed limestone with buff-yellow sandstone consistently used for all dressings.

Roofs:- slate tiles, play grey clay ridge tiles. Stone finial to the chancel.

Drainage:- 19thC cast iron guttering and downspouts lead to soakaways. No obvious drainage tench around the church.

The following summary description reflects the fact that this is wholly a 19thC building.

Exterior

Tower - General. Two-stage tower surmounted by slated broach spire with weathervane, adjoins south side of nave. A double plinth capped by chamfered sandstone at c.0.7m above ground level. Above a stepped and chamfered string course the belfry stage of the tower is inset, and there is a further string course above the belfry windows. Stepped clasping buttresses at the south-east and south-west corners.

North wall:- nothing except for the belfry window which is presumed to have a pair of trefoil-headed louvred lights with linked hoodmould, though difficult to see from any vantage point.

East wall:- a single trefoil-headed light in the first stage and a standard belfry window.

South wall:- the entrance to the porch beneath the tower has a two-centred arch with a hoodmould, chamfered dressings with broach stops to the jambs, and contains a pair of wooden entrance gates. Above is a single trefoil-headed light and a standard belfry window.

West wall:- a quatrefoil to the porch, then a trefoil-headed light and above this a standard belfry window.

Boiler house: abuts south wall of nave on east side of the tower. A modern construction in limestone with felt roof.

Nave - General. The nave and chancel have a continuous plinth c.0.5m above ground level, except on the north side.

North wall:- four windows in two bays separated by three straight buttresses; alternating single and paired trefoil-headed lights with quatrefoil tracery lights above the double lights.

South wall:- a single trefoil-headed light to west side of tower. Two paired trefoil-headed lights with quatrefoil tracery lights to east side of tower.

West wall:- tall trefoil-headed lights to either side of a central buttress with a hexafoil light in the gable above. Also a string course, 1.7m above ground level but below the windows, on this wall only.

Chancel - General. Narrower than nave, but plinthed as the nave at 0.5m, and at the base of the east wall a concrete plinth at c.0.1m which runs the south side but not the north.

North wall:- two single trefoil-headed lights, of standard form but shorter than those in the nave. Straight buttress at the north-east corner.

East wall:- two-centred arch over three trefoil-headed lights with three cinquefoil lights above, and a hoodmould with block stops. Also a slate tablet set in the wall to J Mather (d.1961) below the window.

South wall:- single lancet with hoodmould and block stops. Straight buttress at the south-east corner.

Vestry - General. Abuts the south wall at chancel end. Two courses of small blocks of limestone capped by chamfered sandstone form a basal plinth visible but only where the ground level is low; above this another plinth topped by chamfered sandstone. Chimney at gable.

East wall:- two small trefoil-headed lights.

South wall:- two small chamfered, trefoiled, two-centred windows.

West wall:- doorway with chamfered, two-centred arch and pyramid stops to the chamfers.

Interior

Porch - General. A stone flagged floor, and all the stonework of the walls exposed. Boarded ceiling with joists to belfry.

North wall:- contains two-centred arch with a hoodmould terminating in simple block stops. Also, above the door, an iron tablet from 1853 commemorates the rebuilding of the church.

East wall:- free-standing bench along east side.

West wall:- window only.

Nave - General. Stone flagged floor, worn near the south door; carpetted central aisle separates two rows of benches on raised plank floor. All walls plastered and painted with a dado on both the north and south walls. Roof of four bays with three arch-braced collar trusses springing from stone corbels; rafters and purlins with boarded ceiling.

North wall:- one 20thC brass.

East wall:- two-centred chancel arch of two orders, the inner emerging from the wall, the outer with pyramid stops to the chamfers. Above the arch is a painted text from the 19thC. North of the arch is a 19thC brass, and one of the 20thC to the south of the arch.

South wall:- one 20thC and two 19thC brasses.

West wall:- monuments of 1694 and 1808/1825. The former, the Mostyn memorial, is plinthed up on an earlier slab, probably earlier 17thC.

Chancel - General. One step up from the nave and two to the sanctuary. Tiled floor and some encaustic tiles. There is a boarded, ribbed ceiling with carved bosses and ribbed wall plates. Over the sanctuary are panels painted with flower heads and other symbols - six main panels and twelve smaller ones, Also at the bases of the wall plates are inscriptions but only in the sanctuary.

North wall:- three 20thC brasses, and a memorial of 1824.

East wall:- 20thC brass.

South wall:- two-centred arch under which is the organ. A broad arch to the vestry and also a wooden cross which is a WWI memorial

Vestry - General. Enclosed by a panelled screen and with a step down from the chancel.

Churchyard

The original raised sub-oval enclosure has been extended on the east. Well-maintained.

Boundary:- stone wall on all sides, acting partly as a revetment wall.

Monuments:- a mix of 18thC to 20thC monuments, with a large number of chest tombs on all sides. It has been claimed that a 1600s grave slab was recently discovered commemorating a member of the Penbedw family, but the earliest monuments seen were chest tombs of 1764 and 1784 to the south of the church. Other slabs, probably of 18thC date, are too illegible to read. There has been some clearance of monuments near the west gate where grave markers have been stacked.

Ancillary features:- main entrance is through a pair of iron gates set on concrete gate posts in the west wall. A bier house adjoins the exterior. Stone stiles consisting of upright slabs at the ends of an east to west path along the northern perimeter.

Earthworks:- the churchyard is raised by around 0.6m on the south-west, nearly 1m on the south, and about 0.3-0.4m on the west and north. The original curvilinear enclosure can be detected on the south where it is followed by the present boundary and on the north-west and north-east where low scarp banks survive inside the present perimeter.

Vegetation:- encircled by yew trees, the oldest ones on the south side of considerable age where there are also some firs and an oak. More recent yews and firs on north side. Gravel paths.

Sources consulted

Church notes
CPAT Field Visits: 7 November 1996 and 27 July 1998
CPAT SMR
Faculty: St Asaph (NLW) 1869: additional burial ground
Faculty: St Asaph (NLW) 1916: additional burial ground
Flintshire Record Office: Parish Records D/E/3216
Glynne 1884, 184
Hubbard 1986, 402
Quinquennial Report 1988
RCAHMW 1912, 71
Thomas 1911, 418
Click here to view full project bibliography

Please note that many rural churches are closed to the public at certain times. It is advisable to check when the church will be open before visiting. Information about access, or how to contact parish clergy, can often be obtained from the relevant Diocesan Office which can be found through the Church in Wales website. Further information about Nannerch Church may also be found on the St Asaph Diocese website.


The CPAT Flintshire Churches Survey Project was funded by Cadw as part of an all Wales survey of medieval parish churches.

This HTML page has been generated from the Cadw Churches Survey database & CPAT's Regional Historic Environment Record - 17/07/2007 ( 22:02:00 ).
Further information about this and other churches surveyed is available from the Regional Historic Environment Record, Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 7a Church Street, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 7DL tel - (01938) 553670, fax - (01938) 552179, email - chrismartin@cpat.org.uk, website - www.cpat.org.uk.

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