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St Mary's Church, Ruabon

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Map ReferenceSJ34SW
Grid ReferenceSJ3028043799
Unitary (Local) AuthorityWrexham
Old CountyDenbighshire
Type Of SiteCHURCH
PeriodPost Medieval
The church in Ruabon was first mentioned in 1258, when it was dedicated to St Collen. Some medieval fabric still survives, including the fourteenth century western tower, which has perpendicular features, and the arched western door, also of the fourteenth century. A south-eastern chapel was built in 1755 and a north-eastern in 1769. It was re-modelled by T.F. Pritchard, a Shrewsbury architect, between 1769 and 1770, and it was substantially rebuilt between 1870 and 1872 by the London architect Benjamin Ferry on behalf of Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn.

The church contains some important works of art. Tomb chests from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries include that of John Ap Ellis Eyton and his wife Elizabeth, who died in 1526, and a well detailed and vigourous alabaster tomb chest with two recumbent effigies and angel weepers. Important wallpaintings include the late-fourteenth or fifteenth century (restored in 1870) Works of Mercy with texts in Welsh on the south wall. It depicts a series of trios of figures - angel, donor and recipient - with appropriate gifts (leg of chicken, a cup and pitcher, and clothes) or an attitude of solicitude. The right-hand end of the scene is truncated by a later window. Their costumes suggests a late fourteenth century date (Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries (2) IV, 517). Another painting was uncovered and photographed in 1870, but was subsequently plastered over. It was located to the right of an inserted window in the south wall and the photograph appears to show a much damaged female figure with staff and crown, probably depicting the Coronation of the Virgin. It is probably late fourteenth century and was possibly the end of the Works of Mercy painting rather than a seperate scene. There are also Royal Arms of 1780 on boards over the south doorway. The frame has a semicircular pediment, date and GR on lower frame.

There is also fine sculpure, including pieces by Nollekens and Rysbrack. The former was responsible for the free standing life-size figure of Hope with an anchor completed in 1773, and the latter for the reclining effigy, sarcophagus, pyramid and angel holding a medallion, executed between 1751 and 1754.

RCAHMW, November 2010.
application/pdfCPAT - Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust ReportsClwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust Report No 1474 entitled "St Mary's Church, Ruabon - Archaeological Watching Brief." Prepared by Richard Hankinson, March 2017. CPAT project no. 2174.
application/pdfRCAHMW ExhibitionsOne pdf showing a set of bilingual centenary exhibition panels entitled Can Mlynedd o Arolygu a Chofnodi. One Hundred Years of Survey and Record, produced by RCAHMW, 2009.