All Saint's Church Gresford, the old Church of All Saint's Gresford, Wrexham Wales
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All Saint's Church Gresford


All Saints Church at Gresford, Wrexham, North East Wales, has been claimed as one of the finest parish churches in Wales. It has a nave and chancel, a west tower and a clerestory rising above north and south aisles.

The earliest mention of a church at Gresford is in Domesday Book A.D.1086, which records that there was a church and a priest at "Gretford in Extan hundred". However it is not known whether the church mentioned in the Domesday Book was on the site of the present church. The first reference to a church on the present site is in a document that refers to an inquisition held at Gresford at the Feast of St
East wall and pinnacles All Saint's Church Gresford
Michael in 1333. It was declared that the church at Gresford was founded by Trahaearn ap Ithel ap Eunydd and his five brothers who endowed it with glebe land.

This late 13th century church was built in stone. In the angle formed by the tower and the exterior of the north aisle is a buttress considered by some to be Early English; this, with the interior (east) wall of the tower, is the only visible relic of that church.

In the 14th century an aisle was added on the south side; the window in the Decorated style at the west end of the south aisle remains from this period. At the same time the chancel was extended eastward as far as the present altar rail, and a vaulted crypt was built under it. A plain, low tower was added at the west end and an arched opening was made from the nave into the tower.

In the late 15th century the earlier church was almost entirely demolished and the fine church which we now see was built in the perpendicular style. Only the tower and part of the west wall and part of the east wall were retained.

Internally there are panelled and ornamented camber beam roofs, 15th Century screens of English workmanship, a wide variety of monuments and memorials. Externally there is an abundance of stone carvings, ...animals with weird heads and a variety of grotesques and demons, interspersed with what appear to be a cross section of faces of medieval folk, from Kings and Queens to common drunkards.

Why was such a splendid church built in a small village in which, a hundred years later in 1589, there were only twenty houses? While all around lived in houses of timber and wattle and daub All Saints Church must have stood out like a beacon.

Who supplied the monies to build such a church?

Some believed that the church was a place of pilgrimage, and that it contained some object of
East wall and pinnacles All Saint's Church Gresford
veneration which brought pilgrims from afar, and that their gifts financed the building of the 15th century church. Indeed in medieval times this was not uncommon.

One suggestion concerns the niche in the Lady Chapel, a niche which shows traces of painting, and which now holds a modern statue of the Virgin and Child possibly replacing an earlier, lost, effigy of the Virgin. These images probably disappeared at the Reformation.

If truth be known we do not know what drew these visitors "from divers parts of this Realm" or why they brought offerings.

The Stanley-Beaufort Connection:

Another possible explanation of the richness of the church is that it was endowed by Thomas Stanley, the Earl of Derby, and his wife Margaret Beaufort, mother of King Henry VII. Other churches in the area: St Winifride's Holywell; Hope Parish Church; St Giles Wrexham; and St Mary the Virgin Mold are late 15th century churches known as "Stanley Churches". It is known that it was Thomas Stanley who gave the great east window at Gresford, but there are no heraldic emblems of the family, as there are in other churches. Thomas Stanley's brother, Sir William Stanley, held the lordship and castle of Holt nearby. It was the Stanley's intervention (late intervention..it is said by some .. very late) at the battle of Bosworth which won the battle for Henry Tudor and gained him the throne as Henry VII.

The church is built of Cefn stone as are others of the "Stanley" group of churches.

East wall and pinnacles All Saint's Church Gresford
Other similarities include the embattled parapets, which of course can be put down to the Perpendicular style that was favoured at the time. But to me the most obvious connection between the "Stanley" churches are the grotesques, the stone carvings that embellish the string courses on several of the churches.

All Saints Church is no exception with a string course ornamented with flowers, faces and scampering animals running the complete length of the building. The seven windows on each side have four lights under flattened arches, and hood moulds which end in carved heads (stops) or, again, those trade mark strange animals. The downspouts are held by monkeys or grotesque creatures.

Regardless of who paid for the works the church is a beautiful creation and worthy of further description.


 All Saint's Church Gresford
East wall and pinnacles All Saint's Church Gresford
1. All Saint's Church Gresford during renovations 2. East wall and pinnacles All Saint's Church Gresford
South wall and porch All Saint's Church Gresford
St George slaying the dragon on the north porch All Saint's Church Gresford
3. South wall and porch All Saint's Church Gresford 4. St George slaying the dragon on the north porch Gresford Church
15th Century stained glass window on east wall All Saint's
      Church
Stained glass window in Lady Chapel All Saint's Church
5. 15th Century stained glass window on east wall All Saint's Church 6. Stained glass window in Lady Chapel All Saint's Church
15th Century stone font in All Saint's Church Gresford
Beautiful stained glass window in All Saint's Church
      Gresford
7. 15th Century stone font in All Saint's Church Gresford 8. Beautiful stained glass window in All Saint's Church Gresford
15th Century carved screen at All Saint's Church
Camberbeam roof All Saint's Church Gresford
9. 15th Century carved screen at All Saint's Church 10. Camberbeam roof All Saint's Church Gresford
Nave of All Saint's Church
Last Supper at Parish Church Gresford
11. Nave of All Saint's Church 12. Last Supper at Parish Church Gresford
King headstop (Henry Tudor?) at All Saint's Church
Go to All Saints Gresford Page 2
13. King headstop (Henry Tudor?) at All Saint's Church 14. Jump to Page Two memorials monuments and effigies in Gresford Church
CONTACT: Tel: 01978 852236
OPENING TIMES: All information on Church website
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