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St Mary's Church overlooks the High Street in the town of Mold. It is the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin Church MoldSt. Mary the Virgin in the Diocese of St Asaph. It stands on the site of an earlier Norman church probably built by the Montalts during their Lordship of Mold in the twelfth or early thirteenth century. The building of the present church was financed by Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry Tudor, to mark his victory over Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth and his enthronement as King of England in 1485.

The main body of the church was built of a local sandstone known as Cefn Sandstone which in general has weathered well but the decorative stones including various corbels in human and animal form show signs of deterioration probably due to atmospheric pollution.

St Mary's has a grand interior but it was not always so. In bygone days there would have been an earthen floor, open fireplaces and numbers of box pews. At the west end there was a musician's gallery, benches for the poor next to the outer walls (nothing changes),  and burials taking place within the church.

As with many of the old churches St Mary's has been renovated and restored over the years, the major restoration being undertaken in 1856 under the direction of Sir George Gilbert Scott. It is believed that Scott based his works on two other Lady Beaufort churches, St. Giles' in Wrexham, and St. Winifride's Chapel in Holywell. The east wall was removed as part of the works in an attempt to restore the chancel to it's original design. The fine collection of stained glass windows were also introduced during this restoration period.

The benefactress of this and other local churches was Lady Margaret Beaufort, who married Thomas Stanley, Lord of Mold, King of Man, and Steward of the Royal Household.

Lord Stanley had backed Henry Tudor, his stepson, in his fight against Richard III for the Crown of England and it seems that the parishioners of north Wales benefited from King Richard III's misfortune. Following  St Mary's Church MoldHenry's victory at Bosworth Field Stanley was rewarded with the Earldom of Derby to add to his already considerable possessions. In thanksgiving for their good fortune Lord Stanley and Lady Margaret undertook the rebuilding of several churches in north Wales, including St Mary's Mold, St Peter's in Northop, St Giles' in Wrexham and St. Winifride's in Holywell. The striking similarities between the four churches are obvious to this day.

What I find interesting about St Mary's Church and indeed many of the old stone churches in this area of North Wales are the intricately carved  gargoyles and grotesques, in the case of St Mary's there is a string course or  frieze depicting animals that circumvents the church. The time and money spent creating these "works of art" demonstrate the importance that the people felt towards the creatures they were depicting in stone, and as such deserve recording and preserving.


Directions:    [ Map of St Mary's Church Mold   ]

You can't miss it. It is on the High Street in the centre of Mold

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Please - click on the pictures - for enlarged pictures of St Mary's Church. © All pictures and text copyright Bernard Wellings

Corbels depicting animals , St Mary's Mold Stone carvings of animals on St Mary's Church Mold
Corbels depicting animals, St Mary's Mold
 
Stone carvings of animals on St Mary's Church Mold
Medieval stone carvings on St Marys Church Mold  
Medieval stone carvings on the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Mold
 

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Related tourist information links :

The town of Mold > Flint Castle > Rhuddlan Castle > Welsh Borders and Offa's Dyke Path > Mountain Bike Trails on the Clwyd Hills >

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