St Mary's Church
High Street in the town of Mold. It is the Parish Church of St. 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
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
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 Henry'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
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