Friday, 28 February 2014

A Treasure House in Chirk

There is some good walking to be had around Chirk, and I heartily recommend the walk along the canal with the tunnel and the two aqueducts, Offa's Dyke passes close by and there are some magnificent walks in woodland around Chirk Castle. A good place to set out from is the car park at the Hand Hotel, which also serves a cracking lunch. Close by, for extra intellectual interest, is the parish church of St. Mary's. What a treasure house this turned out to be!

The tower is 15th Century and holds a Joyce Clock and 6 ringing bells.
The interior is traditional and full of monuments, parish chests and other memorials.
This is the shield of arms, or "hatchment" of Lt. Colonel Myddleton who dies in 1988. He died before his wife so his arms, on the left, are shown against a black background, while those of his wife on on the right against a white background.
The hammer beam roof of the north aisle has 15th century carvings of old testament creatures and mythological beasts.
The Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Creed are emblazoned on the wall. Most churches had these, but have since removed them. 
This is the only reminder that the greatest Welsh poet of the 20th Century served here for 4 years as a curate.
The local gentry were rather better commemorated. There were two prominent families. The Myddletons were hugely successful merchants from London at the turn of the 16th Century. Sir Thomas purchased the Lordship of Chirk in 1595. His descendants were members of parliament and supporters of the arts. The Trevors of Brynkinalt have a long history as Welsh gentry and have lived at Brynkinalt since about 924 AD, and have had distinguished careers in the world of politics and the army ever since. The Duke of Wellington descends from this family.
The churchyard is full of interesting wildlife and some ancient yew trees. I came across this memorial to James Darlington (1854 - 1933) with the epitaph "Go and do thou likewise." I wonder what he meant?

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