Ancient Monuments

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Leicester's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Denbigh (Dinbych), Denbighshire (Sir Ddinbych)

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Latitude: 53.1822 / 53°10'56"N

Longitude: -3.419 / 3°25'8"W

OS Eastings: 305266

OS Northings: 365954

OS Grid: SJ052659

Mapcode National: GBR 6M.3HZD

Mapcode Global: WH771.G83S

Entry Name: Leicester's Church

Scheduled Date: 18 August 1926

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 2305

Cadw Legacy ID: DE044

Schedule Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Category: Church

Period: Post Medieval/Modern

County: Denbighshire (Sir Ddinbych)

Community: Denbigh (Dinbych)

Built-Up Area: Denbigh

Traditional County: Denbighshire


This monument comprises the remains of an Elizabethan church begun in 1578 by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. The church is located to the north of Denbigh Castle within the town walls.

Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester and Baron Denbigh (1564-88), decided to build a new church more fitting to his dignity as virtual governor of north Wales. Building work proceeded slowly on the church despite appeals to all English bishops to collect funds throughout their dioceses in 1579-80.

The church was a large rectangular structure 52m by 22m internally with a broad central aisle 8.2m wide, and narrower side aisles. The church was almost certainly divided into a chancel of three bays and a nave of seven bays with circular piers set on square plinths. The north wall stands up to roof height with nine plain window openings. The westernmost bay has a four-centred doorway with red sandstone mouldings. A foundation stone of 1578 and dedication stone of 1579 survived for at least 200 years.

Externally, the building is plain and reflects the character of the more Puritan Protestant worship conducted within. The only decorations were the simple sandstone quoins at the four corners of the church and the simple roll moulding below the base of the window openings. These windows when filled with clear glass would have given a purified appearance, enabling the worshippers to follow the services in the prayer books. The first vicar here (as a sinecure 1575-96) was William Morgan (d. 1604) who translated the whole Bible into Welsh for the first time and published it in 1588.

The interest of this church lies in the fact that it is the only large new church in Britain of the Elizabethan period and is the first Protestant building, intended for a preaching ministry, to be erected on a new site.

This monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of late medieval/Elizabethan religious practices. The scheduled area comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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