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Wrexham Town Walk : The Parish Church of St Giles

Early postcard of the Parish Church of St GilesThe Parish Church of St.Giles is surely Wrexham's greatest landmark. Described in the 19th Century as one of the Seven Wonders of Wales, it is, like the Pistyll Rhaeadr, truly a wonder to behold and not just local exaggeration.

The church is the historic centre of the town. The street pattern reveals how the town grew out from the boundary of the churchyard, which is typical of medieval towns across Britain.

Wrexham had a church in the 13th Century as both the Bishop of St Asaph and Madog ap Gruffudd, Prince of Powys gave income from the church to the monks at Valle Crucis, near Llangollen. In 1330 the tower collapsed. Tradition has it that the locals feared that God had punished them for having Sunday as their market day. They decided it might be better to have their market on Thursdays from then on. Despite these precautions, in 1463 fire struck and much of the church was destroyed. Between 1463 -1520 the church was rebuilt perhaps with the help of a patron, Lady Margaret Beaufort: the result a church that represents the culmination of the medieval and Catholic church design. It records the final flowering of religious belief before the bloodletting and intellectual struggles of the Reformation.

St Giles' is a must for any visitor to the town. Though Oliver Cromwell used the church as stabling for his army's horses, others have appreciated its beauty. Both William Morris and Sir Giles Gilbert Scott stepped into the fray to save the church from the plans of well-intentioned clergymen in the 19th Century

A View of the Parish Church of St Giles

The church is a place of worship but it is a welcoming place and there are regular tours up the tower especially during the autumn Heritage Open Days.

Before leaving the churchyard, go to the west end of the church and you'll find the grave of Elihu Yale, local man and benefactor of Yale University, USA. Look out for the inscription on his grave.

Leave via the main gates on Church Street and turn left along Temple Row heading downhill towards College Street.