Castle Road, Chirk, LL14 5BS
An unusual and little-altered prefabricated building of distinctively rural character, built in 1929 through the offices of the Dowager Lady Trevor.
The Chirk mission was established around 1900, and in 1905 a chapel of timber construction was erected in the grounds of a hospital founded at Chirk Green by Lady Trevor of Brynkinallt. She was a member of the Catholic Petre family, which had retained the faith during the penal times. After Lord Trevor’s death in 1923, the chapel was removed and Mass was said by a visiting priest in the Drill Hall, until the present church, designed to hold 100, was opened. The Dowager Lady Trevor, as she had then become, also paid for the construction and furnishing of the new church which was opened on 17 March 1929 by Bishop Francis Vaughan. The architect was A. Hallwood of Hyde, Cheshire (now Greater Manchester). The church served a wide area, the nearest churches being Wrexham and Oswestry.
During World War II, Chirk received its share of evacuees including 100 adults and 258 children from Broad Green, Liverpool, among whom were many Catholics, who swelled the congregation at Sacred Heart. By this time, Chirk had a resident priest. In 1948 a convent school run by Dominican Sisters also opened in Chirk.
For many years there has been no resident priest in Chirk, the communities of Chirk, Llangollen and Ruabon having been combined. One single priest resident in Ruabon currently serves the three former parishes (the Ruabon church is owned by the Church in Wales and is not included in this review).
The church is a small prefabricated building, erected in the late 1920s. It has a timber frame with infill panels consisting of mineral fibre insulation encased by timber boards on both sides, with cover moulds to the board joints, painted black and white. The floor is suspended on timber joists, and the structure is supported on a brick plinth. The roof is covered in mineral felt tiles, and the rainwater goods are of cast iron.
A projecting porch leads directly into the nave which is separated from the sanctuary by a pointed arch. The nave has three bays with tall Gothic-style steel windows of simplified form with small panes. The structural timber posts and arch-braced trusses are exposed internally, and there is a dado with vertical boarding. The sanctuary arch bears the inscription ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo et in Terra Pax’, and there is a set of carved timber Stations of the Cross. The pews pre-date the church and were probably brought from another church. A small sacristy and adjoining confessional are entered from the sanctuary.
Architect: A. Hallwood
Original Date: 1929
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed