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Taking a new look at Wrexham's sacred spaces

Trevor Mausoleum
The Trevor Mausoleum at St Mary's, Chirk, was erected in 1905

A churchyard might not be top of your list when it comes to planning a day out, but a new initiative by the Sacred Space project may make you think again.

New interpretation panels situated in 12 rural Wrexham churchyards highlight some of the fascinating features of historical and wildlife interest to be seen. They've been installed as part of the Sacred Space project which helps to conserve churchyards.

Project officer Heather Williams said: "The interpretation boards and leaflets will enhance any visit as they provide a fascinating guide to some of the things to look out for in the churchyards.

"It's surprising just how much history and wildlife you can discover when you start to explore any of the 12 churchyards."

St John the Baptist, Bettisfield
St John the Baptist, Bettisfield, is one of the 12 churches involved

Among things to look out for at St Mary's, Chirk, is the grave of James Darlington, manager of the nearby Black Park Colliery. It's a large stone taken from the banks of the River Dee and is said to be the very stone he used to sit on while fishing.

All Saints at Gresford is famous for its Great Yew, which dates from around 400 AD, making it one of the oldest trees in Britain. Over 80% of yews grow in British churchyards, particularly in Wales.

At St Chad's, Hanmer, you can see an example of a Celtic cross memorial in the Kenyon family plot, and during the summer a farmer grazes a flock of Dutch Zwartbles sheep there to keep the grass under control.

The interpretation boards, which have accompanying leaflets, were officially launched on 11 September at St Mary's Church, Chirk.

The event, which coincided with a European Heritage Open Doors Day, provided a rare opportunity to see inside the Trevor Mausoleum. The Grade II listed building, built for the second Lord Trevor's daughter Mary, who died aged five, features a life-sized angel carrying the child.

A list of the churchyards involved in the scheme can be found on the Sacred Spaces website.




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