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Church of St John the Baptist

A Grade II* Listed Building in Maelor South (De Maelor), Wrexham

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.9189 / 52°55'8"N

Longitude: -2.8025 / 2°48'9"W

OS Eastings: 346135

OS Northings: 336023

OS Grid: SJ461360

Mapcode National: GBR 7F.N3RW

Mapcode Global: WH89M.XWMN

Entry Name: Church of St John the Baptist

Listing Date: 17 October 2001

Last Amended: 18 November 2005

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 25804

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: In a large churchyard opposite Bettisfield Hall Farm, beyond the N end of the village.

County: Wrexham

Town: Wrexham

Community: Maelor South (De Maelor)

Community: Maelor South

Locality: Bettisfield

Traditional County: Flintshire

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History

Bettisfield church was built by G.E. Street, architect of London, and its patrons were Lord and Lady Hanmer of Bettisfield Park. It replaced a mission church built in 1851 but, although plans for a new church were drawn in 1856, the building was not erected until 1873-4. The contractor was Powell & Rogers of Prees.

Exterior

A High-Victorian Gothic parish church based on the Decorated style, comprising nave with lower chancel, N transept and S transept tower. Snecked freestone have moulded sill bands, and banded tile roofs with ridge cresting are behind coped gables and on overhanging eaves. The 4-bay nave has a porch in the L-hand (W) bay and tower in the R-hand (E) bay (balancing the N transept). The porch has a pointed arch to the entrance, with half-round columns to the inner order, and hood mould and unmoulded (or unfinished) stops. The boarded door to the nave has false strap hinges and a pointed arch with hood mould. The nave has two 3-light S windows with reticulated tracery.

The chancel has a S chapel, under an outshut roof, on the E side of the tower. It has 2 cusped S windows and 3-light E window. The chancel has a 2-light S window. In the E wall are set-back buttresses and a 5-light window. The N window is 2-light Perpendicular. Balancing the S chancel chapel is an outshut former N vestry (now housing the organ) with freestone stack. It has a 2-light E window under a blank tympanum with sexfoil, and stone steps to a basement boiler room. The N side has 2 square-headed windows and to the R a boarded door with strap hinges, under an ogee head. The N transept has a 4-light N window with geometrical tracery, and the nave has three 2-light N windows with Decorated tracery. In the W wall are set-back buttresses and a 5-light window with intersecting tracery. To its R and on the W side of the porch, is a gabled projection added in 2001.

The 3-stage tower is square in the lower stage, with angle buttresses and tall 2-light S window. The narrower middle stage is octagonal and has a clock in the S face, and narrow light in the E face. The upper stage has tall cusped bell openings, with louvres, in the main directions, sill band, and is beneath a steep pyramidal roof with apex weathervane.

Interior

The interior forms a complete decorative scheme by Street. It is faced in snecked dressed stone and has a sill band in the nave. Windows have rere arches. The nave has a 4-bay crown-post roof with ovolo-moulded tie beams and octagonal posts, and closely-spaced rafters. The pointed chancel arch has an inner order on corbels, and across the arch is a freestone screen base with blind quatrefoil frieze. The N transept has a pointed arch with 2 orders of chamfer, and a Gothic vestry screen dated 1966. A similar arch on the S side leads to the tower base, which has squinches beneath the 2nd stage, and pointed E doors to the S chapel.

The chancel has a 3-bay arched-brace roof with cusped windbraces, on a moulded, castellated cornice. On the S and N sides of the chancel are arches dying into the imposts. The S side, to the chapel, has a wooden screen with pointed doorway and 3 bays with panelled dado and open cusped arches. On the N side is a narrower arch with pointed doorway to its R, originally the vestry but now housing the organ. The arch has a 3-bay screen similar to the S side. The chancel has a cusped piscina, and double sedilia under cusped arches and central colonnette, with trefoiled roundel in the spandrel. A 5-bay Caen stone reredos has attached pinnacles with foliage spandrels, narrow arches with 2-light blind tracery, and wider square-headed central bay with crucifix against a diaper background, all beneath a foliage and castellated cornice. The reredos is flanked by glazed and embossed Minton tiles of quatrefoil patterns with foliage. The chancel floor has decorative and encaustic tiles.

The octagonal font has a finely moulded base and stem, and its cover is strengthened by ironwork foliage. Simple pews have shaped ends. The freestone round pulpit has a moulded pedestal and open cusped arches below a moulded cornice. Choir stalls have, to the front tier, blind cusped arches to the seat backs. The communion rail has ironworks uprights with scroll enrichment, and moulded wooden rail.

E and W windows are by Clayton and Bell. The E window depicts the Ascension and scenes in the Life of Christ. The W window depicts the life and death of John the Baptist. In the N wall of the nave is a memorial tablet to Lord and Lady Hanmer (d 1881, 1880), founders of the church, which has a scrolled pediment crowned by a harp representing eternal life.

Reasons for Listing

Listed grade II* for its special architectural interest as a Gothic Revival church by a major C19 architect, and distinguished by its expressive exterior and complete interior scheme.

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