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A History of Trevor Church

The present building dates back to 1717, or earlier, but the history of the church or chapel at Trevor goes back many centuries - back to the time when the Monastery of Valle Crucis dominated the district. An early chapel at Trevor was attended by a visiting monk and he had a cell where stands the ruin of an old building known as `Kin Y Plas'.

In the 15th Century Bishop John Trevor II resided at Trevor Hall with his brother and used the chapel at Trevor as his private chapel. In consequence Trevor Church was known at one time as `The Episcopal Chapel of Bishop Trevor'. Since that time there has been always a very close connection between Trevor Hall and the Church. In 1717 during the reign of George I, the present building was erected at the expense of Elizabeth Lloyd of Trevor Hall, widow of Robert Lloyd of Llanhafon, Montgomeryshire. She endowed it with £10 per annum, besides giving 40 shillings (£2) per annum for the teaching of poor children of Trevor.

At first only the people living in the Hall used the Church, and it appears that the services in the earlier period were in Latin. After 1731 there appears to be a period without an incumbent and services were only intermittent.

On 8th August 1772, when John Lloyd was squire at Trevor Hall, Bishop Shipley consecrated the Church. Still the owners and staff at Trevor Hall used it, but now it serves as a place of public worship for the area around the Church. No district was legally assigned to it, but it was regarded as a chapel of ease for the two townships of Trevor Trian - Trevor Ucha and Trevor Isa.

In 1773 an allotment of £200 was made from the Queen Anne Bounty and Lady Gower made another of the same amount. In 1779 a further benefaction in lands was made in the name of the incumbent, the Rev. Richard Maurice - probably the principal of Elizabeth Lloyd's original endowment. John Lloyd added £5 per annum. The Queen Anne Bounty Grants were invested in lands, and the purchase deeds were executed at Trevor Hall on the 26th October 1779. A parliamentary grant of £800 was made in 1815.

The seating in the earlier period consisted of two pews at the front of the Church with open benches in the remainder of the building. The pew near the pulpit was for the incumbent and his family, whilst the Squire and his family used the one on the other side. In 1841 the remainder of the present pews which are of the old-fashioned box type were installed, and above each pew there are hat racks.

At one time above these were hung pictures depicting the Stations of the Cross, and over the door a picture of the Last Supper. A gallery was erected at this period, but has since been taken down as being unsafe.

Trevor was a Perpetual Curacy, no doubt as a result of its earlier connection with Valle Crucis. Its incumbents include the following:

17-- Owen

1731 No record

1776 Richard Maurice

1825 Rice Hughes

1833 Hugh Owen

1861 John Evan Davies

1865 Hugh Thomas Owen

Hugh Owen and Hugh Thomas Owen were Father and Son. The latter died in 1890 after being blind for some years. He had memorised the services in both Welsh and English in order to carry out his duties.

During the incumbency of Hugh Thomas Owen in 1870 the Trevor National School was built at a cost of £700. It was in this period also that a serious division occurred in the Church resulting in separate services being held in the school. A small remnant was faithful to the old church, and the church survived this division - or `persecution' as the records have it.

It was Hugh Thomas Owen who had the vestry built. In his time there was a surpliced choir. In earlier years the music was provided by a bass viole. About this time a double decker pulpit occupied the corner to the right of the altar. This was later removed to make way for the original organ. The `Lloyd Edwards' pew now occupies that corner site. The present organ, which came from Llanfor, Bala, was installed to the left of the door in 1995. At the time of installation remnants of the supports of the gallery, mentioned previously, were clearly visible. The floor in that area, which had suffered decay over the years, was made good.

The approach to the Church used to be by three paths, and in the grounds, near the Church are three yew trees. The paths and yews symbolise the Holy Trinity. This may be a guide to the unknown dedication. The entrance to the Church (from the porch) is down two stone steps representing the descent to the House of Prayer. The roof is semi-circular as a reminder of eternity.

The church is slightly off-set* to the South on an east-west line. (* It was sometimes the practice for a church to be aligned with the sunrise on the Saints day to which it was dedicated. Trevor Church is aligned at 112 degrees from North). The east window was installed in 1930 and is the third window to have been placed there. The earliest window was of plain glass. The second was stained glass with the colours burnt in. This is reputed to have come from Brittany, and was dedicated to Charlotte Andrews by her friend Amelia Lotte. The present window was dedicated in 1930 by Bishop Edwards, and was given by the Trevor Hall family in memory of their parents James Coster and Elizabeth Edwards.

The window shows the emblem of the Diocese of St.Asaph together with the Pelican giving her life for the five young birds. The main theme of the window is the Crucifixion. Closer examination shows details representing the story of Noah and there are also symbols of the Atonement in the Chalice, the Cross and the Nails.

Three windows light the nave, one on the north wall and two on the south wall. This is again a symbol of the Holy Trinity. Do we need the testimony of the written record to state that the dedication must have been to the Blessed Trinity?

The font is modern although it fits well into the old style of the building. It replaces one introduced in 1869, and which used to stand in the position of the present lectern, which was given by E Lloyd Edwards.

The oak pulpit was carved by Thomas Jones of Ruabon. The motif in front is the Lamb, The Cross and the Vine of Grapes.

The altar and rails are modern being the work of a local craftsman Mr. Gittins, a master at Llangollen Grammar School. These were dedicated by Bishop Bartlett in 1960.

The chandelier dates back to 1815. Originally this was for candles, later converted to candles and oil, and now it can operate on electricity or oil. Outside high on the south wall is carved the face of a man symbolising that whilst the church is ever to hold its prime duty of worshipping God, it must at the same time be outward looking to the world and the service of mankind.

In 1973, during the incumbency of Rev. J. Ivor Rees, the American Organ was substituted for an electronic one. In 1986 the aisle, baptistry and Trevor Hall Pews (Lloyd Edwards Pews) were carpeted.

During 1988 the Church approach from Trevor Hall Drive was widened and a car park constructed within the grounds, with Hardwood Entrance Gates and a tubular Iron Gate constructed by a member of the congregation to close off the path from the Hall to the Church itself. All this was done to bring Church and grounds up to modern day requirements.

The entrance Porch was added in 2000. It was built by local craftsmen, stonemason Geraint Roberts and joiner Phillip Jones of Cefn Mawr, and dedicated By Bishop John on 17th July 2000.

In the years 2002 and 2003 major renovation and repair projects were undertaken. In 2002 the electrical wiring and control system was replaced and upgraded. In the early part of 2003 all of the flooring and panelling on the right-hand side, and panelling at the base of the pulpit, was replaced by local builder John Armstrong of Newbridge, due to rot and insect damage.


Second updated version October 2005 by W.M. Strong, People's Warden, from the original compiled by Rev. John Hughes (circa 1988)

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