This is Christ Church, Bwlchgwyn. A lovely little church in the centre of the village. My grandparents married here, I was christened here – as was my father before me – I went to Sunday School here and, the highlight of the Church year in the 1950s, I went to the Harvest Festivals here.
I particularly used to enjoy playing the church organ, a ‘proper’ church organ with pipes, stops, keyboards, pedals and a huge polished wood bench. I never played the organ at services, just whilst the ladies cleaned the church and arranged the flowers, but my great grandfather and one of my great uncles, both called Robert Belton, were the church organists for many years, my great grandfather’s service is commemorated on a plaque inside the church.
History of the church building
Christ Church was consecrated on 1 October 1879
Originally built as a school in 1867, an application was made between 1876 and 1879 to the Church Authorities (probably the Diocese of St. Asaph), for a grant towards the conversion of the building from a school to a church. The plans (which can be viewed on the internet, see below) show the planned addition of the porch, chancel and vestry and the church pews. The grant was approved.
The architects employed for the conversion were H & AP Fry. The architects were related to Thomas Fry who had earlier commissioned the building of the Hall at Nant-y-Ffrith.
This is a very rare picture of the church, showing the chancel window and the vestry at the back of the Church
A second grant application was made in 1919-1920. It looks as though money had been raised to install a pipe organ in the church as the application was to increase the size of the vestry and to use the existing, small vestry, to accommodate the workings of the organ. This also involved the removal of two rows of pews to provide a means for the vicar and choir to move from the vestry into the church. The grant was approved. The architect employed for this work was Herbert Luck North.
Above, my sketch of Christ Church, Bwlchgwyn from the opposite direction, overlooking the northern corner of the churchyard. (c1969). Below, Christ Church again, on a picture annotated “1926”. Even though it was another 30 years at least before I would walk down the road to the church, I remember how neat and tidy all the hedges used to be between the church and the war memorial on the hairpin bend.
|Church plans: http://www.churchplansonline.org/retrieve_results.asp?c=Denbighshire&offset=0 The Churches mentioned are arranged in alphabetical order on the site, there are two entries for Bwlch Gwyn. The plans on that site are protected by copyright.|