Excavation and recording at St Cyngar’s Church, Hope, Wrexham
An extensive programme of restoration work over the past nine months presented a valuable opportunity to undertake detailed recording of a various aspects of the church, which has revealed new information about its history and structural changes. The present church was almost certainly founded in the early medieval period, although the earliest surviving part of the building dates from the end of the 13th century.
Working closely with the contractors, Chester Masonry, together with architects TACP, allowed detailed recording to be undertaken as work progressed. The recording of the south aisle roof in particular has revealed significant new information regarding its construction and repair. The roof, which dates from the 15th century, consists of seven bays formed by eight arch-braced collar trusses and was in such a dangerous condition that it had been supported by scaffolding since 1997. The restoration also involved work on the north aisle east window, the arcade and the bell tower, with the whole church encased in scaffolding throughout the project.
Subsidence beneath the organ in 1997 had revealed a lead coffin buried beneath the floor of the south aisle, and the surrounding area was excavated before a new floor could be laid. The excavations revealed the lead coffin which had the initials WH and a date of 1746 on the lid, as well as two further graves. Two coins were recovered during the excavations, one of Charles II and the other of George III, dated 1746. Another interesting find was a carved stone Celtic cross of 9th or 10th-century date, which was recovered from the rubble infill of the upper wall of the arcade.
The restoration work has now been completed and the church is once again able to welcome its congregation!
Nigel Jones, October 2000