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Wrexham Churches Survey

Church of St Hilary , Erbistock

Erbistock Church is in the Diocese of St Asaph, in the community of Erbistock in the county of Wrexham. It is located at Ordnance Survey national grid reference SJ3557541329. At one time it was dedicated to St Erbin.
The church is recorded in the CPAT Historic Environment Record as number 16776 and this number should be quoted in all correspondence.

Erbistock Church, CPAT copyright photo 842328A.JPG


St Hilary's church lies on the north bank of the River Dee at the centre of the small settlement of Erbistock, about 5 miles south of Wrexham. The present building was constructed in 1860 and contains only a few furnishings and fittings of earlier date including a font bowl that may be Norman, an 18thC chandelier and several memorials.

Church constructed in 1860 in Gothic style.

Parts of the following description are quoted from the 1986 publication The Buildings of Wales: Clwyd by Edward Hubbard


Reputedly the church was originally dedicatied to St Erbin but this was superseded by a dedication to St Hilary. There is however no evidence to indicate that it is an early medieval foundation.

The Norwich Taxation of 1254 refers to 'Ecclesia de Embestock', and in the Lincoln Taxation of 1291 it was valued at 5.

The vestry book recorded a building in 1692 whose 'large wooden posts are rotten and in danger of dropping down'. By 1748 this wooden church had been rebuilt in stone, and two parishioners were paid for 'clearing the rubbish occasioned by ye stone there for building ye church'. A painting in the National Library of Wales shows a double-aisled nave with a bellcote, a south porch and a gallery window; the interior had box pews according to contemporary pencil sketches.

The Georgian church was demolished in 1859 and the present church built in Decorated style in 1860-61 at the expense of Caroline Boates of Rose Hill. She died in 1860 and the work was continued by her daughter.


The church consists of a nave with narrow aisles, a bellcote at the west end, a chancel with polygonal apse, a south porch and a north vestry. It is oriented almost due east to west.

Fabrics: 'A' is of small to medium blocks of regularly cut, red sandstone ashlar with red sandstone dressings; randomly coursed. 'B' is of rubblestone and barely visible at the base of the north wall.

Roofs:- slate tiles and red ceramic, toothed ridge tiles. Cross finial above the bellcote, and a metal one to the apse. Rising above the east end of the nave is what may be a chimney.

Drainage:- cast iron guttering and downspouts, with 1861 dates on hopper heads, lead to soakaways. A drainage trench runs along the north wall but there is nothing obvious along the other sides.

The church is entirely 19thC and for this reason the following description is a summary only. All masonry is 'A' except where stated.


North aisle - General. As one with the nave, the roof being continuous. Plinthed at 0.4m.

North wall:- three two-centred windows with paired, trefoiled two-centred lights and a quatrefoil above; hoodmoulds and floriate stops of different forms. At the base of the wall is projecting masonry in 'B', perhaps the foundations of the earlier church.

Vestry - General. Abuts the north wall of the chancel, overlapping the east end of the aisle. Plinth at a height of c.0.2m above ground level. On the north wall an octagonal chimney with broach stops and a castellated moulding around the top rises above the gable. and beneath this a two-centred window with a pair of trefoiled lights with a cinquefoil above; hoodmould with floriate stops. The coping on the gable aloso terminates in floriate stops.

Nave - General.

East wall:- visible above the roofline of the apse and to the south side of the apsidal chancel where there is a single trefoiled light with a trefoil above and a hoodmould with floriate stops.

West wall:- a central two-centred window with a hoodmould and floriate stops over three trefoiled two-centred lights with cinquefoil tracery lights above. Two short stepped buttresses flank the west window and small, single, trefoiled two-centred lights with stopped hoodmoulds are set to either side of the buttresses. A string course runs between the buttresses below sill level. A stepped bellcote rises above the west gable and contains three bells hanging in trefoil-headed apertures.

Chancel - General. The plinth rises in two stages to a maximum hieght of c.0.7m with a roll moulding on its top. The chancel and its pentagonal apse has a continuous string course below the level of the windows, there is another roll moulding above the windows and then a cornice with floral motifs below the eaves. Single, trefoiled two-centred lights with hoodmoulds that have head stops to different designs in each wall face except that on the south.

South wall:- a two-centred arched doorway, the chamfers with broach stops and two trefoiled lights of standard form.

South aisle - General. As north aisle, see above.

South wall:- two windows with two trefoiled, two-centred lights and quatrefoils as in the north wall and to the west of these the south porch. Between the windows a stone memorial to Rev George Robson (d.1851), recording his burial in a vault beneath.

South Porch - General. The open porch is entered beneath a two-centred chamfered arch of two orders with small columns in the angles rising to floriate capitals and supporting roll mouldings with floriate motifs around the arch, a hoodmould and floriate stops, and chamfers with stops of different types. There are inner pilasters and an inscription on the face of the outer order beneath the hoodmould. The east and west walls of the porch are plain.


Porch - General. One step above the external ground level. Tiled floor, bare sandstione walls. Roof has three narrow collar trusses with straight braces.

North wall:- the doorway to the church has a two-centred chamfered arch of two orders with marble pillars supporting a moulded arch, a hoodmould and floriate stops. One step up to the church.

West wall:- wooden war memorial (1914-18).

Nave and aisles - General. Nave and aisles under one roof; aisles separated from nave by triple arcades with two-centred arches supported on circular marble piers with heavily carved capitals of grey freestone and square stone bases, broached to circular column bases in red sandstone. Carved heads and angels act as stops to a continuous hoodmould. At the west end of the north aisle is an organ on a raised dais.

Floors of red and black quarry tiles, the central aisle carpetted, with benches on raised planked floors. Plastered and painted walls with only dressed stonework exposed. The nave roof has close-set collar beams with straight braces and scissor struts, decorative cornices to the wall plates which project and are supported on red sandstone corbels; also one tie-beam truss with king post and arch bracing beneath the collar. The aisle roofs slope to north and south and are plastered above exposed rafters which are braced off the wall beams.

North wall:- four 19thC and 20thC brasses.

East wall:- a high chamfered, two-centred chancel arch with foliate frieze supported on short engaged marble pillars with carved capitals, and supported on sandstone corbels. The arch is of two orders and its hoodmould has floriate stops. South of the arch two 19thC brasses. In the east wall of the north aisle a two-centred arch over the door to the vestry.

South wall:- on the wall a single block of sandstone part of a 17thC memorial with the date 1664? and the name Roger legible. One 19thC marble memorial.

West wall:- five 19thC and 20thC brasses include a Second World War memorial.

Chancel - General. Two steps up from the nave and two steps to the sanctuary. Tiles including some encaustic, and carpetting. Walls as nave, and the apse windows contained in cusped embrasures with marble pillars supporting the outer faces. The roof of curved vaulted construction rising from floriate corbels between the windows. A castellated and decorated cornice around the wall.

North wall:- two 20thC stone memorials.

East wall:- reredos.

South wall:- splayed doorway reveal with two-centred soffit.

Vestry - General. Carpetted floor, walls plastered and painted, purlined roof. Fireplace in the north-east angle.


The small, originally rectangular churchyard is sited on the north bank of the River Dee; it was extended in the north-west corner in 1910, and a further burial ground uphill of the site was consecrated in 1939.

Boundary:- revetment wall of red sandstone rubble on the south and east sides.

Monuments:- a mix of 18thC-19thC monuments. There is a fine 18thC slab by the south door and a stone of 1727 by the south-east entrance.

Furniture:- the slim pillar of a sundial with chamfered edges terminating in arrowhead stops is now mounted on a square base. The dial and gnomon carry a date of 1993, replacing one of 1702.

Ancillary features:- new wooden gates at the south-west corner, and wooden gates too at the north-east. Another, gateless entrance in the south-east corners; paths of gravel, stone and turf.

Earthworks:- the churchyard is raised by about 2m above the road on the south side, and on the east side by 1m. On the north there are properties and the ground rises away from the churchyard.

Vegetation:- two large yews on the eastern boundary and a mature yew and a younger one near the west boundary with the Boat Inn. Yew bushes along the north side.

Sources consulted

Cadw Schedule of Listed Buildings 1995
Church Guide: n.d.
CPAT Field Visits: 12 July 1996 and 15 January 1999
Faculty: St Asaph 1910 (NLW): addition to churchyard
Hubbard 1986, 159
Quinquennial Report 1985
Thomas 1908, 439
Click here to view full project bibliography

Please note that many rural churches are closed to the public at certain times. It is advisable to check when the church will be open before visiting. Information about access, or how to contact parish clergy, can often be obtained from the relevant Diocesan Office which can be found through the Church in Wales website. Further information about Erbistock Church may also be found on the St Asaph Diocese website.

The CPAT Wrexham Churches Survey Project was funded by Cadw as part of an all Wales survey of medieval parish churches.

This HTML page has been generated from the Cadw Churches Survey database & CPAT's Regional Historic Environment Record - 17/07/2007 ( 22:03:19 ).
Further information about this and other churches surveyed is available from the Regional Historic Environment Record, Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust, Curatorial Section, 41 Broad Street, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 7RR tel - (01938) 553670, fax - (01938) 552179, email -, website -

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