The History of Llandrinio Church
Southward from Oswestry, the traveller sees the majestic Breidden guarding the entrance to Mid-Wales.
Nestling at its foot, bounded by the River Severn and by Offa’s Dyke, is the hamlet of Llandrinio with its ancient Church, and here in all probability, Caractacus made his final effort against the Romans, as described by Tacitus.
The History of the Church falls into well-defined periods, and each has left its mark on the fabric.
I. St. Trinio, who lived in the 6th. Century ‘The Age of Saints,” first preached the Gospel in these parts. Gwerglodd y Sant'” ie. Saint’s Meadow, marks his early habitation. The Church is the site of his first House of Prayer, probably a timber building, small, but the Mother Church.
The Churchyard was large (a place of sanctuary?) and carries us back to the Welsh Mercian period. A fragment of a pillar, with Celtic ornamentation of key pattern and interlaced, most likely the Churchyard Cross (now in the porch) dates to the 9th. Century.
II. I. At this time there must have been a stone Church. The oldest window is the narrow loop in the North wall of the present Church. There are indications in the masonry of the East wall that the early Church extended eastwards, and that when it was taken down, the Chancel arch was built up and a window inserted at its apex
III. This was done by the Normans, who made great changes. The old Nave was converted into the Chancel, and a new Nave built. A Chapel on the South side of the Church was added, and the Priest’s Door inserted.
On the North side an aisle was erected, and to this period belongs the main doorway, the font, and the arch of the arcade.
St. Trinio’s Church had now become the Church of SS. Peter and Paul. There was probably, at this time, a Roodloft.
IV. Under English influence the North aisle was converted into a Chantry Chapel, and the Piscina is still in position. The present East window is probably 14th. Century. This period was the most flourishing in the history of Llandrinio.
In the third year of Edward Il (1309), a Charter was granted for the holding of a weekly market on Thursdays and two annual fairs of three days duration, to be held respectively on the eve, the day, and the morrow of the Festival of SS. Peter and Paul (June 28th, 29th, and 30th), and also on October 20th, 21st and 22nd, The Feast of the Eleven Thousand Virgins.
V. The 15th Century witnessed a great decline in the prosperity and importance of Llandrinio, judging from the evidence of the Church fabric. The North aisle was taken down and the arcade, except one arch, removed; that arch was filled in and the rest built up with walling. The West end was shortened, and the new West wall was supported by two buttresses. The Church was thus reduced to nearly half its former size. There was also some reconstruction of the South wall of the Chancel, as the most easterly window, flatheaded and of three lights trefoiled, is of that date. The East window of the North aisle appears to have been transferred at this time to the Chancel as it is an insertion within the framework of an earlier one.
VI. There is now a long gap until the 17thCentury. The beautifully carved pulpit, of Tudor character, with its accompanying Prayer Desk was set up probably as a thank-offering to commemorate Rector Griffith’s restoration after the troubles of the Commonwealth, and his promotion to the Bishopric of the Diocese. The Bell commemorates the restoration of Charles I and bears the loyal inscription “1661 R ERG. CNS. God save the King.”
The next change is marked by the inscription on the fragment of the Churchyard Cross, “Robert Richards, Richard Edwards C 1729 W.” The Gallery and the Porch were added at this time.
In 1829, the present Belfry was erected.
The present square headed foliated windows date to 1859.
1898. The carved oak Prayer Desk erected with its beautiful Tudor Panel and its 1689 rail from an old English Church. The Lych Gate was dedicated on Easter Day in the commemoration of the reign of the good Queen Victoria. Archdeacon Thomas left a legacy for the restoration and redecoration of the church which was carried out in the early 1920’s. The Parish was grouped with the Parish of Criggion in 1926 and a further grouping with the Parishes of Llandysilio and Penrhos took place in1966. In 1978/79 a further period of restoration took place. Much of the old, loose plaster was taken down and the inside of the church replastered and then redecorated in its present color schemes. Thewoodwork was cleaned and revarnished. The outside of the church was repaired and redecorated. This was at a cost of £3.500. The Church Path has since been repaired and tarmaced.
THE HOLY COMMUNION PLATE
(a) One large Silver Flagon with the following inscription; “Ex dono Isaaci Barrow Asaphensis/Episcopi. Anno Domini 1680.” Underneath are the words “Orate pro conservovestro.
(b) One large Silver Chalice with a cover to it. The cover has gone and the lip of the Chalice has been repaired. The date letter is (g) 1684.
(c) One Silver Salver with the inscription,”The Legacy of Mrs. Mary Derwas to the Parish Church of Llandrinio.” The date letter is (S) 1733.
(d) One Silver Paten marked, “WD.HW” date (f) 1683.
The Registers go back to 1662.