The Chirk churchyard site is possibly an old Welsh ‘Llan’ (a walled enclosure, containing a chapel, hermits’ huts and burials). References to a burial yard in Chirk dedicated to St Tysillio (a 7th Century Welsh saint) precede any references to a church, but doubtless a wooden church existed here before the Normans built a stone church on this site in the early 11th century. The name changed in the 15th century to St Mary’s.
The churchyard was extended in 1882 and 1903 by gifts from the Myddleton family and similarly in 1905 by a gift from the Trevor family, to provide space for more burials.
Trevor vault lies adjacent to the East wall of the church, delineated by old iron railings.
Maude grave: lies on the south side of the churchyard. Rev. Joseph was vicar from 1852-1874 and was responsible for building the massive stone vicarage on Trevor Road. His wife, Mary, wrote the hymn ‘Thine for ever, God of Love’ and she wrote the graphic account of the fire in the church on Christmas Day 1853.
Middleton Monuments: 3 large Celtic cross memorials are along the pathway which transverses the churchyard.
Trevor mausoleum: The angel statue inside contains the vault of 5 year old Moyra.
The Western side of the churchyard was cleared of grave stones in 1970’s. Some of these will be seen on the paths and near the church hall.
Lych-gate: This was erected in 1923 as a memorial to two doctors who were responsible for the foundation of Chirk Hospital.
Many volunteers have worked hard in the churchyard over the years. We were formerly set up with the help of Sacred Space in 2009.
We meet regularly every Friday 2-5pm with a tea and biscuit break. We discuss and plan and work together on projects. The churchyard is very large. Our main aims are to maintain and enhance the natural history and historical interest whilst presenting an attractive and cared for appearance. We have been implementing a cutting regime which is manageable for our team.
This year we have been judged by RHS Wales in Bloom “It’s your Neighbourhood”, for which we are awaiting the results. However, we have recently heard that we were given top marks for our community project and awarded the “Green Flag Community Award 2016/2017” as part of Keep Wales Tidy.
We are very proud to keep this wonderful open space for Chirk community and visitors to the area. Of course, we are also very proud of the wildlife we encourage in our churchyard as well!
Our full and varied list of jobs keep us busy throughout the year. We love to welcome new volunteers; if anyone would like to help, either on a regular basis or just for one-off events such as bulb planting, please contact Ferelith Smith on 01691 773487.
Come and look or join us here at Chirk.