The History of St. Mary's Church here in Towyn!
The church, dedicated to St. Mary was consecrated on 17th June 1873. Along with the adjoining building (now a Nursing Home)and nearby school (now a Youth Club) the church was founded by Robert Bamford Hesketh of Gwrych Castle, Abergele, his daughter the Countess of Dundonald being the first patron.
The style of the church is a copy of the early decorative period from a design by G.E.Street, R.A., a renowned Victorian Architect, and the church is now listed as a Grade 2* building of notable interest.
The church comprises a gable bell tower, which rises above the choir and is lighted by Louvre windows breaking the outline of the roof, which is itself varied in colour by slates laid in a diaper pattern.The interior comprises a nave and north aisle of four bays, choir with organ chamber and chancel. Entrance to the church is gained through a south porch and via the Vestry door at the north east angle of the church. This is adjacent to the Cloister; this used to connect thechurch with the former Vicarage, but was blocked up following the sale of the Vicarage in the 1980’s. A finely carved stone reredos (by Earp) depicts the Crucifixion with the Maries, St.John and Roman Soldiers flanked by arcading inlaid with tiles, occupies the east wall. The colouring of the reredos was undertaken in 1950. Either side of the altar there are two niches now faced with wooden frames and painted, on one side with the figure of St. David our Patron Saint and an angel and, on the other side, with a figure of St. Asaph and an angel representing our Diocese.
Above the altar is the three light Te Deum window by Hardman, an allegorical representation of the Adoration of our Lord by the Church Triumphant as represented by her saints and martyrs. The Good Shepherd and Virgin Mother are represented by two other stained glass windows. The large picture on the south wall depicts “Christ Blessing the Children”.
Towyn suffered major flooding in February 1990 causing serious damage to the fabric of the building. It is still possible to see where the water settled for several days, in the soft stone around the main door frame and the area around the pulpit and organ chamber. It was necessary to replace the whole of the floor in the nave. The tiles were made specifically to the design of the original and the pattern reinstated in the re-laying. The nave floor tiles are now covered, but it is possible to see the original Godwin’s Lugwardine floor tiling in the chancel and choir area and around the high altar.
The embossed communion plate is by Hardman whilst the organ is by Hill and Son of London. (based upon an extract from ‘A history of the Diocese of St.Asaph’ by Rev. D.R. Thomas, M.A. Rector of St. Mary’s Cefn and published in 1874