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Site 32c

Denbigh

St. Hilary’s Chapel

One of the few surviving ancient buildings within the town walls - nearby ‘Bryn Awelon’ (private) is probably the only remaining medieval house - is the 14th century tower of St. Hilary’s: the rest of the church was demolished in 1923. It was built for the inhabitants of the castle and fortified borough (whose official parish church was over a mile away at St. Marcella’s) but continued to serve the new town until Victorian times. Leicester’s Church (32d), whose ruins stand nearby, was intended to replace St. Hilary’s. The only large new church founded in Britain during the Elizabethan period, it was begun in 1578 -9 for Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and Lord of Denbigh - a favourite of Queen Elizabeth, but perhaps the most violently unpopular man in North Wales. Only fives years later, ‘by reason of the public hatred he had incurred (by) his tyranny’, Leicester abandoned the building, which was never completed. Its remains show that it would have been a big plain rectangular church, designed for the strictly Protestant worship which Leicester favoured.

Further away, at the northern extremity of the later medieval town outside the walls, stands Denbigh Friary (32e). Founded in 1289 for Carmelite ‘White Friars@, the shell of its church largely survives, with a large traceried, east window.

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