St Peter's Church, Ruthin
St Peter's Church, Ruthin

St Peter's is a lovely late 13th/early 14th century church with a double nave and camberbeam roofs. Alterations occurred in the 14th century, and a 19th century steeple was added. The church is tucked away on one side of the old market square of Ruthin, behind a set of marvellous gilded wrought iron gates.

The gates were made in 1727 by Robert and John Davies brothers of Bersham, who also built the main gates at Chirk Castle.

As for the church itself, it dates to 1310, when John de Grey founded a college of 7 priests headed by a Warden. The college had a chancel and nave with a central tower. The nave of that original building is now the north nave.

The glory of Ruthin, the wooden roof, was added in the 16th century. Tradition says that the roof was brought from Basingwerk Abbey when the abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII, but there is no proof to support the tradition.

The roof is decorated with painted bosses with floral designs, heraldic symbols, and carved heads, and the overall effect is quite stunning. If the roof was indeed originally installed at Basingwerk, the monks at Basingwerk certainly lived in style!

Near the organ is a 17th century oak chest used by the churchwarden. Behind the organ is a 14th century piscina set into the wall. There are several interesting wall monuments, but one of the most striking is that of Gabriel Goodman, Dean of Westminster Abbey (1561-1601).

It was Goodman who re-founded the college, as well as establishing Ruthin School. His painted bust sits within a simple, arched opening. Another interesting memorial is a scrolled plaque to John (d. 1655) and Martha Wynne, who outlived him by 39 years!

There are also two very nice 16th century memorial brasses. These are all interesting features, but the real treasure here is the marvellous roof.