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Church of St Eleth

Street Name and Number: Stryd y Frenhines (Queen Street),
Listed Building Reference: 5427
Grade: II*
Date Listed: 25/10/1951
Date Amended: 12/12/2000
Co-ordinates: 244224,392950
Locality: Amlwch
Community: Amlwch
Council: Isle of Anglesey
National Park: No

Location
Set back, within an irregularly shaped churchyard, from the E side of Queen Street in the centre of the town of Amlwch.

History
Earlier church buildings are recorded within the present churchyard, but the building of the existing church reflects local prosperity after the opening of the Parys Mountain copper mines in 1768. Most of the funds for the new church, which was consecrated in 1800, came from the Copper Mines Company. Deemed to be in need of improvement by 1867 (perhaps not least because the Neo-classical preaching-box form of the original did not suit High Victorian theology), the church was lightly remodelled by Henry Kennedy: galleries were removed, arcades and a chancel arch inserted, and gothic tracery installed in the existing windows. The church was restored and some internal re-ordering was carried out to the designs of Adam Voelcker, in 1999-2000.

Interior
West gallery, baptistry and flanking meeting rooms introduced in 1999 alterations. The articulation of the church as nave and aisles is the result of the C19 restoration, which introduced 3-bay arcades. These have double chamfered arches on octagonal shafts with moulded bases and capitals, and are sprung from corbels with superimposed carved heads at the west end. Chancel created in C19 by subdividing the E end to form shallow chancel with flanking chapel and organ chamber (the organ removed for re-siting on gallery). Chancel arch springs from the more ornate eastern responds of the arcade, and the side arches are sprung from corbels with superimposed carved hands. Original moulded cornices survive to N and S. Above the simple plastered ceilings, the original roof structure survives intact, with a close-spaced series of braced king-post and collar trusses, entirely independent of the arcade below. Simple stained glass emblems in east window (later C19). A series of memorial stones mainly re-sited from an earlier church include Captain David Lloyd of Llwydiarth, 1651 (strapwork framing and a shield of arms), Howell Lewis of Gwredog, d1683, William and Anne Lewis of Trysglwyn, d1743 and 1744. In the base of the tower is late C16 slab tombstone found in the churchyard. In the sanctuary, a marble and mosaic memorial to Jane Pritchard, and her son Thomas Lewis, d1914.

Exterior
Neo-classical church (with some late gothic elements) comprising broad-spanned nave clasping west tower. Roughly coursed and graded rubble with tooled ashlar dressings; shallow pitched slate roof. Tower forms centrepiece to pedimented west wall of nave, the whole articulated by angle pilasters. Tower has simple arched west entrance with oculus above: the foiled tracery in this feature is a later C19 introduction. Clock above, and louvred bell-chamber lights in the upper stage. Fine balustraded parapet has angle piers surmounted by shaped pinnacles. West windows to main body of church set high. Perpendicular tracery introduced in original openings. Return elevations of nave have angle pilasters, plinth and string-course, and modillion cornice. Round-arched windows in ashlar surrounds with inserted plate tracery (possibly a modern renewal of a C19 feature). E end is pedimented by a string course across the gable and a continuation of the modillion cornice, its shallow arched window appears to be of c1800, but again with tracery inserted at a later date, an elaborate tow-tier, 5-light scheme.

Reason for Listing
Listed as a Grade II* as a substantially Neo-classical church retaining much of its original architectural character. The lightness of its Victorian restoration left the original fabric and much of the detail intact, and traces changing attitudes to church layout and style without obliterating the character of the original. The church is historically important for its association with the copper mining which enriched this area at the end of the C18.

References
Bennett Hughes J, History of St Eleth Church, Amlwch, 1958.