Quest Number Eighteen: The Templar Sites of North Wales
Day Four: 15th January 2017
- St Thomas Church: Rhyll
- St Marchellos: Whitchurch, Denbigh
- St Asaph Cathedral: Denbighshire
Beautiful Colwyn Bay at dusk
Rhyl: is a seaside resort town in the historic county of Denbigshire, situated on the north east coast of Wales, on the mouth of the River Clwyd. To the west is the suburb of Kinmel Bay, with the resort of Towyn further west, Prestatyn to the east and Rhuddlan to the south. At the 2011 census, Rhyl had a population of 25,149. Rhyl has long been a popular tourist destination for people from all over Britain. Once an elegant Victorian resort, there was an influx of people from Liverpool and Manchester after the second world war, changing the face of the town. The area had declined dramatically by 1990, but has since improved due to a series of regeneration projects, including the sea front re-developement, bring new life to the area.
St Thomas Church: This beautiful church in Rhyl is a listed building, containing many beautiful artworks and artifacts of a symbolic nature; it is a very fine example of high Victorian Gothic. The day we arrived was a Sunday and very busy with sunday services and christenings taking place, so we kind of had to sneak in for a quick look around between these activities, trying not to disturb the proceedings at all, so of course no filming though the church staff we welcoming and frindly.
The church is fairly new at 1867, with the spire being completed in 1865 but of course older building had been on the site previously. It boasts some stunning stained glass windows, includng a depiction of ‘The Light of the World’, one of my personal favourite pieces of art.
Wood carvings inside the church looking rather interestingly like a set of Tracing Boards…
Beautiful embroidery and other stunning artworks plus the two beautiful stained glass windows depicting the following quotes…
“I am The Good Shepherd, the good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep”
“I am The Light of the World, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the Light of Life”
Bloodline connections: The Parry’s were very strong here; we had hoped for some Fords (Ffords, Ffoords) but no evidence…
St Marchellos: Whitchurch Denbigh: Following a very scenic drive we arrived at the equally scenic St Marchello’s church; a grade one listed church in the vale of Clwyd, with stunning views towards Moel Famau. The grandest of all medieval Denbighshire parish churches, St. Marcella’s (or Llanfarchell) is also known as Whitchurch or Eglwys Wen ‘the white church’, probably from its originally whitewashed exterior. Its patroness Marchell the Virgin is said to have established her hermitage by a holy well here in the 7th century, and clearly the site was honoured as especially sacred. For though it now stands alone a mile from the present town centre (and further still from the old walled town by the castle), St. Marcella’s has always been Denbigh’s parish church. As such it was lavishly rebuilt in the local double-naved form during the late 15th century, with an imposing tower and a noble range of big ‘Perpendicular’ style windows.
One can see from the style of building that this is a true Templar church
Happily we were able walk straight inside this very beautiful Templar church, which stands upon a hillside commanding magnificant views across the countryside. The church is very old and one gets a real sense of history and peace within it. The ravages of time always take their toll on these old building yet thankfully much is left here to appreciate, including some depictions of some very unusual animal carvings…
Our video clip will show and explain more and the photos show many details
Many treasures to be found inside St Marchello’s Church (click on image to view)
- The connections here are of Gabrielle Parry of 1613, who was the Vicar here, and then from 1290 Henry de Clerk; both noteworthy finds.
- Saint Marchello herself was what would be known as a pilgrim, but who was she really and where did she come from? I am reminded of a little church in Cormwall; similar names…
St Asaph Cathedral: And so we had reached the last part of the journey of this particular quest to North Wales. St Asaph’s cathedral is in the centre of the town and dates back 1,400 years, though the current building dates from the 13th century. It is sometimes claimed to be the smallest Anglican cathedral in Great Britain. A church was originally built on or near the site by Saint Kentigern in the 6th century. Saint Asa (or Asaph) a grandson of Paba Post Prydain, followed after this date. The earliest parts of the present building date from the 13th century when a new building was begun on the site after the original stone cathedral was burnt by King Edward 1 in 1282; this present building being established in 1285.
It is certainly a magnificant building yet not overwhelming or overpowering in it’s pressence at all and luckily it was open to us on this late afternoon visit, so time for a perfect look around. There are some interesting pieces of artwork and evidence of certain names from the bloodline we are researching, so good finds. Beautiful and meaningful works of art can be found here relating to the Knights Templar, John the Baptist and The Lamb of God etc. Certainly a beautiful catherdral with a very peaceful and serene atmosphere. All shown and explained on the video and photos.
Click to enlarge and view image
- The Bloodline connection here is to the Clarke’s, the Parry’s and Perry’s.
- Displayed is a copy of one of Alek’s ancestors bible’s; the bible of Richard Parry, from Alek’s mother’s side.
So a very fitting end to a very memorable quest in a beautiful country; there were two sites we did not gain access too and one further site; Worcester Cathedral, which we paid a brief visit to on the journey home.
- Worcester Catherdral: Worcester
- Travel Home
Worcester Cathedral: And so the last part of the North Wales puzzle makes itself known; we arrived in Worcester rather late in the day, as an extra treat on out journey home. However we knew the building to be open until 6pm and we just made it by the skin of our teeth. An evening service was going on as we arrived, though visitors were still welcomed with parts of the cathedral made out of bounds while the service was going on. However afterwards, a few minutes were still available to walk around the altar area of the cathedral, despite rope cordens being hasilty erected and an over-zealous chief chorester trying to evict us dead on 6pm, at the poing of us viewing the altar…. We did manage some stunning photos though and see clear evidence of the ‘Clarke’ bloodline here.
Worcester Cathedral, before the English Reformation was known as Worcester Priory. An Anglican Cathedral in Worcester, England it is situated on a bank overlooking the River Severn. It is the seat of the Bishop of Worcester; it’s official name is ‘The Cathedral Church of Christ and the Blessed Mary the Virgin of Worcester’. Built between 1084 and 1504, Worcester Cathedral represents every style of English architecture from Norman Perpendicular Gothic. It is famous for it’s Norman crypt and unique chapter house, it’s unusual Transitional Gothic bays, it’s fine woodwork and its “exquisite” central tower (see above photos)
The interior of Worcester Cathedral showing off it’s stunning Gothic designs – click on image to enlarge
What is now the Cathedral was founded in 680 as a Priory with Bishop Bosel at it’s head. The first priory was built in this period, but sadly nothing now remains of it. The crypt of the present-day cathedral dates from the 10th century and the time of St Oswold, Bishop of Worcester. Monks and nuns had been present at the Priory since the seventh century and the monastery became Benedictine in the second half of the tenth century although dates do vary here. There is an important connection with Fleury Abbey in France, as Oswald the bishop of Worcester from 961 to 992 and prior at the same time, was professed at Fleury and introduced the monastic rule of Fleury to Worcester. Remains of the Priory dating from the 12th and 13th centuries can still be seen. The Priory came to an end with King Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monastries and thus the Benedictine monks were removed on 18 January 1540 and replaced by secular canons.
It is worth noting that Henry Parry; of the Parry line we are researching and Alek’s own family bloodline, was Bishop of Worcester here from 1610 to 1616 as the plaque below will testify. he was a very important and highly values person of his time.
A example of some of the Templar influenced artifacts and carvings and the Parry and Clarke connections found inside Worcester Cathedral
- Upon the war memorial we have several Clarkes ver cleary indicated.
- Th Bishop of Worcester from 1610 to 1616 was indeed Henry Parry no less.
The Clarke and Parry connection
Sadly we never managed to gain access to St Paul’s Church, Colwyn Bay or St Mary’s Church, Menai Bridge due to the late hour of the day when we arrived, nevertheless i have included some info on them anyway for those interested in tracking our quests. However i was unable to document or photo any bloodline evidence at this current point in time due to not gaining access; although the sites are definitlely on the ‘points of time’
Across Colwyn Bay at night; an apt farewell to an amazing quest in time…
January 2017 ‘The Keeper of Scrolls’
Take a look at the new Priory webpage too: http://priory7.wixsite.com/priory
“The Grail Kingship is within the realm of impossibilities”