St Mary the Virgin, Halkyn

A brief history of the parish and its church

The present church was built by the Duke of Westminster who at that time owned Halkyn Castle.  The church was consecrated on the 29th October, 1878.

The previous church, which was located a few hundred yards to the south, was demolished to improve the view from the Castle, following the building of the present church.

Halkyn is one of the ancient parishes of Flintshire and there has been a church here for at least 800 years.

Workmen outside the new St Mary’s c1878

St, Mary’s, Halkyn is the largest of the Halkyn Mountain Churches and has a capacity of around 330 which can be expanded by additional seating It also has the benefit of its own organ and organist.

St. Mary’s is a listed building, situated on the eastern side of Halkyn Mountain and with fantastic views over the river Dee and it’s estuary. John Douglas of Chester completed it in 1878. Made of local sandstone, it was given as a gift to the parish by the Duke of Westminster to replace the previous church that was reputedly pulled down because it spoilt the view. St. Mary’s has the unique features of polished crinoidal limestone pillars and a beautiful font carved of similar material. It also has many striking stained glass windows. The church is generally maintained in good condition and has an active church community to fundraise and help to maintain it.

St Mary’s is situated on Halkyn Hill, on the outskirts of the small village of Halkyn and serves the villages of Halkyn and Pentre Halkyn. It is a lively community and there are many church activities, often held in Halkyn Parish Hall which has, though grant funding, been extensively modernised to a very high standard.

The Church grounds, which are spacious, are surrounded by good looking stone walls. There is a church graveyard which is full, and a community graveyard which has capacity.

An interesting feature close by Halkyn Church grounds is the ancient burial grounds of the old church, known locally as the pirates graveyard which is a site of historical interest and draws many visitors.

There is a peal of six bells in Halkyn and more details can be found here.

Inside the church are many interesting features not least of which is the use of so-called “Halkyn marble”.  This was quarried locally and is a highly polished form of limestone containing thousands of fossils.  The font, pulpit footing, pillars and parts of the wall at the chancel steps and made from this material.

Also of interest is the rheredos which has a central panel depicting the last supper while on each side are further panels with the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed.

 

The oak construction of the roof is also of interested and recent replacement of the lighting has enabled this feature of the church to be picked out in more detail.

More about the historical and geological background to Halkyn and its environs can be found at this site http://www.cpat.org.uk/projects/longer/histland/holywell/hoindust.htm