ST TECLA’S CHURCH
The first church on this site was probably built in the early mediaeval period. In 1273 it was regarded as a chapelry of Llangollen and belonged to Valle Crucis Abbey. The original mediaeval church was slightly smaller than the current church and the projecting plinth at the east end is possibly the only remaining trace of the original.
The church was rebuilt in 1866 at the expense of Margaret, Lady Willoughby de Broke, the benefactress of the Marble Church at Bodelwyddan. The architect was most probably John Gibson who designed the Marble Church.
The church in Llandegla is dedicated to St Tecla of Iconium. Iconium is the modern Konya in Turkey. Tecla was converted to Christianity by St Paul. Her shrine is in Ma’aloulah, Syria and it is thought that her story was brought to this area by Christian Roman soldiers from that country and hence the dedication of the church.
The glass of the east window was made for the east window of St Asaph Cathedral in 1799 by Francis Eginton of Birmingham. The restoration of the Cathedral and the building of St Tecla’s Church coincided and this led to the glass being transferred from the Cathedral to Llandegla. It is a rare example of painted or enamelled glass. It has been suggested that it depicts Christ having a vision of his passion and also that it portrays his ascension.
The stained glass window in the north wall of the nave is in memory of Glyn Price Jones and Francis Campbell Jones who were killed in the Second World War.
The font is considerably older than the current church building and may well have been in the old mediaeval church since it also dates back to mediaeval times. Note the traditional octagonal shape and the carvings.
It is about 800 years ago since churches were first required by law to have a chest. The one in St Tecla’s church is of a plank construction and therefore nowhere near that old. Church chests were provided for the security of documents, church valuables and robes.
The brass chandelier is Flemish. It dates from the mid to late 15th century and may well have come from Valle Crucis Abbey. The figure in the centre depicts the Virgin Mary in prayer. A similar chandelier can be found in Llanarmon Parish Church.
A welcome gift to St Tecla’s Church in 2010 was the icon of St Tecla which can be seen on the east wall, to the north of the window. On a visit to the Convent of St Mary & St Tecla in Ma’aloula, a town in Syria, The Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph, was asked to bring it as a gift to St Tecla’s Church, Llandegla by the nuns who care for St Tecla’s shrine.
Near the south west corner of the church is a sundial. This is in the form of a sandstone pillar on a round base. The original dial on the top of the pillar was stolen some years ago but has been replaced.
In the churchyard is buried Ehedydd Iâl a Welsh bard who wrote a book of poems and hymns entitled Blodau Ial and published in 1898.
Opposite the church is the school. The famous Welsh author Tegla Davies was a pupil here. He is well known for his writings and essays.
ST TECLA’S WELL
This is situated downhill from the church and a signpost indicates the way across a field on the left hand side. St Tecla was renowned for her ministry to the sick. St Tecla’s well was traditionally visited by pilgrims suffering from epilepsy. Roman coins and artefacts have been found at the well during archaeological excavations.