Was St Chad Welsh?

The church in Hanmer is dedicated to St Chad. It lies n the North East corner of Wales, in Wrexham Maelor, near the Cheshire and Shropshire borders. Across the border lie churches dedicated to St Chad at Prees in Shropshire and Farndon in Cheshire. At Holt, on the Welsh bank of the River Dee, St Chad’s Church has musket marks on its walls from Civil War conflict. These churches celebrate foundation by St Chad in about 670 AD. In Hanmer, St Chad, in a magnificent window by Charles Eamer Kempe, holds his cathedral of Lichfield in his hand. In Holt, a similar window has St Chad holding a later rebuild of the church he founded and has a panel showing St Chad’s red and white cross.

Chad Crest

Chad Cross Holt


Across the border into Cheshire or Shropshire are other churches dedicated to St Chad. It is recorded that as Bishop of Lichfield the humble St Chad set out to take the Christian faith to the edges of his diocese. In the Celtic tradition, in which he had been brought up, he insisted on making all his journeys on foot, following the example of the Apostles. On foot he may never have reached the western edge of his vast diocese in present-day Wales. The tradition is that Archbishop Theodore gave him a horse, lifted him bodily onto it and told him to ride.

St Chad was a Celt. He was born in Northumbria. He visited Wales only briefly. But for three years he was Bishop of a diocese that included a large area of Wales. As such he is an honorary Welshman: probably enough to justify inclusion in the Welsh soccer squad but perhaps not enough for Cardiff Arms Park. A visit to Hanmer and Holt will find two churches open daily with information to enhance visit or pilgrimage.

Entered 27th November 2014 last updated 19th October 2018 by Bill