On top of this loft, the rood would have been erected – a crucifix, flanked by figures of the Virgin Mary and St John the Evangelist. Tantalisingly, the socket for the rood is still visible.
St Mary’s is a medieval church within a circular churchyard in the rural village of Derwen in North Wales.
It’s famous for two relics of the 15th century – the churchyard cross with its intricate biblical sculptures (which we don’t own) and, inside the church (which we do), the late Gothic style rood screen and rare, elaborately panelled, loft above.
The screen dominates the single-cell interior of this 15th century church – giving some idea of how important it was to the medieval mind. It’s believed that the priest would have read the gospel from the rood loft during Holy Week.
The church underwent modest restoration in the Victorian period.
Derwen Church is grade I listed and came into our care in 2002.
In the churchyard you will notice a very fine fifteenth century churchyard preaching cross depicting the coronation of the Virgin, the Crucifixion, the Virgin and the Child and an angel with scales assumed to be St Michael. Please note that the cross, the churchyard and the lychgate with schoolroom above are still the responsibility of the parish and are not owned by the Friends of Friendless Churches.
Tip: Only four miles away is Rug Chapel, an extravagently decorated 17th century private chapel (cared for by CADW).