St Mary’s and All Saints Church

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Surrounded by a graveyard, the church is in the centre of the walled town of Conwy. It was originally the church of a Cistercian Abbey of Aberconwy. Conwy was the power house of the Princes of Wales and many of them were buried here.

When Edward I built his castle and walled town, he moved the abbey up river to Maenan. The abbey church was rebuilt as the parish church for the fortified borough.

There is a tall battlemented tower at the west end. The long low nave has small round clerestory windows with a quatrefoil design and lower side aisles. There is a south transept and timber frame north porch.

It is a big church inside with octagonal pillars and low pointed arches separating nave and side aisles, and a wood barrel ceiling. At the back of the church is an early Tudor font, set on what might have been the base of a village cross.

The beautiful 1500s rood screen has a panelled base with delicately carved tracery above with fan vaulting below the loft. Along the top is a carved border with grapes, roses, birds, dragons and Prince of Wales feathers. The choir stalls are of a similar date and have carved fronts, sides and poppyheads. Behind the altar is a wooden reredos with carved panels and open fretwork border.

Near the altar is the table tomb of Robert Wynne, builder of Plas Mawr (see review), who died in 1598. It is set set under a stone arch, carved with his coat of arms. On the wall is a memorial to John Wynne, who died in 1637.

The floor of the chancel is covered with old grave slabs, including one to Nicholas Hookes, 41st child of his father and who fathered 27 children.

A simple parclose screen encloses a small chapel at the end of the north aisle with a small alter and reredos.

On the south wall are two lancet windows with Burne Jones glass.

The church is kept locked, although a key is available from the Vicarage Monday-Friday, 10-5. This is the building on Rose Hill Street to the north of the church and is reached from the graveyard.

It is a pleasant church and the rood screen ranks as one of the best in Wales.

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