The private chapel of Colonel William Salusbury was built in 1637 and dedicated to the Holy Trinity, but it is known by the place were it is set Rug in Northern Wales. From the outside it looks like a small church nothing unique, something that you could easily just pass by with nothing more maybe than a comment along the lines of ‘what a sweet little church’ …
as we went through the gate and approached the west door, the cross didn’t give away any clues either…
opening the door which I posted on this blog last week you enter a small dark porch, with wooden doors in front of you and a rickety stairway to the left, we headed up the stairs and onto the small balcony.
My eyes were drawn upwards …
then to the lower roof panels all around the walls each one different …
the interior is a gem frozen in time, most of it is original all of it is a surprise.
In the sanctuary there are two canopied pews covered in decoration, and although the screen was added in 1854 either someone has used paneling from a previous screen or painstakingly copied the style and colouring of the rest of the paintwork. The pulpit to the far left was added at a later date, with little attempt to match the previous style.
At the base of four of the roof trusses there are these naive wooden angels, all four slightly different (why the gift shop wasn’t selling small ones of these, or indeed small wooden plaques copying some of the panels, I don’t know, another marketing missed.)
And long before it became the fashion to paint stars and space ships on Cathedral ceilings, Rug has a sky filled with a host of angels on its sanctury ceiling. Reminded me a bit of a scrap-book I once had has a child!
The balcony too is painted and hanging in front of it, from the central roof truss, is a painted wooden candelabrum with four painted angles at the top of it.
It is an incredible place and unless you had the proper lighting photographs just can’t do it justice.
The pews, while not painted are still unique, they remind me of sleighs – in fact the whole church reminded me of some churches we had seen in Norway. While the backs of the pews had been added in the late 19th century along with widening the front one to turn it into a pew, the carvings are original. Unlike the Victorian tiles and stained glass, which although lovely is out-of-place and did make me wonder what the original windows and flooring was like, but either nobody knows or those that do aren’t telling.
This really is a gem of a place and if you are in North Wales then it is well worth making a trip to see it, there are two other companion chapels which we didn’t manage to get to see, ran out of time – again! Llangar Church and graveyard with remains of some early 14th century wall paintings, a late medieval roof and almost complete 18th century church fittings. Also Gwydir Uchaf Chapel (now there’s Welsh for you) the private chapel of the Wynn family, it has a roof which is, similar style if a little less naive and of a different design to Rug Chapel and dates from 1673. We will be seeing them next time, but if you get to them first let me know how you get on, please.