In 1853, he was commissioned to rebuild the church at Trefnant, three miles south of St. Asaph. Although Scott’s restoration of Ellesmere Church in Shropshire in 1847 was largely financed by Lord Ellesmere, there was also a big contribution from Charles Kynaston Mainwaring (1803-1861) of nearby Oteley Park. In 1853 Mainwaring’s wife decided, with her sister, also Mrs Mainwaring, that they would rebuild Trefnant church as a memorial to their parents, Colonel and Mrs. Salusbury, who had lived close to Trefnant at Galltfaenan Hall. The Mainwarings had large estates in Shropshire, Cheshire and Wales, and the two Mrs Mainwarings spared no expense on a memorial church to their parents. Presumably knowing about Worsley through the Ellesmere connection, they asked Scott to provide an equally impressive monument as an expression of their grief.
The foundation stone of Trefnant was laid in 1853, and the work completed in 1855, at a cost of just under £4,000. It is an exact contemporary with St. Paul’s, Dundee, and St. Andrew’s, Westminster, and like these two buildings, it is a Geometric style hall-church, although in a diminutive form, with north porch and south chapel. Five tall aisle windows, set in gables, provide the only light to the nave which is flanked by arcades of highly polished Anglesey marble columns with very ornate naturalistic capitals based on ‘natural specimens gathered from the woods and hedges around’. These were carved by J. Blinstone of Denbigh who was sent to the Architectural Museum in London to study naturalistic French carving ‘under Mr. Scott’s direction’. The Mainwarings also commissioned Scott to design a large Early English style church at Bromborough, in Cheshire, in 1862, and in 1863 he built a small church at Welshampton, near Oteley, for them. Scott thus obtained at least three churches and a school from the Mainwarings, and Townshend was also involved in the restoration of St. Asaph’s Cathedral.
Thomas, D. R., History of the Diocese of St Asaph (Oswestry, 1906-13), vol. I, p. 207, vol. II, p. 63.
The Builder, 1855.
John Williams’ Ancient and Modern Denbigh, cited Read, B., Victorian Sculpture (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1984), pp. 266, 394.
Hubbard, E., Clwyd, Buildings of Wales (Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1986), p. 289.
Cole, D., The Work of Sir Gilbert Scott (The Architectural Press, London, 1980), p. 57.
National Library of Wales, SA/CR/96.