Extravagant private chapel of an arch Royalist who clung to the old ways
Walk through the beautiful garden of herbs, roses and lavender towards simple stone Rug Chapel with its little arched doorway – and prepare to be amazed.
Inside are wonders out of all proportion to the plain exterior. As your eyes adjust to the atmospheric lighting you’ll see fantastic carved animals adorning the walls and benches – scaly dragons, serpents and other strange whimsical monsters.
Above you the magnificent carved roof is painted in a glorious flowing floral design and four cut-out wooden angels guard the scene. Every surface seems to be a riot of colour or extravagant decoration.
Rug is one of very few 17th-century churches to avoid the ‘restorers’ of the Victorian Gothic revival. It was the private chapel of Colonel William Salesbury, affectionately known as ‘Hen Hosanau Gleision’ or Old Blue Stockings.
He was a staunch Royalist who defended nearby Denbigh Castle for six bitter months during the Civil War before reluctantly surrendering to parliamentary forces. While others embraced simpler forms of worship, he prayed here in high church splendour.
Old Blue Stockings died at the age of 80 having lived just long enough to see the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 – so perhaps his prayers were answered.
Travel to Rug Chapel by train
Nearest Station: Wrexham
4min walk to bus stop > 1hr bus ride from station > 15min walk to site - view map