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Rug Chapel and Llangar Church

Religiously glorious in glorious technicolor

Rug Chapel

Religiously glorious in glorious technicolor. Never judge a chapel, or a church for that matter, by its exterior. Step inside 17th-century Rug Chapel and prepare to be wowed by its decorative flourishes. If you’re a fan of minimalism, you may want to take a deep breath before entering.

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Its founder, the arch-Royalist Colonel William Salesbury, created a private chapel complete with high church pretensions and a zany style to counter Puritanical notions of the time.


You can never have enough wood carvings or rose motifs. Colonel Salesbury was mad for them, whether it was on the altar rails, family pews, painted gallery or bench ends. A real show-off in wood. It certainly grabbed the attention of Sir Edwin Lutyens. For reference, look up his Viceroy’s House in New Delhi, India.

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Llangar Church

Llangar Church, a mile or so away, is a few centuries older in construction than Rug. Its whitewashed appearance cloaks a master of disguise. Inside, the 15th-century wall paintings still survive, thanks in part to the church making way for a new place of worship in Cynwyd in the 1850s.

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There’s also rather gruesomely an 18th-century figure of death on the walls. Who said church was all about fun?

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Attraction in Rug, Nr. Corwen, Denbighshire

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