St David’s Church (aka Leicester’s Church), Denbigh
St David’s or Leicester’s Church in Denbigh dates from 1578 – 1579. Intended to be a new Cathedral Church for the St Asaph dioceses it is thought to have been the largest church built in the Elizabethan Age, or would have been if it ad been completed. Built by the unpopular Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester (Born 24 June 1532 – Died 4 September 1588), work was stopped in 1584 due to financial problems and never restarted. The ruin is still visible today within the old town walls.
It would appear that the unfinished church may have attracted a legend explaining its ruined state. Elias Owen in his ‘Welsh folk-lore’ (1887) tells us that ‘there is a tradition connected with Old St. David’s Church, Denbigh, recorded in Gee’s Guide to Denbigh, that the building could not be completed, because whatever portion was finished in the day time was pulled down and carried to another place at night by some invisible hand, or supernatural power.’ This is sometimes blamed on the Devil.
We should note that Denbigh also had a much later St David’s Church which was built around 1838. This church was demolished in 1894 and a second one built upon its site.