Workmen restoring a Flintshire church came across a surprise discovery when they pulled up a carpet as part of a £190,000 renovation project.
Tiling in vivid reds, yellows and greens, a beautiful array of fine Victorian mosaics, as well as a wall memorial dated 1732, were all discovered during the work at St Michael’s in Caerwys.
Covered in thick glue, workmen discovered the mosaic when they pulled up the 40-year-old maroon carpet as part of the two-year project.
The church will be formally re-dedicated by the Bishop of St Asaph on Sunday.
Discussions to overhaul St Michael’s started more than four years ago. It was another two years before work could begin on repairs to the roof, but the major internal work only got under way earlier this year.
It has been overseen by Roland Ward, project manager at St Michael’s, who said: “When the contractors lifted a 40-year-old maroon carpet in the chancel, they discovered the Victorian encaustic tiling and a beautiful array of fine mosaics which date from a restoration in 1896.
“The tiles and the mosaics were covered in a thick layer of adhesive, and many of the mosaic pieces came up with the carpet. The contractors carefully cleaned the mosaics and tiles, and re-fitted them.
“In addition, work on the toilet uncovered a wall memorial dated 1732 to ‘Honest Richard Foulk’ of Ysceifiog. Rather than cover up Honest Richard’s memorial, it’s now a spotlighted feature above the washbasin.”
The revamped church now includes an internal toilet and baby changing facility and a new kitchen replaces the external tap.
In addition, the previously dark interior has been lifted by fitting glazed external doors, and replacing heavy carpet with the renovated original woodblock flooring.
The Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, will be present at the church for the re-dedication along with architect, Robin Wolley, contractor Gareth Williams, project manager Roland Ward and the Archdeacon of St Asaph and vicar of St Michael’s, the Rev John Lomas.
The service is on Sunday at 11am and is open to everyone.
The Bishop, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, said: “I’m delighted to be blessing the church as it moves ahead, better equipped to serve the needs of both its congregation and the local community.
“What started as a repair project for some routine improvements became something special, which has created a warm, light and inspiring church where people can easily see and hear what’s going on and can worship in comfort.
“The incorporation of the beautifully restored Victorian mosaics and tiling have transformed the appearance of the chancel.”