Leicester's Church – Denbigh, Wales - Atlas Obscura

Leicester's Church

Also known as "Leicester's Folly," this almost cathedral was left unfinished and in ruins.  

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St David’s Church, more commonly known as Leicester’s Church or “Leicester’s Folly” was designed to be the first great Protestant church constructed in Britain following the Reformation.

The church takes its nickname from Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester and Baron of Denbigh, who was responsible for its construction. It was originally intended to be a Protestant cathedral and a replacement for St Hilary’s Chapel.

However, funds for the project ran dry around 1584, partly due to the unpopularity of Dudley. Also, money designated for construction was used to pay for a military campaign in Ireland. It’s also believed that many locals opposed the building of the church. 

Following Dudley’s death in 1588, the project was completely abandoned. The church was left as a roofless ruin standing as a testament to one man’s unrealized ambition, hence its nickname. What remains of the structure is now a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Know Before You Go

GPS: 53°10'55.9"N, 3°25'08.4"W. The ruins are found just down the hill from Denbigh Castle. There is no access to the interior of the ruins.

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