Situated just inside the entrance gates of the Cemetery on Ruabon Road, are the twin-chapels. A central archway, with a tower and spire above, is flanked by symmetrical Gothic chapels. Their design, by local architect William Turner, consists of random rock-faced sandstone rubble with ashlar dressings and a banded slate roof with terracotta cresting. The twin-chapels are archetypal of a Victorian cemetery to cater for both Anglicans and non-conformists: the west chapel is consecrated, meaning it has been declared sacred or holy by the Anglican Church; whilst the east chapel is non-conformist, meaning it is of the Protestant faith but not conforming to the governance of the established Church.
The chapels were designated as Grade II listed buildings in 1994. Preceeding the restoration project their urgent need of improvement placed them on the At Risk Register and due to safety concerns they were closed to the public. The grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund has seen the restoration of the chapels and lodge.
The Cemetery Lodge
The Lodge, which is to the west of the main entrance, was built as a superintendent’s residence and office. It consists of two storeys, with an office and 2 reception rooms downstairs and a bathroom and 2 bedrooms upstairs. It has been built using random rubble stone with ashlar dressing. Like the Chapels, the lodge is also Grade II listed.
The lodge is rented privately and is unavailable for internal viewing.
Close to the Grade II* listed Cemetery Chapels lies a hidden secret known to only a few – a wartime mortuary.
It is one of the better-known landmarks on the approach to Wrexham. In the grounds of the Grade II* listed cemetery lies a hidden secret known to only a few. As locals and visitors to the town pass a wartime MORTUARY. Now home to nothing more than dust and spiders, it was intended… for the dead. During the Second World War this building acted as a mortuary over spill for the hospital.
Victims of bomb attacks and fires were brought here when there was no room at the hospital, unknown to the public who wandered merely feet past it.
Passed by hundreds of people every day as they go about their daily routines, but its true significance lies in the ideals it stood for.
Sources: Text – Wrexham Cemetery Stories; Graham Lloyd. Photographs – Graham Lloyd.