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Latitude: 51.4842 / 51°29'3"N
Longitude: -3.1689 / 3°10'8"W
OS Eastings: 318930
OS Northings: 176785
OS Grid: ST189767
Mapcode National: GBR KLK.DX
Mapcode Global: VH6F7.1Y2L
Entry Name: Unitarian Church
Listing Date: 31 March 1999
Last Amended: 24 May 2002
Source ID: 21577
Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Location: Situated 50m N of the junction of West Grove with Newport Road.
Traditional County: Glamorgan
Unitarian church committee formed at Great Western Coffee Tavern in 1880. Built as Unitarian Free Christian Church at cost of £3,000 on land given by H Wodcott Thompson to design won in limited competition by E H Bruton, of Cardiff. Foundation stone laid by Ms Marion Thompson 14th October 1886. Chapel opened August 3rd, 1887. Organ presented to chapel on 17th January 1900 as memorial to James Pyke Thompson.
Red-brown brick with Ham Hill stone (very eroded) dressings. Slate ridge roof with raised centre section. Gabled building in simplified Queen Anne style with two-storey flat-roofed vestibule in front and Italianate bell-tower at NE corner. Vestibule block divided into three sections by stone pilasters - single-storey stone porch at N end in front of bell-tower, then 3-bay centre section with small rectangular windows and floating pediments to ground floor and tall, segmental-headed windows with attenuated modillions between to upper floor, and, at S end, single bay with long fenestrated recess with lower panel inscribed with date '1886', rectangular window at mid-level and circular window at upper level. Chapel end wall set back at rear of vestibule; with corner pilasters and 3-light central window incorporating small stone pediment below round-headed arch, and dutch gable crowned by stone pediment. Corner bell-tower projects forward of chapel and is in four stages; upper stage is in stone with round-headed openings to each side, rounded corners and wide, overhanging roof cornice with pediments to each side. Side walls of building divided into bays by brick pilasters with rectangular 2-light windows to ground floor and round-headed 2-light windows to upper floor.
Side door from street into entrance hall with steps down to hall and 3 steps up to first landing of open well stone stairs incorporating stone balustrading, and up to spacious vestibule on first floor. Rectangular chapel with walls of dark red-brown brick and stone detailing. Front wall divided into three bays by stone pilasters; lower part of central bay deeply recessed beneath round-headed brick vaulting with stone pediment above; right-hand bay with double doors and round-headed window above; left-hand bay is recessed beneath round-headed arch and contains organ and pipes. Raised wooden dais with central pulpit with steps on one side only. Five high-backed seats for elders in central recess behind pulpit. Upper part of recess decorated with rising sun motif around which is painted 'Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth Peace. Goodwill toward Men'. 4 tall, round-headed windows with small coloured panes to each side wall. Rear wall with glazed screen and entrance doors in centre, round-headed recesses on either side and 3-light round-headed window above. Dark, timber-boarded sloping side ceilings; raised centre ceiling glazed at both ends and originally with circular windows (now filled in) to sides. Open timber roof trusses. Original timber pews and fittings. Five memorial plaques on walls. Flat ceilinged hall beneath chapel.
Listed for its robust but unusual exterior appearance and for its fine, almost Byzantine interior complete with raised clerestorey and original fittings.
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