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Church of St John The Baptist., Castle

Description: Church of St John The Baptist.

Grade: I
Date Listed: 2 December 1952
Cadw Building ID: 13674

OS Grid Coordinates: 318270, 176411
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4803, -3.1771

Location: Castle, Cardiff, Cardiff CF10 1BH

Locality: Castle
County: Cardiff
Country: Wales
Postcode: CF10 1BH

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Listing Text

On site bounded by St John Street, Working Street, Trinity Street, and St John's Churchyard.

Originally a chapel of ease of St Mary's Church, the present church originates mainly from later C15 with tower of circa 1490 (perhaps by William Hort); S arcade of chancel may be late C13. Tower said to have been commissioned by Anne, wife of Richard III. The medieval plan was a nave of 5 bays with 2-bay clerestoreyed chancel with separately gabled chapels, aisles, and tower. Church restored early C19, again in 1853; between 1889 and 1891 scheme of restoration by Kempson & Fowler replaced wooden gallery by outer aisles, lengthened and heightened the chancel, added vestries, and refaced much of building in Sweldon stone. Victorian and later embellishments include sculpture by Goscombe John and Comper; stained glass by Morris, Ford Madox Brown, Burne-Jones. Uncompromising 2-storey concrete vestry inserted in S aisle by George Pace, architect, 1975.

Nave has Perpendicular arcade with lozenge-shaped piers and 2-centred arches.
Lower arcades to Victorian outer aisles. High and wide chancel arch. Four bay chancel with clerestorey. Chancel roof on Victorian head-corbels. Chancel S arcade with circular shafts (circa 1300?), N arcade similar to nave; reredos by Kempson & Fowler has sculpture by Goscombe John (1891). To N of chancel, Herbert chapel with wooden screen (part C16, part C17. Herbert Monument (early C17) with effigies of knight and lawyer, and relief of 4 cherubs. Reredos in S chapel by Comper (early C20). Tower arch, stone steps up to platform over porch; C19 iron railings. The church retains good C19 stained glass including N outer aisle windows by Morris & Co (apostles by Morris, Abraham & Noah by Ford Madox Brown, Melchisedek by Burne-Jones). Other glass by Dixon, and Belham & Co (to designs of JP Seddon). Several Neoclassical tablets relocated to tower. Uncompromising 2-storey concrete vestry inserted in S aisle.

Older parts of church in blue lias with Dundry stone dressings; Victorian extensions and refacing in Swelldon stone with bathstone dressings. Mainly Perpendicular tracery. Nave of 5 bays, chancel, west tower (tower porch), double aisles to N and S, S porch, shallow N porch. Tower of 4 stages with stepped diagonal buttresses; low ground floor stage is porch open on 3 sides, doorways with multi-moulded arches; rib vault to porch. Above entrance, W side has 5-light Perpendicular window; above this, in middle stage, tall window with pierced diaper and Perpendicular 2-light head; above this, bell stage has 2-lighr window with pierced stonework. Tower crowned by magnificent open work arcaded and battlemented parapet with openwork corner pinnacles and small gargoyles.
Chancel has clerestorey; polygonal turret in angle with N chapel; 5-light Perpendicular E window. South West vestry with tall chimneys. South side has 3 and 4 light square-headed windows with frieze of flowers and animals over; blocked doorway in angle with aisles.

Reason for Listing
Graded I as the historic parish church of Cardiff, the main remains outside the Castle of Medieval Cardiff, with especially fine medieval tower and important monuments and good C19/early C20 fittings and glass.

John Newman, Glamorgan (Buildings of Wales Series), Cardiff 1995, pp 187-191.
John Harvey, English Medieval Architects..., Gloucester, 2nd Ed, 1984, p149.

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

On site bounded by St John Street, Working Street, Trinity Street, and St John's Churchyard.

Source: Cadw

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.