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Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin and St Stephen the Martyr, including forecourt wall and railings, Butetown

Description: Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin and St Stephen the Martyr, including forecourt wall and railings

Grade: II
Date Listed: 25 January 1966
Cadw Building ID: 13981

OS Grid Coordinates: 318674, 175617
Latitude/Longitude: 51.4732, -3.1711

Location: Stryd Bute, Cardiff CF10, UK CF10 5HB

Locality: Butetown
County: Cardiff
Country: Wales
Postcode: CF10 5HB

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Listing Text

Set back from the road behind small railed forecourt with crucifixion; stone gate piers to entrances at either end.

Built in 1843 by John Foster, architect of Liverpool, in 'Round-arched Style' ; cost 5,724. Replaces destroyed medieval church. Funded mainly by Second Marquis of Bute and funds also partly raised by a sonnet written by William Wordsworth - "When Severn's sweeping flood had overthrown St Mary's Church...". Enlarged with added vestries in 1907 by G E Halliday, Diocesan Architect in memory of Rev Griffith Arthur Jones.

To preserve traditional liturgical orientation, the apparent main front of the church facing Bute Street is actually the rear of the church, with entrance front facing W.

Nave and aisles oriented traditionally with altar and apse at E end despite towered apparent entrance front facing Bute Road. Present E end arrangements by J D Sedding, architect, 1884. Flat ceiling to five-bay nave. Round-headed clerestorey windows with plain glass. Arcades with round-headed arches and massive cylindrical columns with Norman style capitals and bases. Hood moulds over arches with grotesque heads at points of intersection. Simple trusses to lean-to aisle roofs on stone corbels. Aisles formerly had galleries (removed 1883); round-headed windows with stained glass, painted rubble walls. At W end of nave, gallery over entrance lobby has organ brought from Clifton Street Presbyterian Church). Fine wrought-iron screen formerly chancel screen of St Dyfrig's Church, Cardiff) positioned between westmost columns of nave. Wooden pulpit and choir stalls in eastmost nave bay. Chancel arch flanked by paintings of St Winifred (L) and St Margaret (R). Chancel arch with engaged Romanesque shafts and imposts. Orders of arch with painted decoration. Elaborate apse with decoratively painted ribbed 5-bay vault. Apse wall arcade has Gothic arches and tall shafts with stiff leaf capitals. Painted medallions of Biblical scenes in C16 Italian style. Arcade subdivided into 5 groups of 3 gothic-arched niches, those flanking altar have life sized statues of the twelve apostles on plinths (by Searle, of Exeter, 1884 onwards). Lowest zone has blind arcading in Romanesque style. Above altar, elaborate free-standing altarpiece with Adoration of Shepards in early C16 Venetian style, and carved frame with angels on end buttresses and symbols of Eucharist and Christ's passion. Altarpiece by P Westlake 1884. Small chapel at E end of S aisle with simple round-headed entrance arch.

Rubble with freestone dressings and belfries; asbestos tile roofs. Twin towered, 4-window front to Bute Street, disguising the fact that the main entrance is in fact at the W end beside the Vicarage. Pyramidal fishscale caps to tower roofs with grotesque carved corbel table and narrow louvered belfry openings; pilaster buttresses. Central rose window with broadly scalloped band below and lower bands to the towers. Diamond leaded glazing with colonettes and scalloped capitals. Broad central entrance with intersecting chevron and hatched ornament to arch mouldings; plain tympanum and trumeau; twin doorways. Narrow arched recesses to either side. Similar chevron ornament to shouldered outer doorways. Aisle set back to left hand side. 1907 snecked rubble vestry range to right, the gable end of which has crucifix finial and 3-light central window with granite columns and round headed lights. Parapet along right hand side with recessed panelling and small round arched lights. 5-bay side elevations with plain round arched fenestration and buttressing between bays. Lean-to aisles with similar detail. Continuous impost band. Westwerk-like elevation to W with square turrets and pinnacles; central rose window to gable with bracketed band to base. 2-tiers below of 3-round arched windows with sill bands and coloured glass. Octagonal stair turrets at ends of aisle. Tripartite entrance on 3 storeys composed of high central arch spanning twin main doorways and with lower flanking doorways; cushion capitals.

Reason for Listing
Listed as an interesting and well preserved example of this style, for its dominant location, andfor its historic interest.

The Inner Harbour - An Historical Appraisal. An unpublished report prepared by The Survey of Cardiff for Cardiff Bay Development Corporation, March 1989, p.40.
The Builder, 29.6.1889, p. 495.
Northern Butetown, Survey of Cardiff (unpublished).
J Hilling, Cardiff and the Valleys, 1975, p. 114
S Williams, Cardiff Yesterday No 9 , fig 56
J R Guy, History and Description of the Mother Church of Cardiff, St Mary's.

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.

Set back from the road behind small railed forecourt with crucifixion; stone gate piers to entrances at either end.

Source: Cadw

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