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Church of St Mary

A Grade II Listed Building in Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taff

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5965 / 51°35'47"N

Longitude: -3.3224 / 3°19'20"W

OS Eastings: 308496

OS Northings: 189459

OS Grid: ST084894

Mapcode National: GBR HR.BM09

Mapcode Global: VH6DR.C4FF

Entry Name: Church of St Mary

Listing Date: 26 February 2001

Last Amended: 26 February 2001

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 24863

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Prominently sited on the E side and above the A470 trunk road.

County: Rhondda Cynon Taff

Town: Pontypridd

Community: Pontypridd

Community: Pontypridd

Locality: Glyntaff

Built-Up Area: Pontypridd

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Pontypridd

History

Built in 1838-41 for £2500 by T H Wyatt, architect of London. A grant of £414 was made by the Church Commissioners, the remainder of the cost being raised mainly by local elites, including the Lenox family of the nearby Newbridge Chainworks, and the Crawshay family of Treforest Tinplate Works. The church was designed to seat 800 people. The pyramidal cap on the spire was destroyed during a storm in 1913. The NE vestry was added in 1922 (date on foundation tablet). The Italian Romanesque style employed in a simplified form at Glyntaff, and the asymmetrical accent provided by the NW tower, was a precursor to his more ambitious church at Wilton, Wiltshire, of 1840-6, Wyatt's most celebrated church.

Exterior

A simple Italian Romanesque style parish church, comprising nave with NW tower, shallow chancel and added NE vestry. Rubble stone walls (intended for render) have hammer-dressed quoins to the pilasters, a coursed rock-faced plinth, and lighter freestone dressings to the windows. The nave is 8 narrow bays with pilasters strips. Tall round-headed windows have thin attached shafts and sill band. The window in the L-hand bay is shorter as it has a round-headed doorway beneath it with chevron moulding in low relief, which has a replaced door. The nave N wall is similar to the S. The 3-bay W wall has a wider central bay beneath a gable, which has a round clock face in a freestone surround. The centre bay has a pair of rounded-headed windows similar to the S side, with a similar single window to the R-hand bay. To the L-hand bay is the projecting 4-stage tower.

The tower has a round-headed W doorway with one order of shafts, scalloped capitals and an arch incorporating chevron and roll mouldings. The hood mould has scalloped stops. The N side has a single round-headed window in the lower stage. The middle stages are recessed between angle pilasters. A blind narrow light is in the second stage. In the third stage is a 5-bay arcade of narrow round-headed arches, the middle 3 of which are glazed. The arcade continues around the remaining faces. Two tiers of offsets are above the third stage. The bell stage is therefore narrower. It has 2 tall round-headed belfry openings, the upper parts with louvres. The angles have thin attached shafts.

The 3-bay E wall has round-headed windows R and L, and a blocked round-headed doorway lower L. The chancel is a low round apse to the central bay, which has 3 tall narrow round-headed windows (partly obscured by the projecting vestry on the N side) and is rendered between pilaster strips and sill band. The pediment has a thin cornice similar to the W wall.

The NW vestry has a lintelled doorway to the W side below an oculus and with foundation tablet, while the E gable end has 3 round-headed windows.

Interior

The barn-like interior, with its W gallery and minimal chancel, was designed to maximise capacity, and was built for an emphasis on preaching rather than ritual. The nave has a flat plaster ceiling divided into 8 bays by thin beams on corbels. The nave and N, S and W nave walls and chancel all have string courses at sill level that terminate with head stops. The round moulded chancel arch of 2 orders, the outer order on scalloped capitals. It is flanked by similar smaller arches (blocked to R side, leading to vestry on the L side). The chancel has a string course at impost level carried over the windows as hood moulds.

The W gallery is carried on 2 polygonal wooden posts and has a panelled front. The font is typical Norman style with round bowl and stem, and 4 detached round shafts with scalloped capitals. The added polygonal pulpit has open Gothic panels. The continuous chancel screen is late C19. It has a panelled dado, 11 lights with open Gothic tracery, the central light wider and forming the doorway, a cornice with vine trail, and brattishing intersected by polygonal finials. The communion rail is brass and is carried in twisted iron uprights with scroll brackets.

Attached to the nave S wall are 2 classical alabaster wall tablets by Jacob Morgan of Pontypridd. These commemorate Ann Davis (d.1852), with a relief of a woman in mourning, and Elizabeth Davis (d.1860), with a relief of a woman on her deathbed being taken up to heaven.

In the porch, beneath the tower, is a cantilevered stone stair to the gallery and belfry. A memorial tablet to the 1914-18 war is signed by 'Morgan'.

Reasons for Listing

Listed for architectural interest as a well-preserved 'Commissioners' church, and of additional ecclesiological interest as it is designed for an emphasis on preaching on the eve of the Anglican revival that re-established ritual and consequent radical changes in architectural design.

Group value with other associated listed items in the churchyard.

Other nearby listed buildings

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