Building » Aberaeron – Holy Cross

Aberaeron – Holy Cross

Victoria Street, Aberaeron, SA46 0DA

A small Wesleyan chapel built in 1864 and acquired by the Aberystwyth Carmelites for Catholic use in 1957. The chief furnishing of note is a stained window by Richard King, given by the artist. The building is a positive contributor to the townscape of this attractive planned port town.

In 1936 the Carmelite Order was invited from Ireland to establish a foundation at Aberystwyth. Under Fr Malachy Lynch the mission was expanded, with a new church at Lampeter (1940) and Mass centres at Penparcau (1952), Aberaeron (1957) and Borth (1969, now closed). The building acquired at Aberaeron had been built in 1864 as the Salem Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. It had been closed in about 1922 and converted to residential use. It was acquired by the Carmelites in 1957 for about £800 and re-converted for use as a place of worship by Joe Banham, a Belfast craftsman. The re-converted building was opened and dedicated by Bishop Petit of Menevia in May 1958. A lean-to structure at the rear became a sacristy and kitchen. In 1992 a larger transeptal addition was made alongside it to increase the accommodation in the church. In 2004 the Carmelites departed, since when the church has been served from Aberystwyth by secular priests.


The church is not orientated; the liturgical east end faces northeast. The building is slightly set back from the street line behind a small forecourt enclosed by dwarf walls.

The original chapel is small and rectangular on plan and is set parallel to the street. The external walls are faced with pebbledash and the pitched roof is covered with slate. The main front to the street is painted and has a stucco plinth and end strips. In the centre is a projecting gabled porch with a six-over-three small-paned sash window to the front and a side door. The porch is flanked on each side by single rectangular nine-over-three sash window. The side walls are not readily visible because of adjoining buildings. At the rear a substantial extension includes a gabled central cross-wing with a round-headed window opening in the end wall, flanked by two smaller modern windows.

The interior of the original chapel is now a carpeted plain space seated with chairs and with plastered walls, a flat plaster ceiling and no architectural enrichment. The altar is set on a shallow wooden platform in front of the northeast end wall which carries a carved wooden crucifix. A rectangular opening with a broad wooden surround in the rear (northwest) wall links the original church space to the 1992 extension, which has a flat boarded ceiling. The central window in the end wall of this later space incorporates a re-set panel of stained glass depicting Our Lady of Ireland, which had been given to the church by the Irish stained glass artist Richard King (1907-74), a pupil of Harry Clarke. Other furnishings include small painted Stations of the Cross.

Heritage Details

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1864

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed