Dale Street, Menai Bridge, Anglesey, LL59 5AH
A simple concrete framed design of the mid-1950s, on a steep and wooded site and set well back behind a later parish hall, so not making a significant contribution to the conservation area in which it lies.
The town of Menai Bridge grew from a small port (Porthaethwy) following the completion of Thomas Telford’s bridge in 1826. Developing with the increasing use of the route to Ireland via Holyhead during the nineteenth century, this small town across the strait from Bangor is noted for its substantial Victorian houses.
In the early 1950s the Rev. Basil Rowlands instigated the building of the church of St Anne to serve the small number of Catholics in the town (their number supplemented by visitors during the summer months). Ronald MacIver, a non-Catholic friend of Fr Rowlands, donated the wooded and sloping site, which sits on a natural rock foundation. In the diocesan archives is an undated drawing for a cruciform church, by W. R. Brindle of Menai Bridge, but this was not realised, and a more economical design by Brian Hallwood Lingard of Llangefni was taken forward. The builders were Messrs Henry Jones & Sons of Rhosneigr, and construction started on St David’s day 1954. The completed church was solemnly blessed and formally opened by Bishop Petit of Menevia on 14 September 1955.
In 1972-73 a cantilevered hall/presbytery building was built on the road frontage, from designs by Bowen, Dann, Davies of Colwyn Bay.
The church is a simple portal framed concrete structure set on a stone plinth and clad in vertical cedar boarding beneath a shallow-pitched felt covered roof. The external finishes are painted timber cladding and rubble-coursed stone. The windows are a combination of segmental arched and square or rectangular with a mixture of timber and uPVC frames. There is a projecting entrance porch at the west end of the south front with three round-headed windows with slate sills, and there is a painted concrete cross at the east end of the south front.
Inside, the porch has a small freestanding carved stone holy water stoup, a painted plaster statue of Our Lady and St Anne, and a painted bust of St Eugene de Mazenod. The porch leads on to an open, one bay narthex at the west end. The nave is of three bays and the sanctuary of one bay, leading to a sacristy behind. The floor is carpeted throughout and the walls are plastered and painted, with areas of painted woodchip. The sanctuary is up one step and set beneath a segmental arch, while the altar is up two further steps. To the left of the sanctuary is a confessional, and to the right a small shrine of Our Lady with a polychrome timber statue (this was the original location of a large nave pulpit). The freestanding altar is a later, post-Vatican II addition; it is of black slate with a carved PX detail painted in gold. The brass tabernacle is cylindrical with a domed top, the doors have engraved IHS and PX detailing, above is a brass crucifix with Baroque detailing, it appears to be nineteenth century.
Furnishings include a stained glass window of Our Lady with images of the church, and local bridges by Telford and Stephenson, donated by Mrs M. Richards in memory of her husband Brynley Richards MBE (d. 12 July 1990). The Stations of the Cross are framed black and white prints with Welsh titles.
Architect: B. Hallwood Lingard
Original Date: 1952
Conservation Area: Yes
Listed Grade: Not Listed