Newborough Avenue, Llanishen, CF14 5AA
A hexagonal brick church of the mid-1970s, built to serve a post-war housing estate. The architects were F. R. Bates, Son & Price of Newport. The exterior is unassuming but the interior, carefully designed to reflect the liturgical requirements of the Second Vatican Council, is well furnished and little altered.
In 1925 the Llanishen district was transferred from St Peter Roath to the parish of St Teilo, and in 1953 to the parish of St Brigid. In the early 1950s Cardiff Council began construction of the Llanishen housing estate and a church-hall was built to serve the new community. Dedicated to Our Lady Queen of the Universe, this was opened in 1955. Llanishen became a separate parish in 1962. The congregation continued to grow, and after the arrival of Fr Ambrose Walsh in 1974 a new church was built alongside the 1955 church-hall. Dedicated to Christ the King, this was opened by the Archbishop of Cardiff on 22 November 1978. Fr Walsh (who had been the Archbishop’s secretary) took a keen interest in modern church planning and was closely involved with the internal arrangement of the church. The architects were F. R. Bates, Son & Price of Newport, the contractors White Bros and Speed Ltd of Newport. The glasswork and metal screens were made by Glass (Cardiff) Ltd. In 2011 the old hall at Christ the King was refurbished and extended. Although still a separate parish, today the church is served from St Brigid at Crystals.
The church has an irregular hexagonal plan, with side walls of brown brick laid in stretcher bond, shallow sloping roofs and a hexagonal central lantern topped by a spirelet. The wide main entrance is set in a short concave wall. The original design shows a sculptural feature in front of the entrance but this appears not to have been built. The long side walls flanking the entrance have a series of full-height strip windows in groups of three and four. The shorter sides have an irregular combination of rectangular window shapes.
Internally, the entrance leads to a wide lobby divided from the main body of the church by coloured glass screens. The walls of the main space are faced with grey brick. The ceiling is compartmented by the main roof beams and rises from the side walls to the lantern over the altar. The floor is close-carpeted. The external windows and the lantern are clear glazed. The open bench seating encloses the altar on three sides. Behind the altar is the ambo, curiously recalling the arrangement in many Nonconformist chapels. The front of the ambo has a representation of the Four Evangelists in red applique work. To either side are serrated brick walls. Those to the left of the altar have openings to the Blessed Sacrament chapel and the tabernacle is set in one of the openings, with the font in the chapel behind it. The wall openings to the right of the altar are filled with opaque reamy blue glass. The interior appears to have been little altered, with the principal original furnishings still in place. Later features include two near life-size wooden figures of Christ the King and Our Lady mounted on the long walls. Evenden’s parish history states that the figures were acquired with the help of an Arts Council grant, but does not name the artist. The Stations of the Cross are from the former church, replacing modern ones installed in the new church in 1978.
Architect: F. R. Bates, Son & Price
Original Date: 1978
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed