Building » Cardiff (Whitchurch) – St Teilo

Cardiff (Whitchurch) – St Teilo

Old Church Road, Whitchurch, CF14 1AD

Designed by F. R. Bates, Son & Price of Newport and opened in 1964, St Teilo is an interesting building of striking appearance and unusual form. The theatrical interior has been enhanced by a major reordering and refurbishment of 2005, which saw the introduction of several new furnishings of note.

The parish was erected in 1925. For a few years before this, Mass had been said in an outbuilding of the Fox and Hounds public house on the edge of the village. Archbishop Mostyn of Cardiff purchased a plot of land next to the pub and a church-hall was built on the site, opening in April 1925. Fr Patrick Creed became parish priest in 1956 and under his auspices the old hall was replaced by a large new church in a modern style designed by F. R. Bates, Son & Price of Newport. The church was dedicated to St Teilo, the sixth century monk and bishop who founded the church which is the present Llandaff Cathedral. The new building cost about £50,000, and was opened by Archbishop Murphy of Cardiff on 18 June 1964. An intended campanile was never built.

In 2005-6 the church underwent a major refurbishment; many new furnishings were installed and a new parish centre was formed from the former guild room attached to the church. The architect for the refurbishment was Stephen Brooks.


The building is fan-shaped on plan, tapering from west to east with the hall attached at the southeast corner. The external walls are faced with render, the shallow-pitched roof covered with metal with a spirelet at the eastern end (which is barely visible from the street). The broad west front has a bowed full-height central section flanked by twin entrance doors and continuous full-height mullioned glazing sloping back on either side under a broad shallow gable. Comparison with old photographs shows that the original doors have been replaced. The tall side walls are windowless and curve inward at the eastern end to leave a short projecting sanctuary with full-height side windows and a blind east wall.

The interior is a single large space, tapering towards the east end. Two deep beams run from west to east with the lattice roof trusses exposed between them. The trusses were originally painted dark red. Between the main beams and the outer walls are side spaces recalling side aisles which have top-lighting. Across the centre of the west end is an organ gallery reached by a delicate open concrete and timber stair at the north end. Beneath the centre of the gallery is the original baptistery with a new font. The south wall has a single large rectangular window with modernistic tracery and stained glass by John Edwards and Tim Lewis. At the east end of the south wall was a second gallery which has now been enclosed. The sanctuary is marked by a broad curving timber dais, which was originally enclosed by rails, with a hanging canopy over the altar. The present arrangements date from the 2005-6 refurbishment. The original sanctuary rails, altar and canopy have been removed. The present timber altar, chair and ambo were carved by Anselm Cotterill. The tabernacle set in the sanctuary wall was designed and made by Nia Wyn Jones and depicts the Pembrokeshire landscape which would have been known to St Teilo. Suspended from the ceiling of the sanctuary is a statue of Christ in Majesty sculpted in bronze by Peter Ball. The bench seating the body of the church appears to be original.

Heritage Details

Architect: F. R. Bates, Son & Price

Original Date: 1964

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed