Avondale Road, Pontnewydd, Cwmbran, NP44 1NY
A pre-Vatican II church built on a longitudinal plan by F. R. Bates & Son. Although of functional character, the design has echoes of Sir Basil Spence’s contemporary and highly influential design for Coventry Cathedral.
Though Cwmbran was developed as a New Town after the Second World War, the older Catholic heritage of the area is particularly rich.
Post-war expansion generated the need for a second Mass centre, and a plot on Avondale Road was acquired. The Rev. David O’Flynn appointed F. R. Bates & Son of Newport and Cardiff to prepare designs for a dual-purpose church and hall, and the new building was officially opened by Mgr Peter Gavin, Vicar Capitular of the Archdiocese of Cardiff, on 19 July 1961.
In 1963 St David’s became a separate parish, but today the church is once again served from Our Lady of the Angels, Cwmbran.
The building is of light steel portal frame construction with blockwork walls faced in grey engineering brick and render. The main body is of brick, with shallow pitched slate roofs, while the rendered single-storey elements (west porch and wraparound at the east end housing parish room, sacristies and a chapel) have flat felted roofs. The tall narrow window frames are concrete, the fenestration saw-toothed in the nave, and with a staggered grid of concrete framed openings on a flat plane in the side walls of the sanctuary. The east and west elevations are windowless.
Inside, a porch with hardwood parquet floor leads into the main worship space, of longitudinal form with a wide nave and narrow circulation aisles and a sanctuary at the east end, both areas now carpeted. Sawtooth windows to the north and south direct light towards the sanctuary; the Stations of the Cross are set on these angled walls. Square encased steel piers of slender section support the canted timber-framed roof, which is painted white with the interstices in red. A cry chapel with confessional and WCs lies to the south of the east end of the nave. On the north side a corresponding space has a parish room with kitchen and serving hatch, with a corridor leading to the side entrance, accessible WC and sacristies. The sanctuary is raised up one step and the altar one more. The sanctuary walls are generously side-lit. Below the forward altar is a large wooden relief of the Last Supper, and against the east wall a domed tabernacle is placed on a stepped retable of reconstituted marble. Above this is a wooden crucifix. An oak font in the sanctuary is of more recent date.
Architect: F. R. Bates & Son
Original Date: 1961
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed