Building » Dinas Powys – St Mary

Dinas Powys – St Mary

Edith Road, Dinas Powys, CF64 4AD

A small suburban church of the 1920s, designed in a plain Romanesque style by the Marquess of Bute’s architect and considerably altered and extended by F. R. Bates, Son & Price at the end of the 1960s.

Dinas Powys grew from the 1890s as a suburb of Barry. In about 1920 a piece of waste ground was purchased by a local Catholic, Stephen Craves, and a church was built. Opened by Archbishop Mostyn of Cardiff on 20 July 1922, the small church (seating 130) was built from designs by John P. Grant, architect to the fourth Marquess of Bute and a parishioner (who at that time was writing his book on Cardiff Castle). The contractor was D. O’Neil of Cardiff. The church was in a simple Romanesque style and consisted of a nave and sanctuary, with a confessional and sacristy giving off to the right of the sanctuary and a porch at the west end. According to the account of the opening in The Tablet, the archbishop donated an altar which had been presented by the clergy to Bishop Hedley on the occasion of the silver jubilee of his episcopate, and had been used by him in his private chapel at Llanishen. The fate of this altar has not been established.

The church was served from Penarth until 1928, when Dinas Powys became an independent parish and a nearby house was acquired to serve as a presbytery.

In 1969 the church was adapted and enlarged by Thomas Price of F. R. Bates, Son & Price. A second ‘nave’ was added at right angles to the original building, with a Blessed Sacrament chapel alongside, as well as a further addition replacing the original sacristies and confessionals, thereby creating seating around three sides of the altar. New sacristies were added to the west.

The church is now served from Penarth (qv), and the presbytery has been sold.


The original church is a small brick design in a plain neo-Romanesque style, consisting of nave, chancel and western porch with arched entrance on the north side. The original round arches (those to the windows now partially blocked) have creased tiles. Apart from an area on the south side, the garden wall bond original brickwork is now painted or rendered. The 1969 additions extend at right angles to the north and south of the original chancel and are in brown brick. The roofs throughout are modern concrete tiles. A flat-roofed covered way extends along the north side of the original church to the main entrance in the 1969 addition, alongside which is a brick enclosure for a Lourdes grotto.

The interior of the original church is of painted brick, with a herringbone woodblock floor and an open timber roof with braces to the tie beams. The arched window openings have been reduced and squared in the 1969 work and provided with abstract coloured glass. There is a rounded chancel arch to the original nave, while the modern openings giving off the north and south sides of the chancel are square. Original arched openings connect the original nave to the north and south arms, while beyond the sanctuary an ambulatory connects these arms and leads to the sacristy. The 1960s additions have plastered walls, woodblock floors and exposed steel frame roofs. A recessed area giving off the west side of the south arm has staggered small square window openings with coloured glass, and may have been designed as a baptistery. Giving off the east side of the north arm is a Blessed Sacrament chapel with distinctive Bates, Son & Price leadwork to the windows and over the tabernacle a small opening in the form of a cross with coloured glass.

Older furnishings include a good set of Stations of the Cross, the pews in the original nave and (possibly) a statue of Our Lady of Walsingham in a niche near the sacristy. Furnishings appearing to belong to the 1969 phase include:

  • Forward altar with grey mosaic and mosaic Alpha and Omega and a chalice on the front
  • A lunette mosaic over the sanctuary continuing the Eucharistic theme with angels bearing a chalice
  • A metal screen behind the altar with distinctive F.R Bates, Son & Price lozenge pattern and attached (earlier) crucifix
  • Small altar in Blessed Sacrament chapel with mosaic and IHS monogram on the front.
Heritage Details

Architect: J.P. Grant; F. R. Bates, Son & Price

Original Date: 1922

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed