Vergam Terrace, Fishguard, SA65 9DF
A large church of 1920 in a simplified round-arched style. The exterior is unremarkable but the wide interior has a handsome open timber roof and good stained glass by Dom Theodore Baily and Harry Clarke Studios.
A Catholic mission was established in Fishguard in 1899, shortly after the arrival of the railway. The following decade saw a great influx of Irish labourers and their families in connection with the construction of Fishguard port by the Great Western Railway Company. In 1908-9 a site between the old town and the new port was purchased from the Laugharne family and a temporary church of timber and corrugated zinc erected. This was destroyed by fire in December 1918. Shortly afterwards a new church was built on the same site, slightly closer to the road. The foundation stone is dated 25 September 1920. The church contains good stained glass by Dom Theodore Baily and the Harry Clarke studios (a further window by the Harry Clarke studios, depicting Our Lady of Lourdes and St Bernadette, was not installed after the parish priest baulked at the shipping costs, more information here).
A primary school was built on the adjoining site in 1958.
The church is not orientated; the liturgical east end faces towards the west. All directions in the following description are liturgical.
As The Buildings of Wales says, the church is almost style-less but may be described as loosely Romanesque. The plan comprises a wide aisleless nave and sanctuary under a continuous pitched roof with a southwest porch, a south transept with a corresponding north transept which does not project beyond the nave wall line and southeast sacristies alongside the sanctuary. The external walls are of painted roughcast, with painted dressings which may be stone. The roof is covered with Welsh slate. The west end wall has three round-headed windows at low level and a rose window in the gable. The southwest porch has double doors to the west and a hipped slated roof. The north side of the nave has three bays divided by buttresses with round-headed windows and a wider bay for the transept with a small round-headed window and paired windows with triangular heads over and then a further narrow bay with a single window. The south side east of the porch has a single round-headed window between two buttresses, a wide transept with five small rectangular windows with timber surrounds and leaded glazing and paired windows in the gable like those on the north side. The east end has a single rose window high in the gable.
The interior is a wide and uninterrupted space. The nave has a boarded floor, plain plastered walls and a scissor-braced open timber roof. The south transept contains an organ gallery under a tall semi-circular arch. A tall segmental arch with chamfered responds opens into the sanctuary where the altar is raised on five steps. Furnishings include a large stone altar supported on four pairs of stone columns with a central carved panel representing the loaves and fishes, communion rails with similar columns and a marble top, a large crucifix in the sanctuary with painted corpus, painted statues of St Mary and St Joseph either side of the chancel arch, painted Stations of the Cross panels of 1927 by Alois Schmid and open timber benches which are probably original. The rose window in the sanctuary representing the Sacred Heart is by Dom Theodore Baily OSB, and probably dates from the 1920s, when the monk-artist was at Caldey Island. The north wall of the nave has a window of St Therese of Lisieux by Harry Clarke Stained Glass Ltd of Dublin, installed in 1929, and another window of later date showing the Good Shepherd. The roundel in the west wall also has glass by Harry Clarke Ltd.
Architect: Not established
Original Date: 1920
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed