Market Square, Knighton, LD7 1BB
Built in 1974 from designs by Thomas Price, the building is outwardly plain but has a carefully-planned and pleasant interior reflecting modern liturgical principles.
Radnorshire formed part of the Carmarthen mission from 1896 until 1907, when the Jesuits at Llandrindod took over responsibility for the small and scattered Catholic population (the district was also served by the Welsh Travelling Mission). The first modern Mass centre in Knighton was in a butcher’s shop owned by Mr and Mrs Nicholas. After that was sold, the couple were remembered in the secondary dedication of a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St Nicholas, which was created within the music room at Whitehall, the home of Mrs Stella Powell. When that in turn was sold, a former tannery was obtained and converted to a chapel, opening in 1958. By 1968 this building was found to be unsafe, and a decision was taken by Fr Becker, chaplain to the Carmelites at Presteigne, to pull it down and build a new church on the same site. Designed by Thomas Price of F.R. Bates, Son & Price to seat 100 people, the new church was opened and consecrated on 12 December 1975, when Fr James Crichton, parish priest at Pershore (see report for Builth Wells) preached.
The church is not orientated; the liturgical east end is towards the west. All directions in the following description are liturgical.
A modest building in a modern style, with an open internal arrangement reflecting the post-Vatican II aspiration to reduce separation between priest and people and encourage active participation in the liturgy. The main body of the church is lozenge-shaped, with a flat roofed forebuilding containing the entrance at the corner next to the street. The external walls are faced with grey brick laid in stretcher bond with self-coloured mortar; the main building has a shallow-pitched metal-covered roof. The windows in the long east and west sides are tall slits, stepped to follow the sloping roofline.
The interior is a single open space with a carpeted floor, painted brick walls and a shallow-stepped ceiling. The windows are clear glazed with frosted glass. The sanctuary is a semi-circular platform set against the east wall, with benches for the congregation ranged in front and to the sides. The altar and tabernacle are modern but some of the other furniture is evidently earlier and may have been bought from the previous church. A slate plaque on the wall opposite the sanctuary commemorates Fr Becker and the building of the church. Furnishings include a statue of St Nicholas and (outside) a crucifix made of scrap metal.
Architect: F. R. Bates, Son & Price of Newport
Original Date: 1975
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed