Building » Lampeter – Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Lampeter – Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Pontfaen Road, Lampeter, SA48 7BS

  • Image copyright Alex Ramsay

  • Image copyright Alex Ramsay

The church was built in the late 1930s under the auspices of Fr Malachy Lynch, then head of the Carmelite community at Aberystwyth. It is a late design by the London Catholic architect T.H.B. Scott, in his habitual brick round-arched manner, and is notable for the number and quality of its Arts and Crafts furnishings. The attached presbytery was also designed by Scott.

The Catholic church at Lampeter was a Carmelite foundation, built under the auspices of Fr Malachy Lynch, the head of the Carmelite community at Aberystwyth. The church and its attached neo-Georgian presbytery were designed by the London architect Thomas Henry Birchall Scott (who was in partnership with his son Thomas G. Birchall Scott from 1928). Scott (1872-1945) designed a large number of Catholic churches in the London area in the years between the two world wars (more than twenty in the Archdiocese of Westminster alone). Most of these were built of brick in a simple but effective round-arched style. The church and its fitting out were the fruit of a partnership of client, architect and Catholic artists and craftsmen and women. Scott was one of the founders of the Guild of Catholic Artists and Craftsmen, some of whose members made furnishings for the church. Fr Lynch went on to revive the friary and shrine at Aylesford, Kent, a major manifestation of twentieth century Catholic Arts and Crafts. Lampeter became a separate parish in 1947.

The church is described in some detail in the list entry, below. This contains some minor typographical errors: the three carved lunettes are by Mary Malburn, and the stone panel of the Virgin and Child in the apse is by Philip Lindsey Clark. It can be added that much of the internal woodcarving (including the Station of the Cross and the statues flanking the sanctuary arch) is by Jaroslav Krechler. Bench seating in the nave replaces the original chairs.

List description

Reference Number: 10424
Grade: II  
Status: Designated  
Date of Designation: 11/03/1992  
Date of Amendment: 10/02/2012  
Name of Property: Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Attached Presbytery (RC)
Unitary Authority: Ceredigion  
Community: Lampeter  
Town: Lampeter  
Easting: 257472  
Northing: 248253  
Location: Situated on rising ground above W end of Bryn Road, overlooking triangular green opposite Shiloh Presbyterian Chapel.  

History: Roman Catholic Church and Presbytery designed by “T H B Scott” of London constructed 1939-40. The total cost was £5,000, Mr Scott, ‘a London architect’, provided the designs and the builder was Glyn Davies. The three painted lunettes are by May Malburn. The carved stone reredos panel is by P J Lindsay Clarke, according to Welsh Gazette 18.7.1940, where the design is illustrated with a roof-slope bellcote (not apparently built). A 1941 account of the church by Father Malachy Lynch O. Carm. states that the proportions were taken from the Theatre at Garthewin, Llanfair Talhaearn, Clwyd, converted in 1938 from a barn by T S Tait, architect, which also has lunettes over the main brick arches.  

Exterior: Simple whitewashed roughcast group of Church and Presbytery with grey-green slate roofs; the gabled church with round-arched windows comes forward on right, with neo-Georgian house attached to left. The Church is of exemplary simplicity externally, steep-roofed with nave, chancel and 3-sided apse, 3 windows to nave E side, 3 and door to W, the windows arched with red tile sills and rectangular leaded panes. Apse has 2 smaller windows to canted sides. S front has centrepiece slightly advanced with slates continued over and iron cross finial. Arched doorway in three-step surround with very slightly raised arched hoodmould. Della Robbia style ceramic plaque in lunette. Above, two glazed loops each side of wrought iron keys of St Peter, and smaller vent loop in gable apex above. Each side of centrepiece are small narrow square-headed windows under slightly raised arched hoodmoulds. W side door is within single storey link to house, with broad open arch to S. The Presbytery has steep hipped roof, rendered flat-capped stack on W roof-slope, and 2-storey, 4-window front elevation of small-paned metal casements with red tile sills and shutters to outer windows. Paired casements to outer windows, single narrow light each floor to right of centre, arched doorway with metal French windows to left of centre, triple casement over. ‘Della Robbia’ plaque in lunette and slightly raised arched hoodmould, as on church. Main door is on E side, in linking porch. To left of house, a roughcast garden wall with arched doorway links to NE corner of small outbuilding with three-quarter hipped gables, open E end and S side casement.  

Interior: Interior contrasts complex spatial divisions and simple building materials; the chancel and apse are divided off by identical cross walls with broad arches and echoing open lunettes above which give complex views of the roof timbers. Walls are of sand coloured brick with pale grey brick dressings, the chancel and sanctuary arches being of grey brick, as also the lunette surrounds above; the nave window surrounds are stepped, the inner surround being of grey, while the sanctuary wall is semi-circular and entirely of grey brick. Double purlin roofs with bolted nave roofs trusses boarding behind rafters. S end gallery over brick-fronted inner porch with room each side, that E being baptistery. Door to nave, arched with canvas painted lunette, those each side broader and arched with wrought iron screens. Door from nave to presbytery is similar arched with painted canvas lunette.  

Reason for designation: Included for its special architectural interest as a well-designed and harmonious complex of buildings, traditional in inspiration and materials, and significant for its special historic interest as one of the best examples of mid-C20 churches in west Wales. Group value with other prominently sited buildings on E side of Church Street.

Heritage Details

Architect: T.H.B. Scott

Original Date: 1940

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II