College View, Llandovery, SA20 0BD
A small church, originally built in the 1930s in Gothic style and almost completely rebuilt in a simplified form since 1980. Notable furnishings include good stained glass by Margaret Rope and others.
From the beginning of the twentieth century, Catholics in and around Llandovery were able to worship in a public oratory at Abermarlais House, some six miles away, maintained by the Hon. Mrs Hunter. In 1934 a community of enclosed Carmelite nuns came to a house called Blaenos near Llandovery and their chaplain Fr Oswald Lofthouse also served as de facto parish priest to the town. He raised money for the building of a small single-cell church in the Gothic style, which was designed by George Ovens, the Catholic Borough Surveyor and Architect at Carmarthen, and built by F. Smith of Carmarthen. It opened in September 1935. The original design was for a cruciform church but only the nave was built. A presbytery followed in 1949.
In 1980 the church was extended by the addition of a sanctuary, with a new parish hall attached to one side. In 1998 the original nave was found to have major structural defects and was completely rebuilt on the same footprint in 1999. The architect for both the 1980 work and the later work was Martin Watts. At some time after that the presbytery was demolished, and today the church is served from Lampeter (qv).
The church is not orientated; the liturgical east end is towards the west. All directions in the following description are liturgical.
The plan comprises an aisleless nave with a west porch and a short sanctuary. The nave walls are faced with roughcast, with footings and dressings of concrete, while the sanctuary walls are of rubble stonework. The pitched roofs are covered in slate. The gabled west wall of the nave fronting the street has a small projecting central porch with a pitched roof. The nave north wall has three pointed windows. On the south side of the nave the church is linked to the 1980s hall building. The sanctuary is one bay deep with a tall rectangular window on each side, a stone bellcote rising on the south side and a single pointed window in the east end wall.
Internally, the nave has plain plastered walls with broad pilasters supporting the heavy roof framework. In the east end wall is a tall pointed arched opening to the sanctuary. The door and window openings and the sanctuary arch are plain and unmoulded. Most of the furnishings are quite simple, but not without interest. The mensa is a slab of slate from the quarries at Blaenau Ffestiniog, with stone supports incorporating material from Llandaff Cathedral. The metal altar rails are by David Peel, a local craftsman. The north wall of the nave has two stained glass windows to members of the Vaughan family. The Benedicite (1938) is by Margaret Agnes Rope, a Carmelite nun who trained at the Birmingham School of Art, and was given in memory of Herbert and Teresa Vaughan, Sr Rope’s nephew and niece, who died in infancy. Christ in Majesty (c1978) is a late work by J. E. Nuttgens, in memory of Herbert Reginald Henry Vaughan. The glass slab in resin east window on the subject of The Eucharist (c1980) is by Brother Gilbert Taylor of Prinknash Abbey.
Architect: George L. Ovens; Martin Watts
Original Date: 1935
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed