Bryn Eglwys, Llandudno Junction, Conwy LL31 9NU
An imposing modernist church by Weightman & Bullen built in the late 1960s of pale brick with a flat roof, squat pyramidal lantern and narrow full-height strips of glazing giving it a strong character. The interior is well-proportioned, with a freestanding sanctuary lit by a clerestory. The church has been relatively little altered.
In 1867 Bishop Brown of Menevia sent Fr James Jenkins to Llandudno to set up a mission for the few Catholics in the area. His territory was very large, stretching from Rhyl in the east along the coast to Bangor and as far south as Dolgellau. In May of that year he purchased a two-storey building in Ty Gwyn Road which had previously been a Turkish bath and converted the upper floor to a chapel. Llandudno and the other coastal towns were starting to expand rapidly at this time as holiday resorts, the coming of the railways making them more accessible. To cater for the summer influx, the large church of Our Lady Star of the Sea was erected in Llandudno, opening in 1893. A few years later, missions were started in Penmaenmawr and Conway by the Franciscan fathers from Pantasaph. When Conway became a separate parish, Llandudno Junction was included within the boundary, although people living on the east side of the estuary were also able to attend Mass at the nearby Albini House, part of St Mary’s College. Around 1960, the Conway parish priest, Fr Cubly, bought land off Victoria Drive, Llandudno Junction for a new church, to be dedicated to The Holy Family. The architects Weightman & Bullen were commissioned, and work began in October 1967. The church was opened by Bishop Petit of Menevia on 23 September 1969.
The church has a cruciform plan with the sanctuary occupying the full width of the nave, flanked by transepts. Above the sanctuary, a squat tower is supported on slender columns that rise above the main roof level to terminate in an aluminium pyramidal lantern. The roofs are otherwise flat. On the south side there is an attached garage and a single-storey block which was intended to be joined to the existing presbytery.
The building is constructed of load-bearing brickwork with a light brown brick outer skin and panels of white textured plaster between brick piers internally. Full height, narrow and deeply-recessed windows with exposed aggregate concrete fascias give the exterior a robust character, although the original windows have been replaced in upvc. The two timber doors in the west front lead into a narthex that is separated from the nave by a full height glazed screen with a narrow grid of aluminium glazing bars. Some of the panes are fitted with yellow tinted translucent acrylic sheeting which, combined with similar panels in the lantern, give the interior a curious warm glow, even when the sky is grey. The large white Sicilian marble altar, font, and ambo, set on a dais of black marble, were designed by Weightman & Bullen in conjunction with Fr Cubly, as were the pews. The baptistery was originally housed in the narthex, but the font has been moved to the sanctuary. The floor is laid with vinyl sheeting, and the ceiling is timber. No access is provided to the space above the narthex, which has never been used.
Architect: Weightman & Bullen
Original Date: 1967
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed