Building » Llandudno – Our Lady Star of the Sea

Llandudno – Our Lady Star of the Sea

Lloyd Street, Llandudno, LL30 2YA

Historically the mother church for a parish that stretched originally from Rhyl to Bangor and south to Dolgellau, this is a serious and dignified design from Edmund Kirby’s late period. His buildings often display elaborate surface texture, but here he was more restrained, restricting ornament to the window tracery and the carved altars within. Within a tight budget (the tower was never built), he produced a finely proportioned and nicely detailed church. He probably also designed the presbytery, which has group value with the church.

In 1867 a mission was established in Llandudno for the few Catholics in the area. The parish was very large, stretching from Rhyl in the east along the coast to Bangor and as far south as Dolgellau. At first a two-storied building in Ty Gwyn Road, which had previously been used as Turkish Baths, was acquired for £350 and the upper floor was adapted as a chapel. The ground floor served as a residence for the priest. It was dedicated to Our Lady Star of the Sea. By the 1880s, the town was expanding rapidly, and in 1882 a new wing was added. This soon proved to be inadequate and land was purchased from Lord Mostyn to build a church, with Edmund Kirby appointed as architect. The foundation stone was laid by the Bishop of Shrewsbury on 10 September 1891, and on 17 August 1893 an impressive ceremony took place for the opening of the church. Archbishop Scarisbrick conducted the Pontifical Mass assisted by the Bishops of Northampton and Shrewsbury. Cardinal Archbishop Vaughan was also present as was the Lord Mayor of London.

When the church opened, it was only used in the summer months. In winter the congregation continued to worship at the old chapel, for at that time the presbytery had not been built, the altars had not been installed, the sanctuary and aisle roofs lacked ceilings, and there was no sacristy. In time the church was completed, but the cost had exceeded the resources of the parishioners, and with the need for loans to be paid off, it was not until 1970 that it was consecrated (when the high altar was brought forward in accordance with the new liturgy).

In 1922 electric lighting was installed and the sanctuary and aisle ceilings were lined in timber. The font was moved to the sanctuary in 1986 and the baptistery was converted to a confessional. In 1990 the organ was replaced with one that had been removed from a chapel in Bangor. In 1988 a large house opposite the church known as ‘Gowerdale’ and renamed ‘Stella Maris’ was purchased and refurbished as a parish centre.    


The church consists of a nave with two aisles, an apsidal sanctuary and two chapels. A porch at the northwest corner is balanced by the former baptistery at the southwest. The original design included a tower, which would presumably have been constructed above the porch. It is built of cream sandstone with red Runcorn stone dressings and a Welsh slate roof. The west front has a large and elaborately traceried window with a rose at the apex. Below is a moulded arch to the west doorway with double doors. The nave is of five bays with three-light clerestory windows with cusped tracery and flat heads at eaves level. The aisle windows have two lights and are set between stepped buttresses. At the east end of both aisles are attached single-bay chapels with steeply-pitched roofs and coped gables with cross finials. Gables have traceried two-light windows with quatrefoils. The polygonal apsed sanctuary has taller two-light windows similar to the chapels. The later sacristy has a flat roof and is linked to the presbytery. The porch is gabled and has an identical doorway to the one at the west. Above it is a niche with a marble statue of Our Lady Star of the Sea beneath a crocketed canopy. The former baptistery has a polygonal outline and a hipped roof.

Inside, the five-bay nave has pointed arches to the aisle arcades which are supported on alternate polished grey and buff granite columns. The timber roof trusses are carried on wooden shafts rising from stone corbels above the intersections of the nave arcade arches. The sanctuary roof is also of timber. Each of the chapels has a carved stone altar, that on the right for St Joseph, and that on the left for Our Lady, both with canopied niches. The sanctuary altar is in a similar style. At the west end is a choir and organ gallery, but the narthex screen below is somewhat later. Stained glass in the sanctuary and chapels is probably contemporary with the church. The floor is laid with encaustic tiles in the nave aisles.

List descriptions


Reference Number: 5808
Grade: II  
Date of Designation: 16/03/1976  
Date of Amendment: 06/06/2001  
Name of Property: Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea  
Unitary Authority: Conwy  
Community: Llandudno  
Locality: Llandudno  
Easting: 278054  
Northing: 382216  
Street Side: SE  
Location: On corner with St Mary’s Road.  

History: Circa 1891 to 1893; designed by E Kirby.  

Exterior: Gothic church faced with yellow stone with red sandstone ashlar dressings. Slate roof. Chancel with polygonal apse; 2-light windows, but larger 3-light end window set in gable. Nave of five bays, lean-to aisles, polygonal baptistry at south-west end of southern side aisle and porch at south-west end of northern side aisle. Clerestorey windows of three trefoil-headed lights in square-headed openings; aisle windows of two trefoil headed lights with quatrefoils in three-centred openings with dripstones. At south-west end of northern side aisle there is a high gabled porch with a statue of Our Lady of the Sea in canopied and crocketed niche in upper part of front wall of porch; porch entrance with pointed moulded arch. Large south-west end window of four-lights above south-western nave entrance with moulded pointed arch.  

Interior: Inside, nave arches with circular columns, timber roof to nave and ribbed chancel roof; reredos with statues and reliefs in canopied niches; some stained glass.  

Reason for designation: Well-designed C19 Roman Catholic church. Group value with adjacent listed buildings.  


Reference Number: 25302
Grade: II
Date of Designation: 06/06/2001
Date of Amendment: 06/06/2001
Name of Property: Presbytery to Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea  
Unitary Authority: Conwy  
Community: Llandudno  
Locality: Llandudno  
Easting: 278079  
Northing: 382224  
Street Side: SE  
Location: Adjacent to Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea.  

History: Probably dates from 1890s, contemporary with adjacent church.  

Exterior: Two storey house. Grey stone with sandstone dressings; slate roof, stone chimneys. Advanced gabled bay to L with paired sash windows to upper floor, tripartite window to ground floor. Two-window section to R with, on upper floor, small sash window to L, and larger sash under small gable to R. On ground floor, gabled porch (with mullion and transom window facing road); mullion and transom window to R. Right elevation has 2-storey splayed bay window.  

Reason for designation: Included for group value with adjacent listed church and No 33 Lloyd Street.  

Heritage Details

Architect: Edmund Kirby

Original Date: 1893

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II