Building » Llanidloes – Our Lady and St Richard Gwyn

Llanidloes – Our Lady and St Richard Gwyn

Pennygreen, Llanidloes, SY18 6AJ

Although the church (built in 1959) is of limited architectural significance, it has an appealing light-filled interior, given special interest by six stained glass windows made by Dom Charles Norris of Buckfast Abbey, and two other interesting works of art. It enjoys an attractive rural setting on the bank of the River Severn just outside the town of Llanidloes.

Llanidloes was the birthplace of St Richard Gwyn, who was martyred at Wrexham on 15 October 1584 and canonised by Pope Paul VI as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales in 1970. In 1951 the Franciscan Fathers established a religious house at Llanidloes, acquiring a small property known as Pen-y-Green on the left bank of the River Severn a short distance to the southwest of the town. The community consisted of Fr Ralph O‚ÄôReilly and Brother Denis Montyer, later joined by Fr Kenneth Gillespie. At the time there were some half dozen Catholics in the area. Mass was said for the first time in the chapel that they created within the house on Easter Sunday 25 March 1951, once at 6.30 am and again at 8.00 am. At the second Mass two people were present, a nurse from the local hospital and a young cyclist from Wolverhampton who stayed the night at the youth hostel.  It was agreed with the bishop that the fathers would establish a parish covering both Llanidloes and Rhayader, and attention was focussed first on building a church at Rhayader. This was designed by the architect Philip Beard of Wakefield and opened on 12 May 1957. Beard may also have been architect for the new church at Llanidloes, which has a general family resemblance to the church at Rhayader and was built alongside the religious house in 1959 by Evans & Owen of Caersws. Both churches are notable for their glass from the studio of Dom Charles Norris at Buckfast Abbey, Devon. Seating 80 and originally dedicated just to Our Lady, the church at Llanidloes was opened on Richard Gwyn Sunday, 18 October 1959.

The Franciscans left Llanidloes in the 1980s and the house has been sold. When the new Diocese of Wrexham was created in 1987 Rhayader remained in Menevia, while Llanidloes became part of Wrexham. In recent years, Llanidloes parish was merged with Newtown and Welshpool, with which it shares a priest.      

Description

The church is a small brick building with rendered panels and a shallow pitched tiled roof. Timber arched trusses and purlins are exposed internally, and the ceiling is painted white. Large timber windows in both the side walls provide good lighting and incorporate a series of six fine dalle de verre stained glass panels created by Dom Charles Norris OBE of Buckfast Abbey, who had also made similar windows for the church at Rhayader. They were installed in 1985, and the subjects are as follows:

  • The Holy Family
  • Powys Paradwys Cymru (Powys the Paradise of Wales)
  • The Leper
  • The Last Supper
  • Mwynder Maldwyn (The Gentleness of Montgomeryshire)
  • Washing of the Feet

The sanctuary has a rectangular opening rather like a theatre proscenium and is flanked by the former confessional, now a store and boiler room, and the sacristy. On the right hand side of the sanctuary is a good painted wood carving of St Richard Gwyn with his hands bound and on the left side is a terracotta plaque of Our Lady and the Christ Child, possibly a replica of a carving by Verrocchio. The entrance porch at the west end has a flat roof and includes a small kitchen and WC. The building is very simply furnished, with wooden chairs rather than benches.  

Heritage Details

Architect: Philip Beard (unconfirmed attribution)

Original Date: 1959

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed