Tregwilym Road, Rogerstone, Newport, NP10 9DW
A modest but attractive Gothic Revival design of 1892, notable externally for its picturesque stone bellcote and internally for its carved timber rood screen, an unusual feature in a late nineteenth century Catholic church. The building was altered and extended in 1956.
In the sixth century, St Gwladys was a hermit of Bassaleg, and in the Middle Ages a Benedictine priory dedicated to St Basil was established here. These two local associations account for the dedication of the present church. The driving force behind the building of this was the Rev. Alfred C. Knight, author of a life of the Ven (now St) David Lewis and founder of the Caerphilly mission. The church was built as a chapel-of-ease to St Anthony and St Clare, Risca (qv), but was provided with a presbytery from the outset (possibly originally used as a schoolroom). The South Wales Daily News (14 Oct 1892) gives the architect as Mr Gardner of Newport (W. B. Gardner), and the builder Lewis Hall of Maindee (Gardner and Hall also designed and built the tower and spirelet added in 1893 at St Michael, Pillgwenlly, qv). The church was opened and consecrated by Bishop Hedley of Newport and Menevia on 13 October 1892.
In 1956 the church was renovated and also extended at the west end. A woodblock floor was laid and a new font installed in a small baptistery. The schoolroom/presbytery was mostly rebuilt in 1964 and Rogerstone became an independent parish in 1965. Today it forms part of the large Newport parish of All Saints, served from St Mary’s, and is also ‘host’ church to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
A Gothic Revival design of 1892, built of Pennant stone with Bath stone dressings under a slate roof. On plan it consists of an aisleless nave (extended to the west in 1956 with an additional rendered bay and porch), chancel, south sacristy and attached presbytery to the north. Attached to the sacristy is an attractive bell tower with stone gable and cross, housing one bell; below this is a statue of the Virgin and Child under a canopy. The windows are a mixture of single and triple lancets with leaded diamond quarries mainly under trefoil heads, those in the western bay possibly reset.
The interior has painted plastered walls and an open timber roof with curved braces to the collars, possibly renewed in 1956 (unlike with the external walls, there is no obvious break here between the original 1892 work and the 1956 work). At the chancel arch is a two-centre arch set within a four-centred opening with spandrels. On either side of and above this are niches for statues. The chancel has a piscina on the south wall and an aumbry on the north side. Also on the north side, at the upper level, is the blocked archway and balcony of a former organ chamber.
Of the furnishings, the most immediately striking is the handsome timber roof screen in the chancel arch, with Gothic tracery detail and rood figures; an unusual feature in a late nineteenth century Catholic church. Behind this, the original (or early) painted stone high altar remains with open arcaded mensa, reredos with central tabernacle intact; its Romanesque style contrasts with the prevailing Gothic design of the church, suggesting it might have been imported from elsewhere. In front of this is a small forward altar. In addition to the figures over the rood screen, statues include painted figures of St George flanked by SS Peter and Paul in the niches over the chancel arch and larger figures St Joseph and the Virgin and Child in the niches flanking the arch. The timber Stations of the Cross in the nave were acquired in 1956. The timber font may also date from this time; it is now located at the east end of the nave near the chancel arch.
Architect: W. B. Gardner
Original Date: 1892
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed