Monnow Way, Bettws Estate, Newport, NP20 7DX
A utilitarian structure of the 1960s built to serve a post-war housing estate.
From 1963 Mass was said at various locations around the Bettws Estate until 1966 when the present building, a dual-purpose church and hall was built (it was officially opened by Archbishop Murphy of Cardiff the following year). The church is dedicated to St David Lewis, the Jesuit priest and martyr born at Abergavenny in 1616 and executed at Usk in 1679. He was canonised as one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales in 1970, the same year that an independent parish was established here. A presbytery was built two years later. In 1985 the church was reordered, with the altar placed centrally on the long axis and the seating arranged in a semi-circular pattern around it, but it was returned to a more conventional arrangement in 1994. A meeting room was formed in 1987 and extended in 1994. More recently the porch has been enlarged. Today the church forms part of the large Newport parish of All Saints, served from St Mary’s.
The church is a simple modern prefabricated structure with a steel frame, the sanctuary faced in brick and the remainder rendered. It has a shallow pitched roof, with flat roofed ancillary buildings to one side. The roof coverings are felt, the window frames uPVC. The identity of the architect (if any) has not been established, and the design is very utilitarian, but certain features (such as the arrangement of windows in the chancel and the tall pointed ‘reredos’ feature behind the tabernacle) point to F. R. Bates, Son & Price – cf their slightly early church of St David, Maesglas.
Inside, the main worship space consists of a wide nave with a narrower, short sanctuary capable of being screened off, reflecting the building’s intended dual-purpose function. The steel framing of the roof is exposed. Furnishings include stained glass in the sanctuary on the theme of ‘Faith, Spirit and Sacrifice’ by Christian Ryan, installed in 2016, and a crucifix/holy water stoup, in memory of George Morgan (d. 1997) of Bettws Ward Labour Party. The benches have moulded and chamfered ends and appear to be older than the church.
Architect: Probably F. R. Bates, Son & Price
Original Date: 1966
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed