Park Crescent, Maesglas, Newport, NP20 3AQ
An interesting design of the Vatican II era by Tom Price, influenced by Le Corbusier’s chapel of Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp and George Pace’s work at Llandaff.
The parish of was established in 1934 and a school and presbytery built on land given by Viscount Tredegar (the school has since been rebuilt and enlarged). The present church was built in 1963 by Canon Michael Moloney, from designs by Tom Price of F. R. Bates, Son & Price. The design was described in the Diocesan Yearbook for 1964 as ‘a church for the space age’. According to the parish website, each brick in the (rendered) wall behind the altar bears the name of the pupil of a St David’s school who paid for it. The contractor was Cyril Williams and the cost £32,000.The church was opened by the Archbishop of Cardiff on 21 February 1963. Today it forms part of the large Newport parish of All Saints, served from St Mary’s.
The church is a modern design, of brick and reinforced concrete construction, with a rendered and white painted finish. The finishes, asymmetrical external form and arrangement of windows of varying size and deep internal splay are all influenced by Le Corbusier’s chapel of Notre Dame du Haut at Ronchamp, France (1955), probably mediated by the more local influence of George’s Pace’s chapel for St Michael’s Theological College at Llandaff (1957-9). On plan the church consists of a nave and sanctuary with no structural or other division, a south aisle with a Lady Chapel at its east end, entrance porch and (inside) a western gallery with confessionals and (originally) baptistery below. The church is lit by a half-glazed wall of faceted planes and small pointed triangular lights at the west end, square and rectangular lights of random pattern on the south elevation, and further pointed triangular lights on the north side of the curved wall of the sanctuary.
Inside, the reinforced concrete ribs of the roof structure are exposed, with red patterned interstices. The walls are rendered and painted white, while the floors are carpeted (the original patterned floor may survive below). The choir gallery at the west end is reached by an original curved spiral stair. The windows on the north side of the chancel have coloured slab-in-resin glass, while those on the south side of the church have the geometrical arrangement of leading with antique glass found frequently in Tom Price’s churches.
A tall pointed ‘reredos’ in the east wall is picked out in red and frames a carved oak crucifix. The original high altar has been removed, the Forest of Dan blue vein granite possibly reused in the present forward altar. The original granite communion rails have also been removed, except for a section behind the acolytes’ seating on the south side of the sanctuary. The tapering font with oak lid has been brought from the original baptistery to the sanctuary. The Blessed Sacrament is now reserved in a large brass tabernacle on the granite altar of the Lady Chapel. Other furnishings include wooden statues of Our Lady, St Joseph and the Sacred Heart, on granite plinths or pedestals and of Continental workmanship, and carved Stations of the Cross from Germany.
Architect: F. R. Bates, Son & Price
Original Date: 1963
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed