Building » Pontllanfraith – The Sacred Heart

Pontllanfraith – The Sacred Heart

Blackwood Road, Pontllanfraith, NP12 2BR

A modest Gothic Revival church founded by the Hon. Augusta Herbert, constructed in 1853-4 and extended or rebuilt in 1926. Furnishings include a marble and stone high altar and a good east window. The building is prominently located in the local townscape.

The church at Pontllanfraith was originally built in 1853-4, and was founded by the Hon. Augusta Herbert. The original dedication is unclear; the first and second editions of the 25’’ OS map for the area refers to ‘St Mary and St David R.C. Chapel’ (Coflein), while the 1864 Catholic Directory refer to it simply as ‘the church at Penllwyn’. The first priest was the Rev. P. G. Davies, who died in 1878 and was buried outside the church. In 1923 Pontllanfraith became a separate parish and a presbytery was built and the church either extended (typed note in the Diocesan Archives) or rebuilt (The Tablet, 3 December 1927). This was a time of local expansion, with the laying out of housing estates for mine workers at Oakdale and Penllwyn under the direction of A. F. Webb of Blackwood. It may be that Webb had a hand in the extension/rebuilding of Sacred Heart church. A Lady Chapel was added later, in memory of Mary Reynolds (d. 1933).

In the early 2000s the church, hall, presbytery and grounds underwent renovation, and a Lourdes grotto and memorial rose garden were added. Today the church is served from our Lady of Peace at Newbridge (qv).


The church is in a plain Gothic style, constructed of randomly coursed sandstone with dressings of grey brick and painted sandstone ashlar, with slate roof coverings. The west end is rendered. The mullions and tracery are all painted white. The nave and chancel are under a continuous ridge, with a gabled porch towards the west end on the south side and on the north side two gabled chapels, one of which is rendered. There is a further entrance on the south side at the east end. The side windows have cusped tracery or mullions under flat stone lintels, while those at the east and west ends are pointed, with perpendicular tracery. The east end also has two low, squared windows with mullions.

Inside, the southwest porch leads into the nave and a west end gallery reached by a stair in the southwest corner. The nave has an open timber roof, the main trusses springing from moulded stone corbels. The walls are plastered and painted, the floors carpeted. A Lady Chapel is reached through an archway in the north wall; it has two small lancet windows, a terrazzo floor, a statue of Our Lady set on a modern marble plinth, and several brass memorials. East of the chapel is a confessional. The nave and sanctuary are separated by plain chamfered and pointed chancel arch with oak communion rails. A modern oak forward altar is placed in front of the original marble and stone high altar. At the east end is a good stained glass east window of the crucifixion and the sacrifice of the Mass for the souls in purgatory (in memory of Jane Emily Hodge, d. 1946).

Heritage Details

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1854

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed