Building » Porthcawl – Our Lady Star of the Sea

Porthcawl – Our Lady Star of the Sea

New Road, Porthcawl, CF36 5BN

A spacious and functional hall-like church, built in 1968-9 from designs by F. R. Bates, Son & Price. The front elevation is dominated by two large mosaics designed by the architects, while the interior has laminated timber covering to the steel framing and is galleried on two sides. The church replaced the mission chapel of Waddle Hall, now the parish hall.

A mission was established in Porthcawl in 1903, when Mass was said at Summermead on New Road, the home of the Misses Waddle. In 1905 the sisters purchased a house called Lumen, seeing this as an omen that the ‘light’ of the Catholic faith might return to the town. They established an oratory next to the house, served by priests from Carmarthen and Cardiff. Jessie Waddle died in 1911 and following the death of her sister Clara in 1926, Lumen became the presbytery for the now-resident priest. In the 1920s Waddle Hall was built, serving as a Mass centre during the holiday months until 1953, when it became the permanent church.

In 1962 the Rev. (Mgr) John Crowe was appointed parish priest. He built a new presbytery in 1963 and in 1968 the foundation stone for the present church was laid. The church was built to accommodate 400 worshippers (including holidaymakers in summer) and was opened by Archbishop Murphy of Cardiff on 22 July 1969. The architects were F. R. Bates, Son & Price, the cost £45,000. Two mosaic panels on the entrance front were designed by the architects and created by Cardinali Mosaics of Bridgend. The church was consecrated on 18 June 1975. The Waddle Hall now serves as the parish hall.


The building is of steel framed construction with the beams encased in laminated pine, the walling is concrete and the roof is tiled. Two large mosaics depicting the Holy Family dominate the west elevation of the church, between which are tall canted slit windows, over a canopied entrance. There are deeply recessed windows in the north side and the windows throughout have steel frames and are leaded.

Inside, an enclosed porch leads via a glazed screen to the nave; on the wall is a brass memorial to Jessie Maud Waddle and Clara J. Hume Waddle. A gallery runs around the west and north sides of the nave, accessed by a stair to the north. The gallery is over a series of rooms including a baptistery in the southwest corner, now a shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes, with Carrara marble statues of Our Lady and St Bernadette and a confessional, sacristy, and day chapel to the west. The sanctuary is raised on a dais and has a facetted east wall admitting indirect lighting on either side of a tall central plain timber reredos with attached crucifix. The forward altar is of marble, as is the font (which is of Verdi Issorie marble). The altar in the day chapel is made of white and grey stone. The floor coverings are slate in the porch with vinyl tiles elsewhere. The benches in the main worship space are pine with steel uprights, radiators are incorporated underneath, and in the gallery the benches are hardwood.

Heritage Details

Architect: F. R. Bates, Son & Price

Original Date: 1969

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed