Building » Prestatyn – St Peter and St Frances

Prestatyn – St Peter and St Frances

Plas Avenue, Prestatyn, LL19 9NH

A fine example of a type of small-scale and intimate church developed by Edmund Kirby especially for rural locations. Sometimes this involved a restricted budget, but at Prestatyn the building was well endowed by the Mostyn family, and Kirby was able to achieve a high quality of detail in the moulded brickwork and terracotta to the window openings, the string courses and hood moulds, and to the timber work of the porch and roofs. The interior too is attractive and includes some interesting later fixtures and furnishings. Together with the presbytery, also by Kirby, it forms an accomplished complex.    

The Mostyns were a Welsh-speaking Catholic family who did not abandon their faith at the Reformation and maintained the Mass at their private chapel throughout the penal period. They settled at Talacre in 1519 and were created Barons of Talacre in 1670. The family contributed many priests to the church (the third baronet was a Jesuit) and are related to several of the English Martyrs. The present Talacre Hall was built in 1829 on the site of a previous Hall, and the chapel served as the nucleus for what later became the congregation of the church of SS Peter and Francis. When this became too small for the numbers coming from Prestatyn, the ninth baronet, Sir Pyers Mostyn (1846-1912) provided funds to build a new church at a cost of £1,600, in memory of his parents. His brother Bishop Francis Mostyn of Menevia took a keen personal interest in the project and intended the church to be a credit to his diocese and family status. He oversaw the design and construction of the church and was almost certainly responsible for the appointment of Edmund Kirby as architect. Bishop Mostyn sang pontifical High Mass at the opening of the church on 8 September 1903. A presbytery, also designed by Kirby, was built soon afterwards.


The church consists of a four-bay nave, a five-sided sanctuary lit by tall windows and an open-fronted entrance porch at the northwest corner. The north transept was added in the 1960s, with a confessional and a meeting room beyond. The church is built of red Ruabon brick and terracotta with a red tiled roof in a free Gothic style. A pair of tall chimneys rise alongside the sanctuary. The ornate west front faces the road and has a pair of tripartite lancet windows separated by a central buttress surmounted by a rose window with cusped roundels. The porch incorporates timber framing in an Arts and Crafts style.

The nave is broad but short in length, with collar beam trusses of pitch pine and a wide sanctuary arch. It seats 120 and retains its original pews and woodblock floor. To each side of the sanctuary arch are niches with plaster statues of Our Lady and the Christ Child and the Sacred Heart. The present Italian marble altar dates from 1925 and was brought forward from the earlier reredos, which had its pinnacles removed in 1955. The tabernacle was supplied by Hayes and Finch, and the Stations of the Cross by Burns and Oates. The ambo and font were installed by Monsignor Kelly in 1999 at the same time as the priest’s chair, which was made by Ellie Mattur et Fils from Aqua Bianca marble from the Lebanon. He also introduced the large brass crucifix above the tabernacle which came from a redundant Anglican church. The organ came from a chapel in Crewe c.2000. The stained glass installed in the east windows of the sanctuary to celebrate the centenary of the church was designed by local school children. A memorial plaque on the west wall of the church commemorates the eighth baronet and Lady Frances Mostyn.

List descriptions


Reference Number: 25745
Grade: II
Date of Designation: 12/09/2001  
Date of Amendment: 12/09/2001  
Name of Property: Roman Catholic Church of SS Peter and Frances
Unitary Authority: Denbighshire  
Community: Prestatyn  
Locality: Prestatyn  
Easting: 306923  
Northing: 382698  
Street Side: S  
Location: To south of Plâs Avenue about 75 m east of junction with Clwyd Avenue.  

History: The Roman Catholic parish of Prestatyn was established in 1903 and the church completed also in 1903 to the design of Edmund Kirby of Liverpool. The church was built at the expense of Sir Pyers Mostyn of Talacre. The contractor was Mr Thomas of Prestatyn, and the cost approximately £2000.  

Exterior: A wide building in red brick and terracotta, with a red tile roof. The walling is in English Garden Wall bond. Some bricks of a bluer colour are used to create a diaper effect in the brickwork, and some miniature bricks are used in the window head details of the (north-)west elevation. A fine feature is the squatly designed entrance porch at north, in arts and crafts half timbering on a high brickwork plinth. Double chimneys to left of chancel; link (possibly of later date) to presbytery. The nave is of four bays articulated by buttresses; the apse defining the chancel is polygonal in five bays. The apse is narrower than the nave, but has a higher eaves so the roof goes through without interruption; to resolve the clash at eaves level the architect has used little hip-roofed transepts at each side, which have no interior presence. The apse elevations are fenestrated in groups of three lights with simple foliated heads, and there is a string course at head which continues around the lights as a label mould, and a string course at sill level. Plinth offset near ground level. The pseudo-transept facing south has three similar but taller lights. The nave side bays to north and south have groups of four similar lights. The west elevation is in two bays defined by buttresses, and has a three-light group in each bay under a tall relieving arch and a large seven-light cusped rose window above. This elevation faces the street and is more ornate in detail. The porch is open-fronted, built upon brick side walls in massive timber framing with leaded-glazed front and side windows. The name of the church appears on the collar beam. The roof is gabled to the front with forward projecting wallplates tusk-tenoned into the bargeboards. The roof merges with a non half-timbered lean-to part adjoining the nave incorporating twinned pointed lights. Within the porch the entrance door is plain and has splayed reveals and a pointed arch. Small water stoup at right.  

Interior: The nave is entered by the north west corner, through a large door with multiple bracing internally. The nave is broad and short, with a large chancel arch opening into a polygonal apse. The chancel starts at a step about 1.5m west of the arch. The nave roof in four bays with high collar beam trusses with cusped struts above and large arch braces below extending considerably beneath wallplate level. Interior plastered and painted white. Wood block floor, pitch-pine pews with open backs. At left is an anteroom to the confessional. Cinquefoil headed niches with Christ with Wounds and Sacred Heart to left of chancel arch and Virgin and Child to right. Around the nave are the Stations of the Cross in oak frames. In the south west corner is a recently acquired organ. The chancel has similar roofing adapted to the apsidal form. The altar is of coloured and highly figured marble with a mosaic cross at centre, but is not original to the church (donated 1925). It was recently brought forward from the reredos. Before the altar are a lectern, seat and font, all recent, in figured marble with inlays. The reredos is original, carved in intricate late Gothic style, with niches for four saints and a central Throne of Sacrament above the veiled Tabernacle. A top stage of reredos finials appears to have been lost. The saints in the niches to the right are SS Peter and Frances to whom the church is dedicated, to the left are St Francis and the Virgin. To the left of the altar is an aumbry and to the right a piscina. Double doors at left lead to the link to the presbytery.  

Reason for designation: A Roman Catholic church in a free Gothic style making good use of mass-produced materials (brick, tile and terracotta); simple and well detailed throughout.  


Reference Number: 25746
Building Number: 6  
Grade: II  
Date of Designation: 12/09/2001  
Date of Amendment: 12/09/2001  
Name of Property: Presbytery of the Roman Catholic Church of SS Peter and Frances  
Address: 6 Plâs Avenue  
Unitary Authority: Denbighshire  
Community: Prestatyn  
Locality: Prestatyn  
Easting: 306934  
Northing: 382706  
Street Side: S  
Location: To south of Plâs Avenue about 100 m east of junction with Clwyd Avenue.  

History: Built to the design of Edmund Kirby of Liverpool, probably immediately following the construction of the church in 1903. The presbytery is joined to the church by a later link.  

Exterior: Presbytery of two storeys and an attic, in red brick and tile matching the materials of the adjacent church. As in the church the brickwork is in English Garden Wall bond with some diaper decoration in bricks of a bluer hue. Other features derived from the detailing of the church are the use of bullnose brick string courses and a high plinth. The roof form is approximately cruciform but at two levels, with a range running east-west (SE-NW) and a wing extending south; these parts contain attics. This higher roof is hipped with canted angles at west with a dormer, hipped with one canted angle at east with a dormer, and gabled at south. At a lower eaves level another double-width wing extends north as paired hipped roofs. The latter roofs carry large multiple stack chimneys. The west is the main elevation (to the street) and shows the flank of the north wing, the three-bay canted end of the west wing with the bays separated by buttresses similar to those of the church, and the flank of the south wing including the main entrance door. Camber-headed windows to both storeys with label moulds continued as string courses and string courses at sills. Unfenestrated areas decorated with diapering. Some original windows with four-pane sashes above single pane sashes remain at north and east; windows otherwise replaced with uPVC frames. Front door of nine panels with top glazing and additional top and side glazing.  

Reason for designation: Listed as a free-Gothic style red-brick presbytery in a design integrated with the adjacent Church of SS Peter and Frances.  

Heritage Details

Architect: Edmund Kirby

Original Date: 1903

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II