Building » Risca – St Anthony of Padua and St Clare

Risca – St Anthony of Padua and St Clare

Lyne Road, Risca, NP11 6AT

A modest Gothic church built in 1868 by the Capuchin Friars, primarily to serve Catholic workers on the nearby canals. A Fatima grotto by F. R. Bates and Son was added in 1957.

In 1864 Mgr. Thomas Joseph Brown OSB, Suffragan Bishop of Newport and Menevia, invited the Capuchin Friars from Pantasaph to take on the responsibility of the Cwmbran district, and in 1867 a school-chapel was opened in Cwmbran. The following year the church of St Anthony of Padua and St Clare was built in Risca to serve the Catholic workers on the local canals. The church was financed in large part by unidentified benefactors in Newport. It was one of a number of churches and school-chapels built in South Wales by the Pantasaph friars; as well as Cwmbran, others include Abersychan (1863), Blaenavon (1868) and Abertillery (1875-6). These buildings are generally of a simple Gothic character and in most cases, as here, their original architect has not been established; they would benefit from further research.

According to the parish website, the church was originally thatched; this was replaced with slate in the early 1900s, when a bellcote was also added (since removed). In 1957 a Fatima grotto was built in the grounds, from designs by F. R. Bates & Son. Other later twentieth century alterations included the building of an adjacent hall, and the bricking up of the east windows and of the transepts to create a sacristy and meeting room. These works were reversed in 2000, when new stained glass was installed in some of the unblocked windows (work funded by the sale of the presbytery). Along with Sacred Heart, Pontllanfraith, the church is now served from Our Lady of Peace, Newbridge (qqv).


The building is a simple gable entry church with limited Gothic detailing; it is brick-built and pebbledash rendered, with slate roof coverings. A gabled west entrance porch, transepts, and the sanctuary are under lower rooflines. Above the porch is a spherical triangular window and both this and the west entrance have hoodmoulds. Statues of the Franciscan saints St Anthony of Padua and St Clare occupy niches above the west window and west door respectively. The nave is of two bays, the windows with segmental pointed arches and stone sills. The transepts have modern rectangular windows and the sanctuary lancets with canted heads.

Inside, a gallery is at the west end with a stair to the north. The arched braces and purlins of the timber roof are exposed, with panelling in between. The braces spring from stone corbels. The nave is of two bays and is divided from the crossing by an archway; both the crossing and transepts are up one step from the nave with the sanctuary up a further step. Either side of the arch are niches with timber statues of Mary Immaculate and the Sacred Heart. Placed high, the Stations of the Cross are of painted terracotta. The floor coverings throughout are carpet with pine floorboards to the sanctuary. The altar is modern and of hardwood with a v-shaped timber upright, the tabernacle (from the closed church of St Winefride, Cwmcarn) is placed off-centre. A pair of lancets placed high in the east wall of the sanctuary have figurative coloured glass of 2000.

Heritage Details

Architect: Not established

Original Date: 1868

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed