New Street, St David’s, SA62 6SW
A functional stone-built design of modest size with no external elaboration, built in 1866 and historically serving a variety of functions, including a period as the local town hall, before acquisition by the Passionist Fathers in 1962. The building is of local historical significance.
In 1929 C. H. Morgan Griffiths, a wealthy Carmarthen solicitor, built a house at St Non’s Bay as a summer retreat, close to the cliffs and the legendary birthplace of St David. Here (in 1934) he built and furnished a small chapel for his Catholic wife, dedicated to Our Lady and St Non, employing the local architect David Thomas. The chapel was built using salvaged material, some of it medieval, and was in the style of an early Pembrokeshire chapel, possibly a recreation of the ancient ruined chapel of St Non which lies nearby (St Non was the mother of St David). The chapel is the westernmost in Wales, and one of the smallest, measuring just 25 by 12 feet.
In 1939 the house was acquired by the Passionist Order as a retreat. During the Second World War the number of Catholics in the area increased considerably, and in 1943 St David’s was made a separate parish, with several outlying Mass centres also served by the Passionists. The little chapel was not sufficient for the needs of a growing parish, and was inconveniently located, so sites in the town were sought. In 1961 the former town hall in St David’s came up for sale. This had also previously served as a concert hall, lecture hall, senior school, dance hall, a school for wartime evacuees and finally a cinema. The building was purchased by the Passionists in 1962 and refurbished for use as a church.
In 2002 the Passionists withdrew from the parish. The church was extensively renovated and refurbished in 2004, and in 2005 became a chapel-of-ease to Holy Name, Fishguard (qv). The chapel of Our Lady and St Non (now a Grade II listed building) continues to be owned by the Passionists and is run with the house by the Sisters of Mercy as a retreat centre.
The church building is a functional stone box, modest in size and with no external elaboration. The plan is a simple rectangle with a small projection, probably the original porch in the centre of the north side and a modern porch at the west end. The walls of the original building are of rubble stone with squared stone quoins; the modern porch is rendered; the pitched roof is covered in Welsh slate. The modern west porch has a pointed west door two small windows on each side and a pitched roof. The north side of the main building has a small central projection under a pitched roof with a door on the west side and a segment-headed window in the north gable end. The projection is flanked by two pointed windows on each side. The window heads are of modern yellow brick and the windows are of uPVC. The south side has three similar pointed windows and a smaller window at the east end. The east gable wall towards the road is blind.
The interior has a boarded floor, plain plastered walls and a canted boarded ceiling. At the west end is a lobby or narthex divided from the worship space by a full-height glass and timber screen. The windows in the side walls are all clear glazed. There is no structural division between nave and sanctuary but the latter is raised two steps above the general floor level. Furnishings include a modern stone altar with a gilded carving of the pelican in her piety on the front, a modest octagonal stone font and timber nave benches of traditional form.
Architect: Not established
Original Date: 1866
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed