Building » Swansea (Morriston) – Sacred Heart

Swansea (Morriston) – Sacred Heart

School Road, Morriston, Swansea, SA6 6HZ

A modest 1950s brick church, re-orientated and given a striking new apse in 1964. The dominant feature of the simple interior is the stained glass in the large apse windows. There are also engraved glass panels in the former baptistery.

In 1899 the Benedictines purchased the former Hope Baptist chapel in Morriston, a corrugated iron building of about 1890. For many years Morriston mission was served from Clydach and Ystradgynlais, but became an independent parish in 1922. It continued to be administered by the Benedictines of St Joseph’s until they were recalled in 1932, and the parish was then handed over to the Archbishop of Cardiff. The first resident secular priest was Fr J. Nowell, who served until 1940, during which time the current presbytery was built in School Road, adjacent to a piece of land, part of which was the site for the current church.

The old church was destroyed by fire on Holy Saturday, 12 April 1952. A building fund was immediately set up to pay for the construction of a new church, which was opened on 14 April 1955. The architect was C. A. Hughes LRIBA (information from Alan Randall, Diocesan Archivist).

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, with the building of new residential estates in Morriston and the surrounding area, more space was needed in the church. It was decided to re-orientate the building, with a new apsidal sanctuary at the former ‘west’ end, increasing the number of sittings from 200 to 250. A spirelet was placed over the sanctuary, a Lady Chapel created next to the sanctuary out of the former entrance porch and a new porch formed at the other end of the building. The architect for these works was Robert Robinson (cf Gorseinon). The remodelled church was blessed and opened by Archbishop Murphy of Cardiff on 1 September 1964. Soon after the completion of the sanctuary, further extensions were made at the rear of the building, to accommodate an organ.

In the early 1980s the parish acquired the old Soar Baptist Chapel on Pentrepoeth Road, which was renovated as the Sacred Heart Centre (it has recently undergone a major further refurbishment). In December 2001 the sanctuary of the church was reordered. In 2017 the church was inaugurated as a diocesan shrine of Divine Mercy, and new stained glass windows were installed in the nave.


The church is not orientated; the liturgical east end is towards the south. The main body is the original 1956 building, comprising an aisleless nave with red brick walls laid in stretcher bond and a pitched roof covered in plain tiles. The north wall towards the street is divided into six bays by stepped buttresses. Each bay has a single long rectangular window with a raised surround, apart from the westernmost bay which is the former sanctuary and has a narrow bell tower and a triple window. Consecration crosses are set into the wall externally between the windows. At the south (liturgical east) end the building terminates in a tall stone-faced apse with broad round-headed windows filled with concrete tracery, added in 1964. A slender openwork fleche is placed on the ridge of the half-round hipped roof above. In front of, and contemporary with the apse is the windowless brick side wall of the flat-roofed Lady Chapel, incorporating the round-headed doorway of the former main entrance.

The interior has plain plastered walls and a timber roof with boarded rafters, whose main trusses rest on internal pilaster strips. At the (liturgical) west end is a concrete-framed organ gallery. In the lobby beneath the gallery are a series of engraved glass panels of angels, which once enclosed the 1960s baptistery. The doors from the lobby to the church have coloured glass inserts. At the (liturgical) east end, the apsidal sanctuary is dominated by five large round-headed windows with vividly-coloured non-representational stained glass, installed at the time of the 1965 alterations (artist/maker not established). The Lady Chapel adjoining the sanctuary contains a further etched glass panel of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. In the nave, stained glass windows depicting Our Lady of Knock/Star of the Sea, Our Lady of Lourdes, St John Vianney, St John Paul, St Padre Pio, St JoseMaria Escriva and The Holy Family were installed in 2017.

Of the sanctuary furnishings, the openwork metal pulpit dates from the 1960s. The marble altar on its tapering supports also dates from this time but has been moved forward and placed on a new white marble dais. The pews, Stations of the Cross, crucifix and statues (Sacred Heart, Our Lady of Lourdes, St Joseph and St Anthony) were retained from the 1950s building.

Heritage Details

Architect: C. A. Hughes; Robert Robinson

Original Date: 1955

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed