Building » Ystradgynlais – Sacred Heart

Ystradgynlais – Sacred Heart

Pantyffynon Road, Ystradgynlais, Swansea, SA9 1EU

A modest church of the 1930s in a functional round-arched style. The building forms a unit with the adjacent presbytery, which was originally the residence of the donors of the church site. Both buildings have been unsympathetically altered externally, but the church interior is more pleasing, aisleless and with a king-post roof.

Before 1908 Catholics in Ystradgynlais travelled to Swansea, Neath or Brecon to attend services. From that year Mass was said in the village by Father Bede Cox OSB, the parish priest of Clydach, and in 1911 he secured a site for a church in Wind Road and erected a second-hand prefabricated zinc building, brought from a convent in Liverpool. In 1930 the mission was transferred from the Archdiocese of Cardiff to the Diocese of Menevia and was served from Ammanford. In 1938 a site for a new church was given by Mrs Bowen and Mrs Wynne, adjoining their own house. The new church was erected at a cost of £1,500, to seat 200. The architect was W. S. Wort of Cardiff (who also designed the deco-moderne Monico and County Cinemas in that city), and the contractors were Messrs Hopkins and Evans of Ystalfera. In 1939 the Salvatorian Fathers were invited to send a priest to Ystradgynlais and the order has served the church ever since. Mrs Bowen left her house to the Salvatorians in her will at her death in 1956. Since 2010 Ystradgynlais has been served from St Benedict’s, Clydach (qv).


The church is in a vaguely early-Christian round-arched style and comprises a nave and narrower sanctuary under a continuous pitched roof with a flat-roofed sacristy behind the sanctuary. The walls are of red brick laid in stretcher bond and faced with render and pebbledash on the principal front to the road. The roof is covered with Welsh slate. The shallow-gabled principal front, which abuts the presbytery, has a central projecting porch with a wide round-headed doorway and is flanked by round-headed windows, with a triplet of similar windows above the porch. The exposed side wall has three pairs of round-headed windows and the sanctuary has a stepped triplet of windows in the east end wall.

Internally, the nave is a simple rectangular space with an open timber roof with king-post trusses and braced tie-beams. There is a modern timber floor and the walls are plain plastered. A wide semi-circular arch opens to the sanctuary, which is lit only by the triple window in the east end wall. The sanctuary has been reordered and the original altar rails removed. The three east windows and the three central west windows have figures of saints in stained glass, dedicated in 1971. Those at the east commemorate Mrs Bowen and Dr and Mrs Walsh, all generous donors to the parish. Those over entrance door are to Fr Gregory, parish priest from 1956 until his death in 1971. The south window in the west wall with a figure of St Columcille (Columba) was designed by Colwyn Morris of Glantawe Studios, Swansea and commemorates Fr Danny Mulan, who died in 1987.

Heritage Details

Architect: William S. Wort

Original Date: 1939

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Not Listed