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Church of SS Julius and Aaron

A Grade II* Listed Building in St. Julians, Newport

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.6002 / 51°36'0"N

Longitude: -2.979 / 2°58'44"W

OS Eastings: 332287

OS Northings: 189488

OS Grid: ST322894

Mapcode National: GBR J6.BHC2

Mapcode Global: VH7BD.91ZN

Entry Name: Church of SS Julius and Aaron

Listing Date: 12 January 2017

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 87730

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: At the northern end of St Julians Avenue on the junction with Heather Road.

County: Newport

Community: St. Julians

Locality: St Julians

Traditional County: Monmouthshire

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History

Anglican Church in the Catholic tradition, designed by the prominent architect J Coates Carter of Penarth and built in 1925-6, left incomplete at his death in 1927. Much of the drive for the building of the church came from John Albert Cottrell, who had been appointed as curate to the parish of St Julians in 1901. He led the establishment of an Anglo-Catholic church in the parish, developing the mission church in nearby Durham Road and introducing a High Church service. Cottrell was a friend of Coates Carter and the choice of architect was undoubtedly his influence.

Coates Carter had originally worked up designs for a brick church in 1910 and then a grand Perpendicular style basilica church in 1917 but these were never built. The church that was eventually built was designed in 1923, envisaged as a taller and wider church than as executed, and was completed to only two thirds of its intended length, omitting sacristy and south chapel that had been originally intended. These were later added - the sacristy in 1989, and the south aisle in 2012.

The development of the church may be a reflection of the protracted time involved in the fund raising in what was a less privileged area of Newport and the disruption caused by the First World War. The intention may always have been to complete Coates Carter’s scheme to its full length once funds allowed: the buttressing and incomplete corners of the west wall suggest this.

Another figure with connections to Coates Carter and Cottrell was Eric Gill. Gill had acquired the monastic settlement at Capel-y-ffin in 1924 as a Catholic self-supporting community of the Ditchling Guild. The monastery had been founded in 1869 by Father Ignatius as an Anglican Benedictine foundation in succession to Llanthony. Construction of the detached church at the monastery began in 1872 but the structure had collapsed by c1920. The chancel of the church survives in a ruinous condition and is listed alongside the monastery complex. The reredos from the church, dating to 1882 and designed by HF Webber and made in Munich, was installed in the church at St Julians in 1932. The font and 2 of 6 High Altar candlesticks also found their way from Capel-y-ffin to St Julians.

The design and appearance of the church conforms to the ideas and principles of the Arts and Crafts movement: There is an honest and expressive use of materials, with external stonework and exposed internal stone and brickwork and timber roof structure combining with slender concrete columns in the nave, blending traditional craftsmanship with new materials and forms of layout. The interior, partly because of the foreshortened plan, is compact, centralised and light and has a sparse simplicity. Reordering with removal of choir stalls was carried out in the 1980s; the sacristy was added in 1989 and dedicated March 1996. In 2012 a chapel and meeting rooms (Ty Williams) were added to the south of the chancel, the chapel opened to the inside of the church with the removal of two blocked arches. Ty Williams is accessed externally only and forms a separate building but both consistently follow the design and appearance of the original church.

Exterior

Church. Nave with two aisles, and chancel with flanking south chapel and north sacristy. Pantiled roof, random Old Red Sandstone and red brick dressings.

Tall 3 bay nave with double bellcote on eastern gable and lean-to aisles. 3 pointed windows to both south and north, brick surrounds with recessed arch with flush hoods and projecting imposts, concrete cills. West front is buttressed and with toothed stonework to north and south walls, suggesting the intention to build the longer building that had been planned originally. Two sets of paired lancets to either side of the central buttress, with similar windows in west walls of aisles divided by lower buttresses. Single storey entrance porch added to north, doorway (blocked internally) to south with boarded doors. South wall with pointed doorway.

High 3 bay chancel, with 3 lancet windows set high in the tall east gable facing St Julians Avenue, which has projecting gable canopy with sculpture of Christ on the cross. Small round headed window below the main windows, and 3-centred arched central doorway to the ground floor, flanked by flat headed square headed boarded openings. Roofline swept down over added south chapel, lower sacristy added to north, set back and with lean-to roof below, 3 high level round-arched chancel windows with square stack to left. Round window in the east wall of the north aisle and evidence of an earlier structure in the position of the sacristy with keying for a roofline, blocked door from the north aisle and continuation of the stonework of the north aisle in the exterior wall of the sacristy. Chapel and Ty Williams added to south (2012), two windows and door with steps from St Julians Avenue.

Interior

Wide aisled 3-bay nave divided by tall concrete piers with square bases and octagonal capitals supporting wide 4-centred red brick arches, the eastern end narrowed to accommodate openings to rood loft that was never installed.


Chancel of 3-bays with high, broad concrete chancel arch on rectangular brick imposts with dog tooth capitals. North wall with 3 high level lancets with below 4-centred arches, open to sacristy divided by dog tooth string course. South wall with two eastern arches blocked, west arch opened to added south chapel.

High barn like roof throughout with tie beams and wind braces. Full height Reredos in gothic style filling the eastern end of 1882 relocated in 1932 from Capel-y-ffin with altar and candle sticks also relocated.

South chapel of 2012 with slate floor and open arches to south aisle and chancel. South aisle with 3 windows, door at chapel end and two low level blind openings. Font of Caldey Island black marble on 5 circular shafts. North aisle also of 3 windows, door at west end. Nave with organ at w end, pulpit of stone and brick from 1980’s reordering.

Reasons for Listing

Included for its special architectural and historic interest as a good example of an early C20 church building. A rare example of the work of Coates Carter and although not fully built to his original designs it has strong and expressive architectural character and its incomplete nature reflects the period in which it was designed and constructed. It is also of particular special historic interest for its connection with the monastic settlement at Capel-y-ffin and the relocation of objects from there. These are of exceptional quality and illustrate the nature religious revival in the later Victorian period.

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