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Church of St. Mary R C

A Grade II Listed Building in Monmouth, Monmouthshire

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Latitude: 51.8125 / 51°48'44"N

Longitude: -2.713 / 2°42'46"W

OS Eastings: 350941

OS Northings: 212887

OS Grid: SO509128

Mapcode National: GBR FL.X1MR

Mapcode Global: VH86T.XPLY

Plus Code: 9C3VR76P+XQ

Entry Name: Church of St. Mary R C

Listing Date: 15 August 1974

Last Amended: 10 August 2005

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 2354

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Part of a group in the important residential street leading south-east from the parish church.

County: Monmouthshire

Town: Monmouth

Community: Monmouth (Trefynwy)

Community: Monmouth

Built-Up Area: Monmouth

Traditional County: Monmouthshire

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1792-3 and 1870-1. One of the earliest Roman Catholic churches to be built in Britain after such buildings were first legally permitted following the Catholic Relief Act of 1778, and the oldest church in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cardiff. Established by Michael Watkins, the then landlord of The Robin Hood Inn (qv Monnow Street). Originally a small room hidden behind cottages as the law did not allow a visible church until 1829. This church was altered in 1837, but became too small so the cottages were demolished in 1870 and the church extended by Benjamin Bucknall with completion in 1871.


Street elevation of coursed red sandstone rubble with Bath stone dressings and Welsh slate roofs. Plain Gothic style of a North Italian influence. Three bay front with central entrance set forward in the base of the tower. The double plank doors are recessed within a pointed Venetian Gothic arch with attached half-columns with stiff-leaf capitals. The door is flanked by 2-light windows in ashlar frames, dripmoulds over. Above the door is a window of paired tall lancets. Above this the projecting tower is supported on paired pointed arches. Open bell stage with paired openings with central colonette of Lombardic type facing in each direction, two bells. Dentil cornice, bell-cast rectangular spire, coped gable on either side of the tower.
The side elevations are rendered, but clearly show the two builds with two windows of 1871 at the street end and three of 1793 to the rear, continuous roofline. The Bucknall windows are 2-light with cinquefoil heads, the earlier ones are pointed headed sashes. East elevation not seen.


The interior is very plain with a corniced ceiling and a triple sanctuary arch, now a small apse flanked by doors, but it contains an interesting font with a serpent in alabaster probably of 1888, and also relics of Father Kemble of Welsh Newton executed at Hereford in 1679. Medieval crosses and vestments, including one made from Mrs. Gladstone's court dress. There is said to be an 1837 staircase.

Reasons for Listing

Included for its special interest as an important historic building with definite character in the Monmouth town centre and as the earliest Roman Catholic church in Cardiff Diocese.

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