History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Church of St Margaret

A Grade I Listed Building in Roath, Cardiff

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 51.4929 / 51°29'34"N

Longitude: -3.1547 / 3°9'16"W

OS Eastings: 319930

OS Northings: 177740

OS Grid: ST199777

Mapcode National: GBR KPG.KS

Mapcode Global: VH6F7.8QLW

Plus Code: 9C3RFRVW+54

Entry Name: Church of St Margaret

Listing Date: 19 May 1975

Last Amended: 12 October 2001

Grade: I

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 13819

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: In a walled churchyard at the S end of Waterloo Road N of it junction with Newport Road.

County: Cardiff

Town: Cardiff

Community: Roath (Y Rhath)

Community: Roath

Built-Up Area: Cardiff

Traditional County: Glamorgan

Find accommodation in


The present church is by John Prichard, architect of Llandaf, and was completed in 1870, replacing an earlier church on the site. The living of St Margaret had been purchased by John Stuart, 1st Marquess of Bute, in 1793. In 1800, the year of his first wife's death, a mausoleum was built on the N side of the church. This was retained when the earlier church was demolished in 1867. The new church was begun by Alexander Roos, architect to the Bute Estate, but in 1868 Roos was dismissed by the 3rd Marquess and Prichard was engaged in his place. Prichard built his church on foundations already laid to the original design by Roos, except that the intended S tower became the porch, although his intended crossing tower with spire was not built. The contractor was Thomas Williams of Canton, with E. Clarke & Son of Llandaf engaged to undertake the sculpture, and simple patterned glass was supplied by Saunders & Co of Birmingham.
In 1881 work began on a new mausoleum to replace the original structure, also designed by Prichard, which was completed in 1886. The present tower, designed by John Coates Carter, was built in 1926. The contractor was Turner & Sons of Cardiff. Other minor alterations include the replacement of the original glass over the period 1890-1920. In 1925 the original reredos was replaced, and was later re-erected at the Church of St Anne, in Roath.


Geometrical style cruciform church with crossing tower, NE Bute mausoleum, SE vestry and S porch. The nave is short and the chancel higher than the nave. Of coursed rock-faced stone, lighter freestone dressings and slate roof behind coped gables on moulded kneelers, with corbelled rainwater goods. A string course is over a slightly battered plinth. Windows have hood moulds, mostly with head stops.
The gabled porch, attached to and set back from the S transept, has a doorway with a single order of Radyr stone nook shafts with foliage capitals, and an inner shaft continuous with the arch. The doorway has a hood mould with foliage stops. It has double half-lit doors with diagonal leaded panes and similar glazing to the overlight. In the W side wall of the porch are 2 hooded cusped lights, while the nave has a cusped window to its L. The S transept has 2 2-light windows and a buttress between. Above is a central sexfoil window with hood mould continuous with a string course. In the E wall of the transept is a single cusped window. On the S side of the chancel is the sacristy and vestry, which has SE angle buttresses, and a lean-to roof behind a coped parapet with cusped trail to the cornice. A central boarded door with strap hinges has a shouldered lintel. A buttress is to the R of the doorway. At the ends are single cusped windows, with a similar window in the E wall. A tall stone stack with 2 attached round shafts rises from the eaves of the chancel, which also has a corbel table with grotesque heads.
The chancel has a 5-light E window. The NE mausoleum has gabled buttresses with trefoils, above which are sculpted flying angels, except to the abutment with the chancel. To the NE angle is a broad pinnacle composed of clustered shafts. The mausoleum has a 3-light E window, and a stepped sill band. Below the window is a memorial to Harriet Watson (d 1832) and descendants composed of a gabled canopy with quatrefoil and flanking shields in relief over a blind segmental panel with a memorial inscription. A smaller 2-light window is in the gable, with moulded sill band. The buttressed N wall is 2-bay, with 3-light windows, a band below sill level, and a corbel table of grotesque heads supporting a parapet of blind quatrefoils with relief foliage.
The N transept projects slightly in front of the mausoleum. It has 2 2-light windows and sexfoil window above, similar to the S transept. In its W wall is a C19 3-light window, re-used and originally the W window of the earlier church. It has simple Perpendicular tracery with subsidiary reticulated tracery in the main tracery lights. The N wall of the nave has 2 cusped lights. The 4-light W window has ringed shafts, and above is a quatrefoil in the gable. The W doorway has a crocketed gabled hood breaking the sill line of the W window. The doorway has 2 orders of nook shafts, of which the outer is Radyr stone and the inner is more slender and filleted. Both have foliage capitals. The 2-centred arch has a hood mould with bestial stops. Double boarded doors have strap hinges incorporating an early C14 style scrollwork pattern over the upper portion of the door.
The simple crossing tower has a polygonal SW turret with pyramidal stone roof below the belfry stage. The belfry stage has string courses above and below. Each face has 2 pointed openings with hood moulds and disc stops. They have Somerset-style traceried sound holes composed of quatrefoils set in a lozenge pattern. The embattled parapet is higher at the corners.


The interior has walls of cream-coloured Tymawr brick, with Bute red and Staffordshire blue brick employed in bands, patterning and relieving arches. The 2-bay nave and transepts have arched-brace roofs with a single tier of wind braces and pierced arcading above the cornice. The principals stand on short wall shafts with head corbels, except the N transept which has an angel corbel to the central principal on the N side. The nave W window has a shafted rere arch with hood mould and head stops. The transepts have N and S windows with linked hood moulds that form an impost band with blind cusped arch to the centre, while the sexfoil windows have a moulded sill band, shafted rere arch and hood mould.
The broad crossing has 2-centred arches to the nave and transepts with cylindrical responds to the transepts and on round corbels to the nave, and all with foliage capitals. The piers are composed of banded polychrome masonry including white Bridgend stone, Red Radyr stone, grey-green Forest of Dean stone and alabaster. The SW pier has a 1914-18 war memorial inscription. The crossing retains squinches (for Prichard's intended octagonal tower) and a panelled wooden ceiling on corbels, the main ribs having nail-head moulding, the subsidiary ribs plainer mouldings. The 2-centred chancel arch forming the E side of the crossing is more elaborate than the other arches. It has shafts, the abaci of which support pairs of subsidiary shafts with waterleaf capitals to the inner orders, and head corbels to the outer order.
The chancel has a boarded, keeled wagon roof with thin ribs and bosses. The walls have richer polychrome brick patterning than the nave and crossing. The E window has a shafted rere arch with hood mould and embattled sill, above a band of relief foliage and ashlar alabaster wall (partly concealed by the later reredos). The step up to the chancel and 3 steps to the sanctuary incorporate Radyr stone treads, and the sanctuary has an encaustic-tile floor by Godwin of Lugwardine. The S side of the chancel has ashlar alabaster sedilia with cusped arches, gabled hoods with crocketed finials, and freestone shafts with moulded capitals and broad abaci. On the R side of the sedilia is a 2-bay arcade to the vestry and organ loft. A central octagonal pier has moulded capitals, 2 orders of chamfer, and hood mould with foliage stops. The outer responds are on pairs of shafts with head corbels, and have waterleaf capitals and square abaci. Below the organ pipes and behind the choir stalls is a subsidiary arcade of 3 cusped arches to each main bay, with castellated band above. The arcades have shafts, moulded capitals and broad abaci.
The Bute mausoleum has 2-bay arcades on the N side of the chancel and E side of the N transept. The transept arcade has an octagonal pier and polygonal responds, the chancel arcade has clustered shafts to the pier and responds, and both arcades have foliage capitals. The arcades are filled with a gilded wrought iron screen in a striking free Gothic style incorporating fleur-de-lys finials and 5-branch gasoliers. In the inner spandrel of the arcade to the transept is a mosaic of Christ in Glory. A 2-bay quadripartite vault has brick cells, the central ribs supported by ringed and filleted wall shafts with stiff-leaf capitals. The windows have richly detailed rere arches, including 2 orders of ringed shafts, with foliage moulding in the arches and hood moulds with head stops. Shields below the main lights are above the sills. The E window is flanked by empty canopied niches with tall pedestals.
The mausoleum has a mosaic floor, upon which are 7 sarcophagi of polished red Peterhead granite. These commemorate Charlotte Jane Windsor, Marchioness of Bute (1746-1800), John Stuart, first Marquess of Bute (1744-1814), Frances Coutts, Dowager Marchioness of Bute (1773-1832), John, Lord Viscount Mountstuart (1767-94), Gertrude Amelia Stuart (d 1809), Lord Henry Stuart (1777-1809) and Elizabeth Stuart (1819-22). Memorial slabs on the N sides of the sarcophagi are the original sealing stones from the previous mausoleum.
The mausoleum retains a complete scheme of stained glass figures by W.F. Dixon, of 1886. They represent name saints of those deposited in the mausoleum. In the N wall the L-hand window has figures of St Elizabeth of Hungary, Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor, and St Elizabeth of Portugal; the R-hand window has figures of SS Gertrude of Nivelles, John the Divine and Hemma; while in the E window are SS Charles Borromeo, John the Baptist and Francis of Assisi.
Other furnishings designed by Prichard include the font, which has a stepped plinth of Radyr stone, a round stem with detached alabaster shafts and foliage caps. The hexagonal bowl has inlaid alabaster crosses to the E and W faces. The rich polygonal alabaster pulpit stands on a freestone base, has thin shafts, inset panels with bosses, and foliage cornices with eagle book rest. The steps have a gilded wrought iron hand rail. The chancel is spanned by an alabaster dado with pierced roundels, on a freestone base. A wooden reredos of 1925 by Ninian Comper is in late medieval style with carvings by W.D. Gough and painting by H.A.B. Bernard-Smith. It comprises a central figure of the Risen Christ in a canopied niche with spirelet, flanked by apostles in canopied niches.
The transepts have memorial tablets in the W walls mainly reinstated from the earlier church. In the N transept is a sculpture of c1882 depicting St Margaret, placed there in 1980 and brought from St Margaret's House of Mercy in nearby Church Terrace. The choir stalls and communion rail are by A.D.R. Caroe, erected 1952-3. The firm of Caroe & Passmore designed a simple screen in the S aisle, installed in 1966. The nave and crossing retain original moulded pews.
Original leaded diamond panes by Saunders & Co survive in the porch and the sacristy E window. The E window was re-glazed in 1952 following damage to the previous window in the 1939-45 war. It was designed by Carl Edwards for James Powell & Sons, and depicts the Ascension, with Christ in Majesty to the upper lights. The E window of the N transept depicts St Margaret of Antioch, was designed by L.C. Evetts, and was installed in 1969 to replace an earlier bomb-damaged window. The remaining windows are mostly by Burlison & Grylls. In the S aisle are St Michael and St Simon the Cyrenian of 1916, and ladies engaged in charitable work of 1896, beneath a sexfoil window depicting an angel bearing a shield with the monogram 'PHC', for Philip Henry Coward, donor of many of the windows. In the nave S window is the Risen Christ of 1906. The W window, installed in 1920 to commemorate Howard's 50th wedding anniversary, shows the Transfiguration above scenes from the early life of Christ. In the nave N windows are the Archangel Raphael of 1896 and St German, the latter designed in 1891 by G.F. Bodley, architect of the church of St German in Roath. In the N aisle the W window shows the Revelation to St John, of 1917. The N windows show the 4 Latin doctors, of 1917, and SS Ambrose and Jerome, of 1890 and also designed by Bodley, beneath a sexfoil window of an angel bearing a shield with the monogram 'IEC' (Isabella Eleanor Coward).

Reasons for Listing

Listed grade I for its rich and well-detailed interior, characteristic of one of the foremost C19 ecclesiastical architects working in Wales, and for the outstanding architectural and social significance of the Bute family mausoleum, the only such mausoleum in Wales.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.