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Church of St Mark

A Grade I Listed Building in Brithdir and Llanfachreth (Brithdir a Llanfachreth), Gwynedd

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.7487 / 52°44'55"N

Longitude: -3.8332 / 3°49'59"W

OS Eastings: 276357

OS Northings: 318360

OS Grid: SH763183

Mapcode National: GBR 62.ZZ75

Mapcode Global: WH67V.25XM

Entry Name: Church of St Mark

Listing Date: 26 May 1995

Last Amended: 26 May 1995

Grade: I

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 16008

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Located off the road on a slight rise, set within its walled churchyard.

County: Gwynedd

Community: Brithdir and Llanfachreth (Brithdir a Llanfachreth)

Community: Brithdir and Llanfachreth

Locality: Brithdir

Traditional County: Merionethshire

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History

Begun 1895 and consecrated in 1898; designed by H Wilson of Sedding and Wilson, architects of London. The church was commissioned by Mrs Louisa Tooth in memory of her second husband, the Reverend Charles Tooth, formerly chaplain of St. Mark's Church in Florence. The church is conceived in a bold and severe style,and shows the influence of contemporary Art Nouveau architecture on the continent. Wilson refers in contemporary correspondence to his inspiration from 'one or two of those delightfully simple churches south of the Alps and wished the church to appear as if it had sprung out of the soil, instead of being planted down on it. The restrained monumentalism which Wilson achieves in the design makes the church an exceptionally important and advanced work for its date. The pulpit and retable, of beaten and moulded copper, were also designed by Wilson, and represent important examples of Arts and Crafts metalwork by one of the chief figures of the movement.

Exterior

The church is constructed of brick faced with locally quarried grey-green snecked ashlar; medium/steep slate roof, feathered out slightly and with oversailing eaves. Rough T plan,with N and S porches flush with the W wall. The nave roof is continued down to serve these giving the W end an almost triangular look. This has 2 tiers of ogee-headed windows, the upper ones separated by a large and plain raised cross and the whole covered by a large gabled canopy; round-arched soffit carried on massive shaped corbels. Similar asymmetrically-placed windows to Nave N and S sides. The porches have gently inclined side walls and deeply chamfered 4-centred arched entrances; plain, flat-arched entrances within. The nave S side has a coped parapet wall to the E end screening external steps down to a boiler room. Gabled N and S transepts with shaped kneelers; plain rectangular windows with upper oculus to the gable wall of the S. Chamfered, ogee-headed entrances to their W returns, that to the S deeply recessed. That to the N transept is angled at its corner with the nave and has a stone roof; this with stepped access, both with ribbed and boarded doors and decorative handles. 2-tier bell-cote with segmental bell opening and smaller decorative round-arched one above. Flat E end with wide, sweeping gable, the side walls inclined as before. Flat, stepped buttress with round-arched lancet within; flanking ogee-headed windows as before and gable light in apex.

Interior

The rendered interior has been repainted and whilst it does not correspond exactly with Wilson's intended (though possibly not executed) colour-scheme of 'rich warm red' nave walls, blue nave roof and 'warm cream, almost a yellow' for the chancel, the spirit of his mixture of strong primary colours has been retained. Nave with 3-bay roof with canted ceiling and tie-beams with plain decorated braces; plain plaster cornice. Art Nouveau N and S doors, each contained within a deep, splayed recess and with similar, segmental niche above; teak and oak inlaid with ebony and abalone shell in a series of ogee-headed chevron motifs. Circular lead font cast at the Central School of Art and Design, London; raised foliate motifs and Christian monograms, all in eclectic medieval style. On an octagonal column with splayed base. Arts and Crafts pulpit by Wilson, of beaten copper (repousse) with bunches of grapes in roundels and vulgate texts.

Barrel-vaulted crossing, stepped-up from the Nave and with plain plaster cornice returned around the E face of the crossing arch. Large round-arched recesses N and S, the latter with access through W crossing arch pier to pulpit and NE through thickness of wall to the N transept; this via an angled, barrel-vaulted passage. Chancel stalls of Spanish Chestnut, designed by Wilson and carved by Arthur Grove; bench-ends with zoomorphic carvings. Steps up to groin-vaulted chancel with transepts and E internal apse leading off. Full-height arched entrances to transepts, the N one containing a plain organ. The S is filled with an oak upper gallery in jettied arrangement with plain panelling beneath; simple flat, shaped balusters to balustrade, arranged in 4 compartments. Altar rails stepped-up with figurative relief panels and 3 massive posts to each of N and S sections; inlaid teak chevrons to rail face and large elliptical ball finials. Semi-circular steps up to altar. Frontal by Wilson of cast copper with figurative panels, originally costing รบ55; similar figurative predella. The altar stands within a false apse created out of the mass of masonry at the E end. The apse is pierced on both N and S sides by segmental arched passages and by upper, angled windows. The E end windows all have deep splays, segmental inner arches and geometrically-patterned plain leaded glass.

Reasons for Listing

Included at Grade I as a highly important and unaltered example of the work of Henry Wilson, a leading figure of the Arts and Craftsmovement. St Mary's Brithdir ranks amongst his major works in Britain.

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Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Goedlan
    Located off the road on a slight rise, approximately 70m SE of St. Mark's Church; at the end of a short drive.
  • II Ty Glas Farmhouse including attached Byre
    Located off the road at the end of a short farm track, approximately 160m NE of St. Mark's Church.
  • II* Braich-y-Ceunant
    Located at the end of an access lane running E from an unclassified road which runs SE off the B 4416; approximately 170mS of St. Mark's church.
  • II Brithdir Independent Chapel including Low Front Walls, Railings and Gates
    Situated on the SE side of the road just to the SW of Brithdir.
  • II* Plas Hen
    Located some 2km SW of Brithdir immediately to the E of a narrow lane linking the B 4416 with the A 470; raised above the lane and built into the bank of a hill. Also called 'Old Caerynwch'.
  • II Caerynwch
    Located in its own park 2km SE of Brithdir in a hollow facing the Afon Clywedog; at the end of a long drive running S from the Pont ar Ddibin.
  • II Tyddyn Garreg Farmhouse
    At the end of a farm track some 400m NE of the chapel at Tabor.
  • II Maes-yr-Helmau Farmhouse
    Situated on a high bluff just below a rocky knoll overlooking Clywedog and reached via a farm track leading off the A470 l.2 km E of the service station E of the town.

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