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Latitude: 52.4346 / 52°26'4"N
Longitude: -4.0558 / 4°3'20"W
OS Eastings: 260338
OS Northings: 283832
OS Grid: SN603838
Mapcode National: GBR 8T.ML1Y
Mapcode Global: VH4FC.N26H
Entry Name: Church of All Saints
Listing Date: 12 November 1997
Last Amended: 12 November 1997
Source ID: 19068
Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Location: Situated in Clarach valley, on E side of B 4572 just S of Clarach crossroads and just N of Pont Llangorwen.
Traditional County: Cardiganshire
Anglican parish church of 1838-41 by H J Underwood of Oxford with W front and S porch of 1849-50 by William Butterfield. Consecrated in 1841 by Bishop Thirlwall having cost £3,000, the expense largely borne by M D Williams of Cwmcynfelin. Built under the inspiration of the Oxford Movement, and one of the first churches to embody their theological and architectural ideals. The Rev Isaac Williams, curate to J.H. Newman in Oxford, hymn writer and poet, was brother to M D Williams. Local building stone was donated by R. Richardes of Penglais. The design was an early example of the close association between correct Gothic architecture and revived ritual in Anglican worship. It was based on Newman's own church at Littlemore, Oxford, designed by the same architect. The stone altar was the first in Wales since the Reformation. A W tower was intended but the present W front and S porch were added in 1849-50. Oxford Tractarians were associated with the whole project, and the lectern and chandeliers were gift of John Keble and John Newman, who both took a personal interest in the church. The first Vicar was Lewis Gilbertson, later Vice-principal of Jesus College, Oxford and donor of the church by Butterfield at Elerch, nearby, in 1868.
Parish church, comprising aisleless nave and lower chancel with S porch and W front added in 1849-50. Early English style. Squared, grey Silurian slate-shale brought to course. Base plinth has large quarry-faced blocks, with tooled masonry above to sill-course, and smooth facing above. Bath-stone E window tracery, and in porch. Steep slate roofs with coped gables and chancel cross. 4-bay nave has windowless first bay, lancets elsewhere, with stepped buttresses between bays. Moulded sill course and moulded course linking hoodmoulds, both interrupted by buttresses. Chancel is windowless to sides, E end has diagonal buttresses, sill-course, ashlar stepped triplet window with linked hoodmoulds continued in stepped string-course. Quatrefoil in gable. 1849-50 W front is of different stone and has 2 lancets flanking a big mid buttress carrying a tall slim octagonal spire, of intricate design. The buttress itself is a fine example of High Victorian design, solid geometrical shapes subtly eliding until octagonal spirelet breaks free. Upper part of spire has squat bell-stage with 8 small cusped bell-lights under stone steep octagonal spire with 4 tiny lucarnes. S side has 1849-50 porch in first bay and memorial sun-dial on SE buttress to John Morgan 1858. Porch has pointed, flat-chamfered arch with compound piers, a moulded course across below gable and gable coping with cross finial. Cusped rafter-roof and trefoiled lights in side walls. S door has pointed arch with roll and fillet mouldings, and Early English responds.
Interior is relatively austere with plastered walls and plain chamfered pointed chancel arch. Nave has surprisingly low-pitched roof of late C15 type, three tie-beam trusses with wall-posts and arched braces on corbels. W bell-tower protrudes into nave, with corbelled upper parts and a flat-headed opening at ground-level. Chancel is contrastingly ornate with fine ashlar Early English detail modelled on Salisbury Cathedral. Ashlar altar with cusped panels, full-width panelled reredos, a blind arcade of 7 bays with pointed arches, column shafts and moulded capitals. Roll-moulded sill-course over, under stepped triple lancet E window, also shafted with moulded arches. Roof is steep-pitched with oak mock hammerbeam trusses with pendants.
Fittings: Oak pews with curved bench-ends. W windows have stained-glass by C. Evans & Co, 1888. 5 nave windows are by Celtic Studios, 1950s and later, with a sixth of 1938, by C.C. Powell. Oak hexagonal pulpit of 1839-40 with plain panelling and stick baluster stair. Oak eagle lectern at foot. 4 exceptional ornate Gothic Revival metal chandeliers, each 12-branched with crocketted octagonal ogee-topped centre shaft. Low screen of 1839-40, a short length of oak rail each side with cusped balustrading. Richly coloured E window glass of the 1850s, probably by Wailes. Oak plain altar rail. Chancel wall-tablets to M.D., G.G. and I. Williams of Cwmcynfelin.
Graded II* as one of the first Gothic Revival churches in Britain designed according to the principles of the Oxford movement. The association with Isaac Williams, J H Newman and John Keble puts this church at the very important moment when the Oxford Tractarians began to translate their liturgical ideas into architecture, a process carried forward by Pugin and the Cambridge Camden Society. These ideas are clearly expressed in the provision of a full chancel, differentiated by chancel arch and screen, and in the careful use of correct medieval detail. The additions by Butterfield take this process onward towards High Victorian emphasis on geometrical form, and the fittings are themselves of high quality.
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