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Church of Saint Catherine

A Grade II Listed Building in Gorseinon, Swansea

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.6694 / 51°40'9"N

Longitude: -4.0456 / 4°2'44"W

OS Eastings: 258637

OS Northings: 198714

OS Grid: SS586987

Mapcode National: GBR GW.8WGN

Mapcode Global: VH4K1.T9ML

Entry Name: Church of Saint Catherine

Listing Date: 26 March 2002

Last Amended: 26 March 2002

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 26260

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Situated on the E side of Gorseinon in a prominent position on the N side of Alexandra Road.

County: Swansea

Town: Swansea

Community: Gorseinon

Community: Gorseinon

Built-Up Area: Gorseinon

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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History

Anglican parish church of 1911-3, designed by W D Jenkins of Llandeilo in the very elaborate late Gothic style he also used at Ammanford church, (1911-15). The builders were R Wilkins & Son of Bristol, the tender price £7,500, the final cost said to be £11,000 or £15,500, of which near half was paid by the Lewis family, owners of the tin works. Conventional plan of nave and aisles with chancel, but with chancel transepts, the S transept with pews, the N transept with organ and choir vestry behind. Exceptionally rich fittings, mostly donated by the Lewis family, possibly all made by Jones & Willis. Pulpit 1913 to Dr T M Jones (d 1911), font 1913, E window 1913 by A L Moore & Son, to W and C Lewis of Melin Mynach, baptistery windows 1922 to Dr T Mitchell, war memorial cross outside 1922, organ by Nicholson & Son 1922-3, reredos, chancel screen, and S chapel reredos and screens, all of 1925, given by W R Lewis, designed by T E Gronow and made by Jones & Willis. The church hall to N was added in 1929-31 for £9,000, given by W R Lewis as a memorial to Col D Lewis. N aisle W window 1950 by Celtic Studios, S transept S window to Canon W J Thomas 1960 and W window 1961 to W Rufus Lewis, both made by J Wippell of Exeter. Tower has 8 bells by Carr of Smethwick, 1913. Some fittings moved from the demolished Holy Trinity church, Gorseinon.

Exterior

Anglican parish church, squared rock-faced stone with extensive ashlar dressings and green slate roofs. Nave with clerestorey and lean-to aisles, large 3-stage SW tower, and chancel with transepts, the N transept containing choir vestry and a NE gable in angle to chancel containing clergy vestry and toilet. Ornate late Gothic style with influence from the Arts and Crafts movement, the openings mostly with segmental-pointed heads, hoodmoulds and square red sandstone voussoirs above, the tracery fanciful. Shouldered gables with flush ashlar bands, moulded copings and cross finials. W end has 2 bands over large 6-light window with unusual tracery, 3-sided baptistery projection below, with single lights, quoins and parapet. Tower to left and buttress to right, and then 3-light window at end of N aisle. Tower of 3 stages has big quoined clasping buttresses on 3 sides and SW octagonal stair turret, buttresses and turret with battered lowest stage. W doorway detailed like N door (see below), the curved coping linked to a first floor string course. S 3-light window like aisle windows. Tall 2nd stage has double band half way each face, framing a plain square-headed 2-light window. Bell-stage has 2 traceried 2-light bell openings with hoodmoulds each face, between moulded courses and with thin wall-shaft between. Wall-shaft is carried up to ashlar embattled parapet with pyramid bosses in frieze and blind tracery in battlements. Parapet is framed by tops of buttresses and ashlar octagonal top to stair tower, also battlemented. 1911 foundation stone on SE buttress.
Nave has pairs of flat-headed 2-light clerestorey windows to each of 6 bays (5 on S), each bay with corbelling, sill course and raised quoined piers. Aisles have 3-light windows with buttresses between, chamfered eaves, and impost band and sill band interrupted by buttresses. N aisle right has N door with free Gothic detail, broad with chamfered jambs and hoodmould turned up at each end to join impost band, and brought up in centre to base of a column shaft with carved finial, under a short length of stepped parapet, the centre step with shallow curved coping. S aisle has door in right bay.
Transepts have side buttresses and high plinth carried right around transepts and chancel, at level of aisle sill band. Five-light S transept S window. Chancel has clasping buttress to SE, 2 short buttresses E, and single buttress NE. Long 2-light S window, large and broad 7-light E window with very inventive tracery in 2-3-2 lights, divided by 2 plain mullions. Wall shaft up from window apex to gable, 2 flush bands in gable and pair of louvred vents. NE gable to right has 3 single square-headed windows E and N side door. N transept adjoining has 4-light N window, and octagonal ashlar chimney on gable slope to right. Basement door down steps.

Interior

Whitewashed plastered walls with ashlar dressings. Ornate hammerbeam roofs on corbels, 7 main arch-braced collar trusses with tracery above collars, 6 intermediate trusses without corbels of arch-bracing. Seven-bay arcades with 2-chamfer pointed arches, hoodmoulds, carved stops, octagonal piers and bases. Wood-block floors. Aisle roofs have arched braced beams on corbels. Segmental-pointed E arch to each aisle with hoodmoulds and carved stops. SW porch, under tower with terrazzo floor, segmental-pointed doors to 3 sides and window to S, coved boarded ceiling with ribs. W end baptistery projection with segmental-pointed arch and hoodmould, stone roof within. Chancel arch, broad 2-chamfer, pointed, the inner arch on column shafts with Art Nouveau carved head corbel each side. Chancel has terrazzo floor, panelled boarded segmental-pointed roof in 12 panels. Segmental-pointed arches N and S. S wall has pointed 3-bay arcaded recess, framing piscina and 2 seats. Holy Trinity chapel in S transept has scissor-rafter roof and one arch-braced collar truss. Arch from N aisle gives onto passage behind organ. Choir vestry with boarded panelled roof to N in N transept.
Fittings: Pews and stalls of American oak 1913, stalls with pierced traceried front. Exceptionally ornate Austrian oak screen of 1925, 7 bays with openwork crocketted gables and finials over ogee crocketted arches, the gables infilled with delicate tracery, and finials between gables. Lower rail with flower and leaf motifs, open traceried panels below and inscription scrolls along bottom rails. On each of 8 posts, a statuette under crocketted finial.
Reredos and panelling to E wall, highly carved with blind tracery panels, cresting and finials. Austrian oak centre square panel of Crucifixion with SS Mary & John in carved floral border under ogee canopy with cresting and finials. Two blind traceried panels each side with canopies, then 2 outer full-length panels with attached thin shafts with small statues under canopies, SS Catherine and Cecilia. Outer 2-bay wall panels each have statue on corbel: SS David and Teilo. Altar below has centre roundel with 6-pointed star framing sexfoil and traceried panels each side with vine, corn, lily and passion-flower motifs. Diagonally-set outer piers each with 2 columns. Traceried oak altar rails.
Pulpit of Austrian oak on Caen stone base with 5 squat column shafts, Gothic with ornate ogee blind tracery, vine cornice and front figure of Good Shepherd.
Reredos in Holy Trinity chapel, Austrian oak with 3 blind tracery panels, the centre one with canopy over carved Crucifix. Outer piers have 4 small statues of Evangelists under 2 canopies. Panelling each side, panelled altar with Celtic cross. Chapel also has traceried oak screens to aisle and to chancel.
W end ornate font of carved stone, octagonal with traceried panels, the front panel with shield and dove, the shaft ringed by 8 green and red marble shafts with ashlar linked vine-leaf capitals. Carved oak angel lectern in nave, brass lectern in chapel dated 1909. Organ in chancel N arch in panelled case, minimal gothic framing to pipes.
Stained glass: E window by A L Moore & Son, of 7-lights, Ascension with Nativity and Angel at the Tomb, 1913, W window 1961 signed by G B Cooper-Abbs of J Wippell of Exeter, to W Rufus Lewis, 6-light, Good Samaritan, works of mercy and 10 pioneers of medical research.. Baptistery 3 narrow lights 1922, Christ, St Luke and Virgin and Child. S transept S window 1960 'The Majesty of the Crucified Saviour' with Nativity, Baptism, Christ as teacher, and Transfiguration; with marks of Wippell and Cooper-Abbs. N aisle W window 1950, early life of Jesus, by Celtic Studios, Swansea, probably designed by B T Evans.

Reasons for Listing

Included as a late Gothic revival church with Arts and Crafts carved detail of quality by a prominent regional architect.

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