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St Illtyd's Catholic Church, Balaclava Road, Penydarren, Dowlais

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Map ReferenceSO00NE
Grid ReferenceSO0618007800
Unitary (Local) AuthorityMerthyr Tydfil
Old CountyGlamorgan
Type Of SiteCHURCH
PeriodPost Medieval

1. Built in 1844-6, architect J.Scoles of London. enlarged in 1894. Built in the Gothic style, long-wall entry type. See Site Files [Ecclesiastical] for photos.

2. The first Catholic church of modern times in the valleys, St Illtyd's Church was built was built for the Benedictines in phases by three of the major Catholic architects working in Wales in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: J. J. Scoles’ original stone-built chapel of 1844-6 was radically transformed with contrasting brick additions by Edmund Kirby in 1894, and there were further additions by F. R. Bates in 1920. The church has many fine furnishings, including an elaborate high altar and good stained glass. 

The stone section of the church (first and third phase of the building) forms the east and west elevations and built with rubble sandstone and limestone dressings to the architectural features. The church is not on traditional east to west axis. There is a gabled entrance porch to the west elevation which forms the principal entrance to the church, which is stepped and ramped. The north elevation is rendered, the render has been applied following the construction of the third phase as the render sits proud of the stonework. In 1894, the church was extended to the south elevation which forms the second phase of development. The second phase built with contrasting red brick and terracotta, creates a large octagonal-roofed apse forming the Sanctuary, flanked by two large transepts and chapels.

Updated by M. Powel, RCAHMW. October 2023. 

Source: St Illtyd's Roman Catholic Church: Conservation Statement. Volute Architects, March 2021.