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St John's Church, Gowerton

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Map ReferenceSS59NE
Grid ReferenceSS5901096432
Unitary (Local) AuthoritySwansea
Old CountyGlamorgan
Type Of SiteCHURCH
Period19th Century

The church of St John the Divine is located on the north side of Church Street in a churchyard used as a burial ground. It was built by J Bacon Fowler of Brecon and Swansea in 1880-2 as a chapel of ease to the parish church of Loughor. The land for the church was donated by Sir John Dillwyn Llewelyn of Penllergaer. A grant of £150 was received from the Incorporated Society for the Enlargement, Building and Repair of Churches towards its construction which was undertaken by Thomas, Watkins and Jenkins of Swansea. The chancel was refitted in 1900 when the walls were fully lined in Italian marble, and a matching altar and reredos were installed. This was the gift of Colonel J R Wright, proprietor of the Elba Steelworks in Gowerton, who had set up a new steel making plant in Italy and brought the marble and workmen back with him.
Listed (Grade II) as a well-designed Victorian church founded to serve a growing industrial community, the marble furnishings and stained glass being of additional interest and reflecting the patronage of leading local industrialists.
The church was built in Decorated style and is constructed of snecked rock-faced sandstone with green Bridgend stone dressings under slate roofs and with a dressed plinth. It comprises nave with bellcote, chancel, gabled south porch and north vestry. Inside, the nave and chancel are lofty, the nave of seven-bays with arch-braced roof, the chancel of 3.5 bays with high arch-braces. The chancel walls are fully lined in marble, grey with pink bands and a decorated coloured frieze to the tops of the side walls. The floor is also of decorated marble, in red, white and black. Fittings include an ornate red marble reredos with blind arcading surrounding the sanctuary, a wood-panelled polygonal pulpit, and a painted octagonal font at the west end tapering down to a circular stem on a low plinth. Stained glass includes works by J.H.Dearle.

Sources: Extracts from CADW listed buildings database; J.Newman, Buildings of Wales: Glamorgan (1995), p.363.
Photographed during aerial reconnaissance by RCAHMW on 4th March 2008.

David Leighton and L. Osborne, RCAHMW, 7 May 2015