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St Mary's Catholic Church, Union Street, Carmarthen

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Map ReferenceSN42SW
Grid ReferenceSN4034820234
Unitary (Local) AuthorityCarmarthenshire
Old CountyCarmarthenshire
Type Of SiteCHURCH
PeriodPost Medieval
St Mary's Church is a Roman Catholic Church, situated immediately north-east of St Mary's Roman Catholic School. Historic (1890 and 1906) Ordnance Survey mapping depicts the church on the outskirts of town, on land surrounded by fields. The area surrounding the church is now built-up. The church was built at the expense of Miss K.F. Richardson (daughter of General Richardson). The parish was run by the Passionist order from 1889 to 1986.

The church is a Grade II listed building, considered a good early example of correct revived Gothic style, by a leading Victorian designer of Catholic churches. The church was constructed in 1851-1852, to the designs of Charles Hansom, Bristol. It consists of nave, presbytery and south porch, although it was originally intended to be larger, with provision for adding a north aisle and south transept. Buttresses support a spirelet on the souh-west angle. A flight of six stone steps flanked by dwarf stone walls lead up to the porch from the ground. At their foot is a medieval stoup on a pedestal, thought to have come from the lost chapel of St Barbara, Carmarthen. The lean-to south porch has a broad cinquefoil-cusped pointed arch with carved stone heads. The interior north wall has a four-bayed arcade with pointed arches, round columns and moulded caps for intended for the north aisle. The south wall has a similar two-bayed arcade for the proposed south chapel. The pointed double-chamfered chancel arch has a hoodmould on carved stone heads. The church has a painted stucco interior. The alter is constructed of painted Caen stone with three trefoiled arches on coloured marble colonettes and carved spandrels. Above it is an ornate painted stone Gothic reredos with four canopied niches with large carved figures of St Paul of the Cross, St Winefride, St Patrick and St Bridget. The figures flank a taller niche with a brass crucifix. There is an ogee-headed piscina on the south wall and a shelf on the north wall. The church was altered in 1889 by Albert Vicars. There is a west organ gallery with pipe organ, above the heavy boarded south door. It was given a new west organ gallery, font, boarded ceiling and painted decoration (now gone). The small octagonal stone font also dates to 1889.

Sources include:
Cadw, Listed Buildings Database
Lloyd, T, Orbach, J and Scourfield, R, 2006, The Buildings of Wales: Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion

N Vousden, RCAHMW, 12 March 2013