Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Church of St Mary  


Unitary Authority
Neath Port Talbot  
Briton Ferry  
Street Side
Set back on the N side of Church Street and immediately N of the elevated A48.  


Broad Class
Religious, Ritual and Funerary  

Built 1891-2 by H. Francis Clarke of Briton Ferry under the supervision of J.P. Seddon, at a cost of £1800. The present church replaced an earlier church, of which the tower was retained. Several C19 views of the old church show it to have been in a Gothic survival style of the C17 or early C18. The church is probably an earlier foundation, however, and is possibly first mentioned in 1254. The font and the base of a churchyard cross are the only surviving features that can belong to such an early date.  

A simple Gothic style church with the nave and chancel under a single roof, N and S aisles under outshut roofs, and S porch and S tower. The W end of the nave and N aisle, beyond the tower, is a separate church hall. The 3-stage tower is the earliest part, its dateable features belonging probably to the C17. It is of rubble stone construction battered at the base. In the W wall is a segmental-headed doorway inserted or renewed in 1891 and with a replaced door. Above is a single narrow slit and a small square-headed belfry window with a moulded surround and hood. The other faces have similar belfry windows and narrow slits below. On the E side the shadow of the roof of the earlier church is visible. The projecting battlements have embrasures with saddleback copings on which flat slabs are laid. The merlons rise in 2 stages, the upper stage battered externally, and have projecting flat slab copings. The main body of the church is of snecked, rock-faced stone with brick dressings to pointed windows and doorways, and a concrete pantile roof replacing the original slate. To the R of the tower is a porch with a canopy carried on wooden brackets, to the R of which the S aisle has a single and then 2 groups of triple windows, with a vestry doorway at the R end. The angle has a foundation tablet bearing the date of the building. The chancel has a pair of windows in the S wall and 3 stepped lights making up the E window. The N aisle has 5 groups of triple windows with a pair of windows at the E end. The 3 stepped lights in the W wall light the hall. On the S side, to the L of the tower, is a doorway with a moulded triangular stone head and jambs, re-used from the earlier church. Further L is a pair of windows.  

The porch has steps leading up to double half-lit doors with Gothic tracery. Inside, the nave arcades are of timber, of 4 bays on the S side and 7 bays on the N side where it is continuous with the hall at the W end. The piers have tall bases, diagonal struts and carry a long paired spine beams. The roof has collar beams with raking struts above and further raking struts below carried on the piers. The nave has a plaster ceiling. The chancel, which extends into the easternmost bay of the nave arcade, has a trefoil-section boarded ceiling. In the E wall of the tower is a plain round-headed doorway with plastered arch, above which is a deeply splayed window. The font is probably C13. It has a round bowl with roll mouldings around the rim and base, and stands on a concave pedestal. The chancel has a plain panelled reredos, with a central Gothic panels in high relief, and was added c1929. A plain altar rail has a simple arcade of 6x2-centred arches, and was added in 1934. The choir stalls with Gothic panelling to the ends and front were added c1909. The polygonal pulpit was added c1905. In the S aisle is an alabaster tablet to Lewis Thomas (d.1817) and his wife Elizabeth (d. 1826) reclaimed from the earlier church. A plain boarded screen separates the nave from the church hall. Several windows have stained glass. In the E window is an Ascension, unsigned but c1922 and German in style. In the S aisle is a group of 3 windows showing crucifixion, Mary and John, by S. Belham & Co of London to the design of J.P. Seddon in the style of William Morris. Another group of 3 windows in the S aisle has glass depicting the Virgin Mary in memory of the Reverend Walters (d. 1948) by Celtic Studios. In the N aisle is a single undated window by Celtic Studios showing an Adoration scene.  

Reason for designation
Listed as a late C19 church of architectural interest principally for its wooden arcaded interior (similar to Prichard's St Clement's church of 1864-6) and retaining good stained glass. Significant earlier origins in the form of its tower.  

Cadw : Full Report for Listed Buildings [ Records 1 of 1 ]