Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
St Woolos' Cathedral  


Unitary Authority
Stow Hill  
Street Side
At top of Stow Hill; in churchyard bounded by Stow Hill and Clifton Road.  


Broad Class
Religious, Ritual and Funerary  

Traditionally founded around the year 500 by Gwynllyw, Lord of Gwynllwg, (whose name has corrupted to Woolos). The present St Mary’s Chapel is said to be on the site of the original church, and retains some pre-Conquest masonry. Around 1080, a Norman nave of 5 bays was added. Around 1200, St Mary's chapel was raised in height. In the C15, following damage when Newport was razed by Owain Glyndwr, aisles were added, as well as a 2-storey S porch, and the W tower, known as the Jasper Tower, after Jasper Tudor, who was responsible for some of the work. The church was restored 1818/19. In 1853, R G Thomas, architect, demolished the medieval porch and built a new one; and the chancel was rebuilt. In 1913, William Davies, architect, built vestry, and uncovered archaeological features. In 1960-62, the chancel was demolished and rebuilt, on a large scale by A D R Caroe, architect. The E window and mural were designed by John Piper, the mural being painted by scenery painters of Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In the early 1990s, a hall was added on the N side. The Diocese of Monmouth was created only in 1921; St Woolos achieved full cathedral status in 1949.  

Unusual plan consisting of W tower, connected to nave by Chapel of St Mary; S porch; large chancel, with vestries at right angles to N, and recent hall beyond. Red-brown stone with pale ashlar dressings; generally tiled roofs. Crenellated tower with stepped diagonal buttresses; 2-light square-headed windows to bell stage; to W, damaged statue in niche, single-light window below statue, and further 2-light square-headed window; below this, 3-light Perpendicular window; Gothic doorway. St Mary’s Chapel of 3 windows. Nave windows broad Perpendicular style dating from C19. Large chancel in free C20 Gothic style. At right angles to Chancel, on N side, Vestry with square-headed mullioned windows. Stepped down from this, Hall with lancet windows.  

Tower has part glazed Gothic doors to St Mary’s Chapel, which has 3 windows to each side (plus square window on S side with tracery from room above former porch). Arch-braced roof. Font incorporating Norman fragments. Niche on N side has mutilated mon to John Morgan of Tredegar, died 1491. C20 Stained glass in lancets from St Luke’s, Bridge Street, Newport. Norman Archway through to nave incorporates Roman columns from Caerleon, with re-cut Corinthian capitals; Norman window above. Norman nave of 5 bays, scallop capitals, clerestorey windows now give onto aisles. E bay of nave has to N, Gothic arch to organ chamber; to S, segmental arch to chapel (tall Gothic arch to aisle). Rood doorway above. At W end of S aisle, tomb of Sir Walter Herbert, died 1568; early C20 stained glass of Welsh Saints; C15 piscina. Arch-braced roofs to Nave and aisles. Mid C20 chancel in free Gothic style; on N side so-called "Leper’s window", a small re-set Perpendicular window.  

Reason for designation
Graded I as historic church of ancient origins, retaining much medieval fabric, in dominating position above centre of Newport.  

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