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 John  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
Prominently sited on high ground above Penamser Road, in a large sloping churchyard at the W edge of the town centre.  


Broad Class

Built 1873-6. The S vestry was extended from 1897 (date on foundation stone). The tower was added in 1898. The architect of neither main phase is known. In 1990 the interior was altered. The chancel fittings were moved to the E end of the nave and a false ceiling and screen partitioned off the chancel for use as a church hall.  

A geometrical style parish church comprising an aisled nave, lower and narrower chancel, NW tower and S vestry and organ chamber, of snecked rock-faced Deudraeth stone with Bath stone dressing and cornices and red sandstone banding, and slate roof behind coped gables. The buttressed W front has an entrance in a slightly advanced steep coped gable. It has pointed double doors enriched with C-hinges and studs, and a single order of polished stone nook shafts. It is flanked by small cusped lights, and above it is the main 2-light W window with quatrefoil plate-tracery light. The buttressed 4-bay lean-to N and S aisles have alternately, 2-light plate-tracery windows with quatrefoils, and 3 stepped cusped lights. The clerestorey has pairs of cusped lights. The 3-stage tower has angle buttresses and a N entrance with similar detail to the main W doorway. In E and W walls are narrow lights. The middle stage has narrow lights in W and N faces only, and a small W stair light. The bell stage has paired openings under linked hoods, with louvres and with sill band. Above is a corbel table below the coped parapet, dominated by its bold octagonal corner turrets with narrow blank arches. Each face of the parapet has a stepped merlon in Bath stone. The lower projecting and gabled S vestry has a boarded door within the lean-to of the original vestry, and cusped window to the R with iron bars. The S gable end has a 2-light window, and on the E side is a cusped window with iron bars, and external stone stack. Further R is the end of the original lean-to vestry. It has paired cusped lights under a relieving arch. In front is a dwarf wall and railings to basement steps. The 2-bay buttressed chancel has a single 2-light plate-tracery S window, 3-light E window, and on the N side a 2-light plate-tracery window and a 3-light window with plate tracery over the outer lights. The N aisle and clerestorey are similar to the S side.  

The interior is plastered and the windows have segmental moulded freestone rere arches. The nave has 4-bay arcades, in which the central piers on each side are octagonal and the remainder are round. The nave has a clerestorey sill-band and an 8-bay roof of arched-brace trusses on corbelled wall posts, of which alternate trusses also have bracketed tie beams. Aisle roofs have corbelled brackets. The chancel arch has an outer order of ringed shafts of polished black stone and foliage capitals, and inner order with similar detail to corbelled shafts, and double-chamfer in the arch. The chancel has a roof of cusped arched braces on corbels, in 3 unequal bays. The S aisle and chancel have double-chamfered arches to the organ recess. The chancel also has a pointed S vestry door with studs and strap hinges. On the S side is a cusped piscina and roll-moulded jambs of, possibly unfinished, sedilia. The N side has a corbelled aumbry. Re-set in front of the chancel arch are communion rails of twisted iron uprights and scroll brackets, and a moulded wooden handrail. Under the chancel arch is a re-set reredos, of which the central portion has cusped-arch panels and painted cross and Evangelists with central gable and crocketed finials. Outer sides have plainer cusped panelling. The square freestone font is rounded at the angles, and has round panels with Christian motifs in relief. It stands on a round stem with detached polished stone shafts at the angles, to a moulded base, and polished stone plinth. Simple benches have shaped ends with low-relief foliage in small panels. The large polygonal wooden pulpit stands on posts, has 2 tiers of panels enriched by foliage in low relief, and carved emblems of the Evangelists below the cornice. A low chancel screen attached to the pulpit has similar detail and raised inscription band. The wooden reading desk has a large wooden sculpture of St John. All windows have stained glass. In the chancel, the N windows depict Crucifixion and Resurrection. The E window, post 1881, depicts the Ascension and other smaller scenes. On the S side the single window shows Jesus at Emmaus. In the S aisle, beginning at the E end, is Christ as a shepherd, John the Baptist and the Baptism of Christ, post 1887; Jairus' daughter, by Lavers & Westlake of London, 1894; Child Christ, post 1893 also by Lavers & Westlake; and 'suffer little children', post 1907. The W wall of the S aisle depicts the anointing of David as King of Israel and the infant Samuel in the Temple, post 1905. In the nave, the main W window depicts the calling James and John to become disciples of Jesus. In the small windows, the L-hand shows St Peter, post 1914, and the R-hand, above the font, has a semi-abstract interpretation of Baptism incorporating a font with IHS monogram, dove and bell motifs, by Celtic Studios, 1974. In the N aisle, the W window depicts Faith, Hope & Charity, post 1911. In the N aisle, from the W end, is the Sermon on the Mount, by Lavers & Westlake, 1908; the Annunciation by E. Frampton, 1899; and Christ teaching Nicodemus. The aisle E window depicts SS Peter and Paul, post 1886.  

Reason for designation
Listed for its special architectural interest as an accomplished Gothic Revival church in a prominent position within the town, and with good interior detail.  

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