Full Report for Listed Buildings

Summary Description of a Listed Buildings

Reference Number
Building Number
Date of Designation
Date of Amendment
Name of Property
Catholic Church of St Benedict, includes entrance gates and railings  


Unitary Authority
Street Side
On the E side of Llythrid Avenue, on the S side of the junction with Sketty Road (A4118).  


Broad Class
Religious, Ritual and Funerary  

Constructed 1961 to designs of the architect Thomas Price ARIBA of FR Bates, Son & Price. After WWI a group of Catholics in Sketty had acquired land and had constructed a hall and presbytery (1927-8). The hall was initially served by Benedictines from nearby St David’s Priory (off what is now Oystermouth Road) before becoming the centre of the new parish of Sketty in 1936. Construction of a new church was delayed by WWII and it wasn’t until 1961 that a permanent church was built. It was consecrated by Archbishop Murphy of Cardiff on 6 December that year. The church was built using a concrete portal frame, a type of construction developed during WWII and more widely adopted in the decades after. The appearance of the church has echoes in the designs of Le Corbusier’s Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France (1955), with its sweeping rooflines and small punched window openings in the external cladding. Its appearance, and internal arrangement bringing the nave and altar closer together than in earlier more traditional layouts, are clearly also influenced by the contemporary thinking of the Liturgical Movement. This thinking was formalised at the Second Vatican Council (1962-5). A photograph of the church from the N side of Sketty Road reproduced in the Diocese of Cardiff Yearbook of 1963 shows a large illuminated cross on the N face of the campanile and a further outline wrought iron figure depicting the Holy Trinity on the blind wall of the W end above the entrance. These have both been removed. Many of the original internal furnishings survive. Stained glass installed in the E end c2000 designed by Katie Schaverien, awarded Lord Mayor’s Design Award in 2001. The 1927-8 Hall (with open pediment) and Presbytery are to the S facing onto Llythrid Avenue, and are not of special interest.  

Church in Modernist style. E-W longitudinal plan. Portal frame, clad and rendered. Concrete tile roof. W wall part glazed, left part with rectilinear glazing with heavy concrete framing. Curved right hand part blind. Attached at the ground floor is a semi-circular flat roofed entrance canopy, infilled under the right with an ambulatory lit by slit windows piercing its outer curved wall. A triangular concrete campanile, open on its S side, rises above from the SW corner of the church. The slit windows and flat roof of the ambulatory continue along the S wall, (containing a side chapel, confessionals and a sacristy, accessed internally) with the main wall of the church set back above. There are small pierced windows apparently randomly arranged to the upper left. On the SE corner a further extension projects again with a wide doorway in the W wall accessed up 4 steps, 5 tall windows in E elevation, the S elevation is split with a concave splay. The E end is semi-circular, and sweeps up to a point to meet the ridge, full height slit windows on either side, reeded render in the centre panels. The N elevation facing Sketty Road is facetted below eaves line and is divided into 3 bays each with a grid of alternating small square window openings and raised panels, blank angled panels in between these bays and a further tall angle glazed bay at the left (lighting the sanctuary).  

Entrance at W end via curved ambulatory with pierced full height external wall, with the baptistry on the inside. The curving partition wall to the baptistry has full height splits, allowing sight of the font when entering the church). Chapel and confessionals in S wall. Chapel under the organ gallery at W end, concrete fronted with floating steps with wrought iron gate, handrail and balusters. Nave with exposed roof framing. Terracotta Stations of the Cross by David John, pendant light fittings (also probably by John). Timber benches. Sanctuary, wider than nave, lit from tall slit windows at either side and raised by a single step. Windows with stained glass. Altar rails of Mona marble. Forward altar, inset tabernacle behind, stone ambo and tapering font also of Mona marble. Large painted crucifix with Our Lady and St John on E wall.  

Reason for designation
Included for its special architectural interest as a well preserved modernist church, its design reflecting the progressive thinking of the Liturgical Movement in the post war years. Its construction and layout was at the forefront of the development of Catholic church layout in this period. It survives relatively intact and retains much of its original furnishings and character.  

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