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Site Details

© Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey licence number 0100022206

NPRN 43788

Map Reference SH54SE

Grid Reference SH5626440065

Unitary (Local) Authority Gwynedd

Old County Caernarfonshire

Community Porthmadog

Type of Site CHURCH


Period 19th Century

Site Description St Mary's church is situated on the east side of the A487 through Tremadoc, sited on a low rocky eminence in a large churchyard to the south of the Market Square. The church dates from 1811, paid for by William Madocks to whom the town owes its existence. It was built in Gothick style, a pioneering example of its use. Aspects of its construction were also pioneering, in particular the rendering of the brick spire in Parker's Roman Cement, an early type of imitation stone which had been patented in 1796, using brick clay dug locally. The church was extensively re-ordered in 1895. Further repairs were carried out in 1958 but the church closed in 1995 after which it was converted to office accommodation by Arroll & Snell of Shrewsbury. Major renovation work was in progress during 2006. However, it still retains significant elements of its original nineteenth-century character and construction.
The church was built of roughly dressed, squared and coursed Moel y Gest granite boulders with freestone dressings to the later windows (replacing cast-iron tracery predecessors), and slate roofs. Built on a cruciform plan, it consists of three-bay nave and chancel, shallow transepts, lean-to vestry with long porch abutting east side of south transept, and west tower. The latter is in three-stage, with angle buttresses and a porch in the lower stage. Its parapet is embattled, the spire rendered over brick, and with two tiers of lucarnes.
The interior is simple, a shallow roof with five trusses and with curved braces to collar, short king posts and struts. There was no structural division between nave and the short chancel, the only demarcation was given by the 1895 raised steps with mosaic inlay (by J C Edwards of Ruabon). The gallery was also removed in 1895, along with box pews, and the organ re-housed in the north transept. At the same time, the decoration of the spire was simplified (pre-1900 photographs show a more elaborate scheme), and the ceiling removed. Fittings include simple communion rails, a fine altar and reredos in Renaissance style designed by C R Ashbee and carved by Emile de Vynck, a Belgian carver who was living in Pentrefelin; and a pulpit carved by Constance Greaves of Wern Manor (c.1895) in Jacobean style.
The gateway to the churchyard was built c.1811, unusually of Coade stone, as a triumphal Gothic archway framing the approach to the church. It features octagonal embattled piers and a four-centred arch decorated in Gothic-horror fashion with dragons and a menagerie of animals.
Cadw Listing description.
R.Haslam, J.Orbach & Adam Voelcker, Buildings of Wales: Gwynedd (2009), p.526-7.

RCAHMW, 30 March 2016

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