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Plas Carew
Unit 5/7 Cefn Coed
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Church of St Seiriol

Street Name and Number: Church Road,
Listed Building Reference: 22854
Grade: II
Date Listed: 23/02/2000
Date Amended: 23/02/2000
Co-ordinates: 272175,376523
Locality: Pen-y-Cae
Community: Penmaenmawr
Council: Conwy
National Park: No

Towards the eastern edge of Penmaenmawr, on a narrow road above the main street

In 1862, a meeting was held to consider the provision of a new, English-language church in the town of Penmaenmawr, which was attracting growing numbers of English visitors. The meeting was attended by the Bishop of Gloucester, the Dean of Westminster and W E Gladstone, who was a regular visitor to the town, as the guest of Samuel Darbyshire, a major patron of the new church. Gladstone's cousin, Murray Gladstone, was also a donor. Land was given by Lady Goring, and the foundation stone laid in 1867 by Mrs Gladstone. The church was consecrated in 1868. The architect was Alfred Waterhouse. The porch and SW tower were added in 1885, probably as completion of the original design.

Exposed brickwork in yellow and red polychrome bands, and similar treatment to stepped arched window heads and arches of S arcade. Nave of 6 bays with circular stone columns with plain capitals, and stepped yellow and red brick arches. Roof trusses spring on long wall posts from corbels, and there are secondary rafters between the simple keeled principal trusses. Scissor-braced rafters to S aisle. N chapel of 2 bays, divided from the nave by a later timber screen. Ashlar chancel arch also sprung from corbels, chevron detail to outer arch, and plain stepped inner arch. Fine filigree work timber rood screen surmounted by cross, dated 1925; timber pulpit dated 1908, with traceried panels flanking central deep relief (the Ascension). Chancel has polychrome filed floor, and boarded ceiling, with pierced decoration to main truss. Organ chamber to S, vestry to N. Fine screen to W of organ chamber, said to have been made as a collaboration by members of the congregation, and panelled with various stylised traceried motifs and roundels (reminiscent in its detail of furniture); it is dated 1902. Oak traceried communion rail, with robust cusped traceried panels; reredos in a representation of the Last Supper in deep relief, flanked by panelling: both these, together with the side screens and other furnishings, are of 1907. Baptistery at W end of S aisle, with font on raised tiled platform: the font in a wide shallow bowl with a heavily cut frieze of lilies. Stained glass: a particularly fine series of windows including west nave window, 1901, a commemoration of Queen Victoria in a coronation theme; medievalising east window dated 1880, W window of S aisle in similar style, dated 1883. N chapel windows: one with dedication date of 1885, unsigned, Pre-Raphaelite in style, the other (a nativity) undated but signed, Mayer & Co.

Parish church in a robust, boldly detailed Early English style. Rock faced local granite with ashlar dressings, and banded slate roof with fishscale bands and terracotta cresting. Elevations are relieved by buttresses with offsets, continuous plinth and impost bands wrapped over buttresses. Strongly modelled with the clear articulation of its constituent elements, including nave with lower S aisle, N chapel and vestry, chancel, and later tower at SW corner linked to the nave by a short porch or narthex bay. West end has doorway with shafts to trefoiled archway which cuts into the 3-light plate-traceried window above. Narrower gable of aisle alongside has 2-light plate-traceried window. 3-stage tower with clasping buttresses and saddle-back roof: paired lights in lower stage to W, and single light above; clock and paired foiled bell-chamber lights. Buttresses terminate in polygonal finials linked by an ashlar band with inset blind arcading. Stair turret projects from lower stage of S wall. Door in E elevation: shafts to moulded arch and cast-iron gates. S wall has plate-traceried windows, mostly of 2-lights, and doorway towards E end with blind tympanum. Tall 2-light E aisle window. Complex E window to chancel comprising paired foiled plate-traceried lights in a larger arch with hexfoil at its apex. Paired gables of vestry and N chapel dominate N elevation: vestry has 2-light window, with flat-headed lights set into a blind traceried arch; shouldered doorway alongside, linked by a common impost band; chimney surmounts the gable. Chapel, separated from the vestry by a strongly expressed buttress, has paired complex plate-traceried windows, divided by a central buttress and with a blind wheel-head cross at the apex.

Reason for Listing
Listed as a very fine Gothic Revival church in a strong, Early English style, noteworthy for the bold handling of its architectural forms as well as the robust quality of its detailing. It is an unusual Welsh example of the work of Alfred Waterhouse, and one of his early designs. The church also contains a fine series of fittings representing, for the most part, subsequent donations, and including high-quality timberwork and an exceptional series of stained-glass windows.

Cunningham, C & Waterhouse, P, Alfred Waterhouse, 1830-1905, 1992; Information from vicar and an undated guide book in the church.