27 July 2019

Penarth : Church of the Holy Nativity

Another day, another anniversary, this time of the laying of the foundation stone for one of the local places of Christian worship, the Church of the Holy Nativity. It sounds like the event was quite a do – the local Lord and Lady did the honours, there was a procession, complete with brass band, and in the evening a social gathering was held. Here’s part of the report, and some sketches, from the Barry Dock News, 4 August 1893:

The little township of Cogan, near Penarth, was considerably enlivened on Thursday afternoon, the 27th instant, with bunting and other decorations in honour of the visit of Lord and Lady Windsor to lay the memorial stone of the new Church of Holy Nativity, which is in course of erection (on a suitable site between Cogan and Penarth) to meet the spiritual requirements of the churchpeople of the parishes of Llandough, Leckwith, and Cogan. The weather being favourable, there was a large gathering of the public, amongst those in attendance during the proceedings being the Right Hon. Lord Windsor (the lord lieutenant) and Lady Windsor, the Lord Bishop of Llandaff, Rev Canon Edwards. M. A. (St. Andrew's Rectory, who acted as the Bishop's chaplain) and Miss Edwards, Rev Canon Allen, M.A., rector of Barry ...

The new building has been attractively designed in what is known as the perpendicular style of architecture. It will accommodate over 300 worshipers, and the structure will consist of nave, transepts, chancel, south porch, heating chamber, vestries, and organ chamber. The material used is local limestone, lined with Cattybrook brick in bands. At the west-end there will be a bell-cote to hold two bells of pretty design, carried on an arch spring off buttresses. The total cost of the church will be about £2,500, including the boundary walls. Lord Windsor, the Lord Lieutenant of the county, has generously given the site, and his Lordship, together with Lady Windsor, graciously consented to perform the ceremony of laying the memorial stone. The silver trowel and mallet, with which this interesting work was performed, were of a handsome description, designed by Mr Fowler and supplied by Mr Tainsh, of High-street, Cardiff. The trowel bore the following inscription:--
“Cogan Mission Church of the Holy Nativity. The memorial stone was set by the Right Hon. Lord Windsor, 27th July, 1893."

The church sits in a prominent position on the approach road to Penarth and, although the article refers to the church being in Cogan, the boundaries between Penarth and Cogan have almost disappeared over the years and the church is now officially part of the parish of Penarth and Llandough.

The parish website reports that the church’s nave was ‘burnt out by incendiary bombs on 4 March 1941. The Chancel arch was filled in with bricks and the congregation worshipped in the Chancel until the restoration. The building was re-consecrated on 25 February 1952.’

Like many churches these days, this one is locked much of the time so I haven't seen the interior. I also couldn't locate the foundation stone so I presume it is inside the church.

Above, one of the side windows and the entrance porch. Below, the bell tower.

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