Photographs by the author, except for the one of the exterior, which was originally posted on Geograph by Alan Hughes, and is licensed for reuse under the terms of the Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) licence. You may use the other images too without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL or cite it in a print document.

Left: St Catharine’s Church, © Alan Hughes (slightly cropped). Right: Interior, looking east.

St Catharine’s church, Baglan, was built between 1875 and 1872 at the expense of Griffith Llewellyn of Baglan Hall, who gave his cousin John Prichard a practically unlimited budget for the project. The final cost was said to be over £17,000. It became known locally as “the alabaster church.” Grade I listed, it is cruciform in plan with a central spire, the structure is built in the Early Decorated style. The external walls comprise thick and thin bands of rock faced grey-green Forest of Dean Pennant sandstone with Red Forest of Dean sandstone dressings intermingled with the grey-green Pennant. The church stands at the corner of St Illtyd's Drive and Church Road, Baglan.

Left: The sedilia. Right: The pulpit.

Internally the walls of the nave are predominantly light grey Bridgend (alt. Quarella) sandstone with subordinate bands of red and grey Forest of Dean stone and polished Penarth alabaster, a rare decorative stone often in demand but never easy to obtain. The stone pulpit and font carved by Wormleighton of Cardiff to Prichard’s design both also contain insets of Penarth alabaster.

The sumptuous full-width reredos.

The chancel, ascended from the nave first by two steps of polished Devonshire marble to the choir stalls and organ with its intricate mosaic floor, then by a further six steps in the same material up to the sanctuary, which is lined with much Penarth alabaster and various marbles and has a full width reredos designed by H. H. Armstead, principally constructed of Penarth alabaster is sumptuous in the extreme. On the opposite wall to the sedilia and piscina is a recess where Llewellyn lies at rest. The windows throughout are stained glass by Morris & Co, mostly designed by Burne-Jones.


Church of St Catharine. British Listed Buildings. Web. 30 November 2022.

Morton, Rev. Howard C. "St Catharine’s Church, Baglan (1882-1932) [Note spelling Catharine (not Catherine).] Available online at:

Created 30 November 2022