Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Cathedral of Maesteg

That's what the locals call St. Michael's Church, Maesteg. Of course, that only means that it is the most impressive Anglican Church in Maesteg, but there you go. The High Victorian church is built of local stone, and its tower ensures that it is a very real presence in the town. It also shows something of the rivalry between 'Church' and 'Chapel'
This is St. David's, the original Parish Church in Maesteg. Small, quite typical for the area, and not at all exciting. Although located in the centre of town, by the marketplace, it is a low-built structure that is really quite humble. With all these impressive chapels around (though most of the chapels around when St. Michael's was built have since been replaced by larger and even more impressive buildings), it says of the Church of Wales (as it was then), "we're really rather irrelevant." So what's a Church to do? Well, with the town growing, what better time to build a new Church, really large and impressive, to out-do the Nonconformists! And here it is...
The Church of St. Michael and all Angels! It is decidedly an Anglican Church, not a chapel, and it is built in the Early English style, with lancet windows. While the Decorated was more popular, the simplicity of the Early English often makes buildings in this style more impressive. Like most Victorian churches in the Early English style, St. Michael's impresses by its simplicity of form, and its massiveness.
The west front of the Church contains the main entrance, with five lancets of equal size lighting the west end of the building. Above them is a statue of St. Michael. The Early English is also the style of St. David's, so St. Michael's suggests a sense historic continuity.

When I visited the Church was being decorated for a wedding, so I was able to get inside. The internal dimensions are impressive, with a large nave and separate choir and chancel arches (most Anglican churches have just a chancel arch). As the Latin over the chancel arch, and the presence of a high altar indicates, St. Michael's is Anglo-Catholic, it even has a set of modern wood-sculpted stations of the cross around the walls of the nave.

There are some other Maesteg pictures that may come if I feel they are worth while.

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Anonymous William Wilson said...

Hello Gervase very nice pictures of the C.of.E chapel but where to you get the time to take all theses lovely pictures. Hope you got my last email that i sent you and i hope that you put the Puritan right on the AV Bible.So i look forward to hearing from you soon.And do email me the date that you are preaching at the Bethal Evangelical Church this month please so i can remeber you in prayer.
I know that i am a Great Sinner but christ is a Great Saviour. John Newton.

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