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Visiting St. James the Great Church, Cardiff, Wales: Imposing Spired Building by E. M. Bruce Vaughan, Completed in 1894

Updated on April 22, 2020
Flag of Wales
Flag of Wales | Source
St. James Church, Cardiff, 1905
St. James Church, Cardiff, 1905 | Source

With a grandiose profile and an intriguing insight into the history of The Church in Wales / Yr Eglwys yng Ghymru

[This visit occurred a number of years ago.]

Within a short walking distance of another of E. M. Bruce Vaughan's buildings (1) is the Church of St. James the Great, Cardiff (Welsh: Caerdydd), Wales (Cymru).

In Wales St James the Great has the status of a heritage (Listed) building (2).

The building looks Medieval, and indeed its Neogothic styling draws inspiration from that style's antecedent in the Middle Ages, when it was arguably perfected to a strong degree. However, the structure was completed in 1894.

Neogothic aspects of its features include pointed window and doorway arching; and while there is not a lot of overt flying buttress crafting, yet the stacking lines of the tower and spire — the building's crowning, conspicuous feature — are somewhat comparable to this Neogothic feature (3).

The building has a five bay nave. Some of the windows have tracery. Restoration work was accomplished in 1925.

Interestingly, the tower of St. James the Great, Cardiff, is bigger than than of Llandaff Cathedral, which is the principal Anglican building in the city. In Wales, the Anglican church is Disestablished and since 1920 it has been known as The Church in Wales (Welsh: Yr Eglwys yng Ghymru).

In Ireland, during the Protestant Ascendency, Anglican churches had the monopoly on building tall spires; when this was rescinded, this seemed to spur the building of many spired Roman Catholic edifices.

In Wales, Anglican churches which are hundreds of years old are often smaller buildings which have short towers. By the time of the construction of the Church of St. James the Great, Welsh Nonconformity was so strong that the Anglican Church — then still Established — was not the dominant denomination.

It remains the case, however, that the profile of St. James the Great is so grandiose that in other areas a building of its profile could well be called a cathedral.

St James the Great Church is located at the intersection of Newport and Glossop Roads, Cardiff, close to Cardiff's Royal Infirmary. Thus within a short distance on foot, there is a good amount of architectural heritage to be viewed in this immediate area of Cardiff.

April 22, 2020

Notes

(1) The Queen's Buildings' Tower has an imposing, ornate frontage. E. M. Bruce Vaughan (1856-1919) specialized in ecclesiastical designs.

(2) See also: https://cadwpublic-api.azurewebsites.net/reports/listedbuilding/FullReport?id=13760

(3) Another 19th century Neogothic church building within a short walking distance from the Church of St. James the Great is Tredegarville Baptist Church at the intersection of East Grove and The Parade, predating St. James the Great by just over 30 years.

St James the Great at the Junction of Newport Road and City Road, Cardiff
St James the Great at the Junction of Newport Road and City Road, Cardiff | Source

Also worth seeing

Also worth seeing

In Cardiff itself, other noted visitor attractions include: the Welsh National War Memorial, Cardiff City Hall, Cardiff Castle, the statue of Aneurin Bevan in Queen Street, Llandaff Cathedral and many others.

...

How to get there: United Airlines flies to London Heathrow Airport , from where car rental is available. London Heathrow is approximately 222 kilometres from Cardiff . There are fast railroad links between London and Cardiff. Some facilities mentioned may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, you are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Map location of Cardiff
Map location of Cardiff | Source

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