History

A History of Christ Church

Before the early nineteenth century, Carmarthen consisted of only one Parish, namely
St.Peter’s. An increasing urban population was making the old church too crowded; the
population grew from 5,548 in 1801 to 9,955 in 1831.
1818 – A committee was formed to found a new church to serve the growing population
of St. Peter’s parish
1824 – Bishop Thomas Burgess laid the foundation stone within a few yards of the
present building for the new church.
1835 – After difficulties over the transfer of ground, work was stopped and the
foundation stone eventually removed. A new site was found in Picton Terrace.
1837 – St. David’s Church was opened.
1843– St. David’s becomes a separate Ecclesiastical District.
1857 – St. David’s becomes a Parish in its own right.
1863 – The decision to build a daughter church to serve the parish’s English-speaking
inhabitants
1866 – The Cawdor estate trustees sold the site to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners on
12 th  February for £150. Richard Kyrke Penson (1816-86) was appointed architect. The
site was land at the junction of Lammas Street and Morfa Lane (then Gas Lane.
1867 – Work commenced in June under Mr D.M.Williams, builder, Carmarthen. On
3 rd  September, the foundation stone was laid by Dr. Prothero of Llandeilo, Provincial
Grand Senior Warden of the District.
1868– The lower roof was raised by October.
1869– Tuesday 21 st  September (St. Matthew’s Day), Christ Church was consecrated by
Bishop Connop Thirlwall.The tower rose 94 feet and originally had a short wedge-
shaped roof or spire. It was designed to seat 636 adults and 60 children. Its 19 windows
were glazed with ‘Cathedral Tinted’ glass. The slated roof was 43 feet high. The inside
was lit with gas. The church was 120 feet long. The cost was about £3600. Local stone
was used for the building, with Bathstone facings.
1914– The South Aisle was converted into a side chapel from 1914 onwards for the
weekday Communion services.
1928– Introduction of a new Pulpit as a memorial to a former Curate, the Reverend John
D. Jones.
1935– Construction of new Choir Stalls in memory of Colonel and Mrs. Garwood.
1955– A stained glass window was placed in the north wall of the nave, in the memory of
the Richards family of Picton Terrace.
1964– Water seepage in the tower led to the removal of the short ‘spire’ and its
replacement by a flat roof with parapet. Work was supervised by architect A.D.R. Caroe.
1915-1921 – The Parish Hall was built across the road.
1979 – The Parish hall was sold to HTV studios
1986 – The South Aisle of Christ Church was effectively decommissioned and its pews
removed.
1990 –After partitioning the redundant area from the main body of the Church it was
converted into a new Hall. This was supervised by architect Mr.R.Clive Powell. Kitchen
and toilet facilities were included in the project. Decorative stained-glass roundels were
commissioned to fill the spaces at the top of the partition (see photo gallery).
2003 – The east gable wall of St David’s Church fell through the roof. The church was
regrettably closed after extensive consultation with parishioners, Diocese and
professional advisers.
2004 – The congregation of St David’s Church moved to Christ Church/Eglwys Crist.
Eric Jones writes:
“In November 2003, the east gable wall fell through the roof of the chancel and
vestry causing extensive damage. Following detailed inspection additional work
was needed to the roof trusses and supporting masonry. The estimated cost of
repair was in excess of half a million pounds. Following extensive grant enquiries
and consultation with the Lord Bishop, Engineer, Architects and especially the
parishioners, it was regrettably decided that the only reasonable solution was to
abandon the repairs and close the church. The members could continue to hold
Welsh services at Christ Church at 11 am each Sunday and the arrangement has
worked out very well. The money raised from fund raising activities for the repair
work was just enough to pay the architects, engineer, builder and scaffolding
costs”.

The Revd. Clive Hughes M.A. wrote a brief history of Saint David’s Church whilst he was
a curate at the church.

2019 – Christ Church/Eglwys Crist becomes part of the Bro Caerfyrddin Local Ministry
Area.