The Parish of Saint Theodore, Port Talbot

St. Theodore's Church

St. Theodore's church was consecrated on 5th August 1897. It was built with the financial help of Miss Emily Charlotte Talbot of Margam - a rich landowner who spent much of her wealth providing for the spiritual needs of the people moving into Port Talbot and surrounding areas within her vast estates in the County of Glamorgan.

Miss Talbot became heiress to the family fortune following the death of her brother Theodore Mansel Talbot in 1876. She built the church in memory of him and her sister Olivia Talbot who died in 1894.

The architect chosen for the design was the famous John Loughborough Pearson R.A. who had previously been responsible for restoration work on Westminster Abbey and was the architect of Truro Cathedral, as well as many other beautiful late Victorian churches. The cost of building St. Theodores church was £25,000 (excluding the Martin of Oxford Organ which was paid for by public subscription).

From 1996-2002 the Restoration Project saw over £500,000 raised and spent restoring the church to its original glory.

St. Theodores church is dedicated to St. Theodore of Tarsus. He was a Greek monk who became Archbshop of Canterbury. He was largely responsible for the organisation of the Church into Dioceses in the Seventh Century.

St. Theodore's church became the Parish Church of Port Talbot on 15th June 1901. It remains a vibrant centre of the parish's worship and mission naturally living and reflecting an Anglican Catholic faith and spirituality.

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Exterior of St. Theodore's Church

St. Theodore's Church is built in Gothic style cruciform shape elegantly situated within its own grounds.

The exterior stonework comprises of parish sandstone from the quarry above Taibach (which is still within the parish boundaries today), while the dressed stone is Corsham Down bathstone. The beauty and colours of these stones were only recently appreciated by the current generation of parishioners following work undertaken on them during the Restoration of St. Theodore's.

During that resoration a new gable end was placed on the west end, which had lived with a temporary finish for over 100 years since the architectual design of John Loughborough Pearson R.A. had provided for a tower which was never constructed.

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Image of the exterior of Saint Theodore's Church

The exterior of Saint Theodore's Church

Interior of St. Theodore's Church

The nave is divided into three sections by stone pillars and columns. The north and south side isles boast Gothic arches with groined roofs leading to their respective trancepts.

The Chancel is entered by a flight of steps and passing through ornamental wrought iron gates. The console of the Charles Martin of Oxford Organ is situated on the north side behind the choir stalls. The Sanctuary floor is of polished mosaic tiles leading to the High Altar.

To the south side of the Chancel is situated the Lady Chapel with its vaulted roof and distictive apsidal east end. The Blessed Sacrament is reserved here.

All the interior stonework was cleaned during the restoration project - revealing the original lightness and airy nature of the Church, aided by the replacement of all the clear glass windows which had become so damaged by industrial pollution that they prevented light from entering the building.

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Image of the interior of Saint Theodore's Church

The interior of Saint Theodore's Church, with stained glass and south side Gothic-style arches

Clayton & Bell Stained Glass Windows

The original intention of John Loughborough Pearson R.A. was to have a complete set of stained glass windows as designed by the famous studio of Clayton and Bell. The Lady Chapel and south isle saw this plan realised with what are reported to be some of Clayton and Bells classic works. These too suffered from the effects of pollution and have been painstakingly cleaned and returned to their original splendour as part of the restoration project.

The Clayton and Bell windows comprise of

  • Angels Vocal
  • Angels Instrumental x2
  • Archangels Michael and Gabriel
  • The Sermon on the Mount
  • The Raising of the Widow of Nain's Son
  • The Baptism of Christ

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Image of Clayton Bell stained glass windows in Saint Theodore's Lady Chapel

Clayton Bell stained glass windows in Saint Theodore's Lady Chapel

Memorial Windows to Rupert Price Hallowes V.C.

Lieutenant Rupert Price Hallowes was a sidesman, Secretary of the Parish's Men's Society and Scoutmaster in Goytre before serving in the First World War. He was killed at Hooge in 1915 gaining the Victoria Cross posthumously - the only V.C. in Port Talbot before or since.

In honour of his memory two Clayton and Bell windows were commissioned depicting the Archangels Michael and Gabriel and situated in the Lady Chapel.

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Image of Clayton Bell stained glass windows in Saint Theodore's Lady Chapel

Another angle. Clayton Bell stained glass windows in Saint Theodore's Lady Chapel

Other Stained Glass

In 1952 and 1956 the three north isle stained glass windows were installed by James Powell and Son (Whitefriars) Ltd and comprise of:

  • Our Lord with St. Luke healing the sick
  • St. Mary with the Infant Christ and Children

Mr L.C. Evetts of Newcastle University designed and installed:

  • Abstract of Heavenly Gifts
  • Abstract of the Parable of the Tares and Wheat
  • St. Theodore
  • The Virgin as Queen of Heaven

In 1983 the East windows depicting St Theodore, Christ in Majesty and St. David were installed by Timothy Lewis, Swansea.

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Image of East windows depicting St Theodore, Christ in Majesty and St. David

East windows depicting St Theodore, Christ in Majesty and St. David, installed in 1983 by Timothy Lewis, Swansea

Find St. Theodore's Church

St. Theodore's church can be reached by leaving the M4 at junction 40. Follow signpost to Port Talbot, and follow the road until you get to a set of traffic lights. At the traffic lights turn left. St. Theodore's church is 300 yards on the left hand side with its own car park.

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