Welcome to Parish of St. Theodore, Port Talbot
The Parish Church of St Theodore Port Talbot is in the Archdeaconry and Deanery of Margam, in the Diocese of Llandaff. It is dedicated to St. Theodore of Tarsus who was Archbishop of Canterbury between 668 and 690. Consecrated the seventh Archbishop at the age of 66 Theodore was largely responsible for the organisation of the Church into Dioceses.
The Church was designed by John Loughborough Pearson of London; a famous architect of his time who had undertaken the restoration work at Westminster Abbey and designed Truro Cathedral. The church was built between 1895-7 and cost about £25,000. Apart from the organ, which was paid for by the public, the cost was borne by a local landowner Emily Charlotte Talbot of Margam Park and was built in memory of her brother Theodore (d.1876) and sister Olive (d.1894).
Miss Talbot was a generous benefactor as well as the major land owner and the Church is one of a number of churches paid for by her as well as being part of the wider development of the area associated with and generated by her.
It was consecrated by the Bishop of Llandaff on the 5th August 1897 and was described by the Bishop in his sermon as one of the “handsomest Churches in the Diocese” and was “a tribute of affection towards departed ones who had dearly loved religion”.
It was originally part of the Parish of Margam and was built to accommodate the growing population of Port Talbot, the nearby Chapel of Ease for Margam Abbey, Holy Cross church, having become too small. However, in 1901 it became a Parish in its own right.
The walls at the west end are considerably thicker than the rest of the church, as it was originally intended to include a tower. This was never completed, and the roof of the nave continues over this section.
Constructed of local blue-grey specked sandstone with bath stone dressings under tile roofs, a major restoration project was undertaken in 1997 to coincide with and mark its centenary.
The Church was listed by CADW in February 1975, with an amended listing in 2000, as a Grade II* listed building. The reason for the listing being: ‘Listed grade II* as a powerful example of the Early English style in late Victorian architecture by a nationally important architect. The largest church designed in Wales by JL Pearson’.
The Church is bounded to the east and north by the publicly-owned Taibach Memorial Park and playing fields. The size of the building especially its height, set against this open backdrop makes it a dominant feature not only in the immediate landscape but also in the wider context.
The Memorial Park is included in a list of areas in the Local Development Plan as a ‘Quiet Area’: designated as such in order to protect areas of tranquility within urban areas. In the park there is also a prominent War Memorial which has the south side of the church as an immediate backdrop. The church is a dominant feature in the setting of the park and could be seen as an important aspect to the tranquility being preserved.
List of Incumbents
Rev. D.J. Jones 1901-1920
Rev. D.C. Morris 1920-1940
Rev. Canon W.A. Davies 1940-1946
Rev. Eric M. Roberts 1947-1956
Rev. Canon David Reece 1956-1971
Rev. Glyn Bowen 1971-1984
Rev. Norman Lea 1984-1995
Rev Colin J. Amos 1996-2012
Rev. Mark Williams 2012-2019