Church of the Holy Cross

Cowbridge, United Kingdom

The Church of the Holy Cross in Cowbridge is believed to have been built in the 13th century. It has undergone several restorations including one by John Prichard in 1850–52.

The church was remodeled throughout the medieval period reflecting the growing prosperity of the town. Its initial build consisted of a tower between a chancel and a wide aisleless nave. The tower once consisted of a 14th-century spire, but this was destroyed by lightning in 1480. In the 15th century an aisle, known as the south Llanquian aisle, was added to the nave, and a north chapel to the chancel.

The church is built of coursed local limestone along with local white Sutton stone dressings. One of the more striking features of the church is the tower. The tower has a corbelled wall head from which angle broaches slope up to an octagonal battlemented top section. Although it has been argued that the original purpose of the tower was to be a watchtower or stronghold in case the town was attacked, Newman argues that the lack of arrow loops rules out its purpose as a defensive fortification. To the tower's northeast is stair turret and to the south side a buttressing mass.

The interior of the tower houses arches on the east and west sides, both part of the original 13th century design. In the chancel the only original feature is the piscina of Sutton stone. There are piers in the English West Country style, which are described as being crude, with awkward fitting between the piers and arches. There are two hatches in the east wall, assumed for the dispensing of alms, which Newman describes as 'a most unusual feature'.

The font is a plain octagonal bowl which tapers down to a roll moulding, it is believed to be 14th century. The stained glass windows of the eastern side of the chancel depict the life of Christ (1868). The south chancel windows depicts Biblical stories of instruction to commemorate one of the headmasters of Cowbridge Grammar School.



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Founded: 13th century
Category: Religious sites in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Luc Vandamme (3 years ago)
Lovely friendly church sharing the love of Jesus with all who come.
Judy Barrett (3 years ago)
Beautiful church
Diane Parsons (4 years ago)
I visited the Christmas tree display fabulous. Beautiful church in a wonderful town.
Henry Powell (5 years ago)
Chris Welch (5 years ago)
Wonderful historic church
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