It was commissioned by Louisa Tooth, in memory of her second husband Charles, founder and Chaplain of St Mark’s English church in Florence. Louisa appointed Henry Wilson as her architect, and this full-blooded Arts and Crafts church was built in 1895-98.
St Mark’s, Brithdir has powers of transportation. Upon entering the church, the visitor is transported from the rugged Welsh countryside to a warm Mediterranean clime. Burnt sienna walls give way to a ceiling of azure blue. Just inside the south door, is a decorated font. This was conceived by Wilson, modeled by Arthur Grove, and made by the Central School of Art in London.
At the east end the pulpit and altar are characterised by their intricate naturalistic Arts & Crafts detailing; both designed and made by Wilson himself. The choir stalls are beautifully carved from Spanish chestnut, and carved creatures of sea, sky and land scurry along the bench ends.
Outside, the lower courses of stone at the east end have a rugged rusticated finish. Indeed, research has shown that Wilson intended all the external stonework to be left ‘untooled’ (rough); the architect’s dream being that “the Church [should] appear is if it had sprung out of the soil.”
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