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Visitor information

location

Brithdir
Dolgellau
Gwynedd
LL40 2RN

OS Reference

SH 764 184

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Open daily

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The churchyard is owned by the parish and maintained by Snowdonia National Park as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

St Mark's is particularly important for the boldness of its architecture and the wonderfully naturalistic detail of its fittings.

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.

About St Mark's, Brithdir

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.”

St Mark's, Brithdir, Gwynedd
St Mark's, Brithdir, Gwynedd

Highlights

  • Doors inlaid with teak, ebony and abalone shell
  • Copper pulpit decorated with vines and a Latin text, (Jeremiah 1: 17): ‘Gird up thy loins, arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee’
  • Choir benches carved by Trasks of Norton-sub-Hamdon and featuring a kingfisher, squirrel, rabbits, mice, owl and tortoise
  • Choir bench-ends with a stylised “SM” signifying St Mark
  • Copper altar-frontal featuring the Annunciation, where the background is decorated with a trellis of roses and daffodils, and the scene is attended by two angels, purported to be Charles Tooth and his brother, Arthur, who paid for the frontal

Further reading

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