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St Mary the Virgin,


It is with sadness that the final service at St Mary's was held on 31st May 2023.

The church building has now closed.


The Church of St Mary The Virgin Troedrhiwgarth, was built in 1892. The architect was Mr. Charles Halliday. It was able to be built, due to the generosity of two people. Miss Olive Talbot who gave £1600 the cost of the building of the church and Lieutenant Colonel Turberville, who gave the ground that the church is, built on. The foundation stone having being laid on September 14th 1891 by Mrs. Turberville of Ewenny Priory. It only took just over a year to build. There is some doubt about the actual date when the church opened. Evidence seems to lean towards the 30thNovember 1892. There was obviously a need for a church as up until the church was built, it was said that the congregation met at the Garth Inn.     

The church is built on a narrow strip of land orientated in a north/ south direction adjacent to the B4282, Bridgend Road, Garth. That leads to confusion, when reading Architects reports, when they talk about east and west walls. The wall with the Rose/wheel window is referred to as the west wall although it faces South and the East Alter wall faces North.

St Mary’s is a church that has always been “owned” by the congregation. St Mary’s has been described has as a “homely/friendly Church” It is not a large grand building neither is it richly decorated. It is furnished and decorated with hidden riches, gifts of time, skills and money given over the years by members of the congregation. 

Where those riches are to be found.

In the porch there is a date of 1892 scratched into the top hinge of the door. The initials of the architect C. H. are there as well.. The initials of Miss Olive Talbot are to be found within the church on one of the roof Bosses(1) in the sanctuary 

As you walk in through the door, you may miss what is behind you. To keep out the draft the sewing group made a curtain. The design was taken from a Christmas card. There is also a very grand looking box that must be the fanciest fuse box in Garth. The box and the screen to the right of the font was made by Mr. David Davies. Also by the screen is the banner of St Mary’s Sunday School worked by Mrs. Ann Griffiths. Hanging on the screen is a tapestry of the Last Supper. Given in memory of Ruth and Ernie Porter.

The wall hanging that faces you as you enter was designed by children from Garth school. Each child was asked to draw one of the six days of creation. The most suitable was selected and the drawing turned into stitching patterns. The six panels were worked by the members of the sawing group, separately and then the border was worked  to encompass them.

Just pass the wall hanging on the left hand side is the window dedicated to Mrs. Emma Jane Dagg. In most depictions of the Madonna and Child, Jesus is show as a baby. The window and the St Mary’s W.I. banner are different, as Jesus is depicted as a grown boy. It is thought that it is a depiction of Jesus at the time he was in discussions with the elders in the temple 

As you approach the choir stalls you will see the front row of seats have cushions. The designs for the panels are taken from the symbols on the Font. There are also worked cushions on the two chairs to the left of the Alter. .

Originally, the only thing that saved your knees when you knelt to receive communion was a thin piece of carpet. After much complaining by the congregation it was decided to make the long alter kneelers. These designs were taken from the many attributes of St Mary to be found in the painted Victorian windows of the church. The designs on the small central kneeler are from the floor tiles. On the front of the kneelers are the initials of those that donated money towards the cost of producing the kneelers. At the back of one of the kneelers is worked the words “In the handiwork of their craft is their prayer” a text taken from St. Hilda’s banner in York Minster. The saying, epitomizes the skill, time and love the congregation have put into their church.

Another task taken on by the sewing group was to replace the “white” alter, pulpit and lectern cloths that had fallen into disrepair. That involved learning gold thread work, bead work as well as embroidery. Each embroiderer had to work a test sampler before starting to work on the actual pieces.

Dotted around the church are kneelers worked by individuals. Everyone was given a unified design and colourscheme. They were able to put whatever they liked in the central panel.


If you bring children to the church (we hope that you do), make it a treasure hunt to find these treasures and where the inspiration for the designs are to be found. Or perhaps you could try the treasure hunt yourselves.

I would like to thank members of the congregation for their information and stories they have given me

I would like to thank Mr.  Les Jones for information in his book “a backward glance” 1992

And the Rev. Dennis G. Morris for information in his book “A peep at the past” (2001)

  1. In architecture, a decorative knob on a vaulted ceiling at points where the ribs meet

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