Newton – St John’s Church


   Church of St. John the Baptist in Newton, near Porthcawl, was probably erected in the eighties of the 12th century, because the first parish priest was recorded in 1189. The initiator of the construction was Richard de Cardiff or William, Earl of Gloucester or de Sanford, one of the knights of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. Newton was then a small seaport, trading with centers on the other side of the Bristol Channel, and the church was just at the entrance to the village from the sea. In the years 1485-1495 Jasper Tudor, the uncle of king Henry VII, carried out a significant renovation of the building. The next works were carried out in the nineteenth century, when the north-eastern sacristy was established and at the beginning of the 20th century.


   After the rebuilding in the 15th century, the church consisted of a rectangular nave, a narrower and shorter, rectangular chancel on the eastern side, a massive, squat, four-sided tower on the west side and a porch preceding the entrance to the nave from the south. The tower atypically received the same width as the nave and four storeys distinguished from the north and south with narrow openings. Also on these sides there was a parapet mounted on protruding corbels and a battlement. The corners of the tower were reinforced with wide buttresses perpendicular to the walls. Inside, the tower was opened to the nave with an ogival arcade. On the opposite side there is a chancel arcade, on the sides of which there are openings for viewing the part of the church with the altar (hagioscopes). Stairs and a portal embedded in the northern wall led to a protruding stone pulpit, rarely found in parish churches.

Current state

   The church has retained the layout from the late Middle Ages, but was enlarged by an early modern sacristy, and the nave was heavily rebuilt in 1860. Inside, the 13th-century baptismal font has been preserved, while the inscriptions painted on the northern wall of the nave come from the 17th century.

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Salter M., The old parish churches of Gwent, Glamorgan & Gower, Malvern 2002.

Wooding J., Yates N., A Guide to the churches and chapels of Wales, Cardiff 2011.
Website, Church of St John the Baptist A Grade I Listed Building in Porthcawl, Bridgend.