This year’s Historic Churches Committees’ Conference will be held on Thursday 23rd May at Cornerstone, opposite St David’s Cathedral. Registration and refreshments will be from 10.00am and the Conference will start at 10.30am prompt.
Mass will be said at the Cathedral at 9.30am for anyone wishing to join us. If there are any priests who wish to concelebrate please let us know.
Cornerstone is the converted former nonconformist chapel directly opposite Cardiff Catholic Cathedral which is now a highly successful meeting place, function venue and café. After closure as a chapel the building fell into dereliction and was subsequently put up for sale. It was acquired by the Archdiocese of Cardiff and under the leadership of the Most Rev. George Stack, Archbishop of Cardiff and Chairman of the Patrimony Committee, and with a substantial grant from the HLF it has been transformed into the vibrant community facility we see today.
Archbishop George will open the Conference and further information about the former chapel and its conversion will be available on the day. Sophie Andreae, Vice Chair of the Patrimony Committee, will update delegates on a number of recent developments including the issuing of the new guidance from the Vatican on the closure of churches no longer needed for worship and on changes to grant funding following the closure of HLF’s targeted Grants for Places of Worship Programme and the launch, earlier this year, of the (now renamed) National Lottery Heritage Fund’s new Strategic Framework This is the first time that our Historic Churches Committees’ Conference has been held in Wales. It is particularly timely as work is nearing completion on the Taking Stock Project in Wales and Herefordshire. With Taking Stock in England nearly complete (see http://taking-stock.org.uk/ ) the completion of the project in Wales is a major achievement and Andrew Derrick of the Architectural History Practice will outline the emerging findings. As has been the case in England, there will be churches currently unlisted which merit listing and some listed churches which deserve upgrading. For the first time, there will be a comprehensive assessment of the historical and architectural significance of Catholic churches in England and Wales. With Taking Stock in England and Wales nearing completion, there remains the question of church contents and the need for inventories. A number of dioceses have undertaken inventories and more want to do so. As well as understanding the importance of church buildings, an understanding of the importance of historic contents is equally crucial. James Crowley, architectural historian and Secretary of the Wales and Herefordshire Historic Churches Committee will outline how the issue of inventories can be approached and the risk of not having adequate records.
Support of our national Catholic Historic Churches Website continues to grow as more Historic Churches Committees see the benefits of going digital and use the website. Fergus Brotherton will give us an update and before lunch there will be an opportunity for questions and discussion on this and any other topics of concern. Following lunch, we are delighted that Christopher Catling, Secretary of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, is going to give us an introduction to Cardiff Castle and to the Catholic 3rd Marquess of Bute and his remarkable architect, William Burgess, with whom he collaborated so closely in the creation of the astonishing interiors. John Patrick Crichton-Stuart inherited the title in 1848 at the age of six months. He was reputed to have been the richest man in the world at the time. He converted to Catholicism at the age of 21 and spent much of his fortune on buildings. Cardiff Castle, founded as a Roman fort in the 3rd Century and transformed by the Normans into a motte and bailey castle at the Conquest, was later transformed by the Marquess of Bute and William Burgess into a vast Gothic Revival dream palace. We will be taken on a private tour and shown rooms, including the tiny Chapel, which are not normally open to the public. Tours will be finished by 4pm and you are then welcome to visit the rest of the Castle e.g. the Norman Keep, the Wartime Shelters and the Museum of the Welsh Soldier.
We have arranged a three-course dinner the evening before the Conference in Cornerstone. Please tick the box on the booking form if you would like to join us for dinner and we will contact you with the menu options. There will be a charge of £28 for the food, including service charge. Please add this to the fee for the Conference if you wish to join us. Drinks to be purchased separately on the night. We greatly look forward to seeing you in Cardiff in May.
The fee is £50 as in previous years, to include lunch and refreshments and the tour of Cardiff Castle.
Please return booking forms and cheques to Josephine Warren by Wednesday 8th May. If you wish to join the tours of the Castle please let us know asap by ticking the box on the Booking Form. We need to advise the Castle of numbers as each tour is limited to a maximum of 20 people per tour and we want to ensure can accommodate everyone who would like to come. There is a wide range of hotel accommodation available in Cardiff and if you opt for one in the city centre, all are within walking distance. There is no parking at Cornerstone but there are a number of multi-storey car parks in the area.