Dolgellau Catholic Church of Our Lady of Sorrows is located on the banks of the Afon Arran in Meyrick Street, Dolgellau, West Wales. Dolgellau is an historic market town with many fine buildings of great importance to the heritage of West Wales, and one could be forgiven for believing that Our Lady of Sorrows was of the age of the town. Much of the stone used to build the old houses and mills in Dolgellau were of a dolerite type of granite, and the church blends in well with its surroundings (which is more than can be said for the Post Office building down the road). But although looking of an age it was in fact built as recently as the 1960’s.
The man whose dream it was to build such a church for the Catholic congregation of Dolgellau, and indeed, who laboured for many years to make his dream come true was Father Scalpell, a Catholic priest who had arrived in the town from Malta in the 1920’s. His original church was an old barn annexed to a chip shop, indeed Father Scalpell was known to repair the church with stones from the Afon Arran.
By the 1960’s and with help from parishioners, and a great fundraiser in the name of Mr Jack Moran of Liverpool, Father Scalpell had raised the monies to achieve his lifetime ambition.
The architect of the new church was Maurice Pritchard, but Father Scalpell contributed a great deal in the design of the church and presbytery. The work began in 1963 and took about four years to complete. The cost of the church amounted to 68,000 Pounds, a very high figure at the time.
The church's impressive main doorway is a replica of Cormac's Chapel on the Rock of Cashel. Fr.Scalpell had kept a post-card of the Norman doorway of the Chapel of the Rock of Cashel for many years. “When in God's good time I can build a new church in Dolgellau, this Norman doorway will serve as a model for the porch". However, having seen the Dolgellau doorway, I believe Father Scalpell might well have had his inspiration closer to home. In fact, there is a strikingly similar doorway, albeit sandstone, on the medieval church of St Mary and Bodfan on the hillside at Llanaber some 12 miles away.
The fine crucifix above the Dolgellau chapel was sculpted by Professor Castiglione, whose work is also found in St.Peter's in Rome and in the bronze doors of Milan Cathedral.
Our Lady of Sorrows is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wrexham. Find more information about the church and Father Scalpell here > http://sites.google.com/site/francisscalpell....
Review Dolgellau Catholic Church of Our Lady of Sorrows in Wales.