St Nicholas’ Church, St Nicholas

St Nicholas council logoThe earliest record of a church here dates from the 12th century. The north wall of the nave and chancel are thought to be survivors of the church before it was rebuilt in the late 13th or 14th century. The tower and chancel arch date from that rebuilding.

The church was adapted again at various times after the medieval period. Major changes in the late 1850s included reshaping the windows, rebuilding the chancel and construction of the barrel-vaulted roof.

Inside is an octagonal 13th-century font (on a more recent plinth). The pulpit was made in 1880, probably of stone from Caen, France, with columns of marble from Larissa, Greece. Stained glass provided by the Clayton & Bell company in 1860 depicts the Crucifixion. The tower has four Victorian bells and two which were cast in 1717.

Portraits of Anna and John CoryIn the north-western part of the churchyard lies the tomb of wealthy industrialist John Cory and his wife Anna Marie (pictured), who lived at Duffryn, St Nicholas. Both were philanthropists. When John died in January 1910 – five months after Anna’s death in Folkestone – he was said to support nearly 2,000 worthy causes annually.

John’s father Richard had started a business in Cardiff which grew rapidly. As Cory Brothers & Company, it was developed by Richard’s sons (Richard and John) into one of the world’s largest shipping firms, with offices and agents across the globe. The family also owned Welsh collieries.

John was a founder of the Barry Dock & Railway Company, which transformed Barry into an industrial port. He left an estate valued at £797,777, which would be c.£78m today. His statue in Cathays Park, Cardiff, was unveiled in 1906.

The tomb is made of Triassic sandstone from Quarella, Bridgend. Also buried there are the couple’s daughter Florence (d.1936) and son Sir Clifford Cory, who was Liberal MP for St Ives, Cornwall, from 1906 to 1924.

Outside the churchyard are the village’s war memorial and an old communal water pump.

With thanks to Michael Statham, of the Welsh Stone Forum

Postcode: CF5 6SQ    View Location Map

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