The Lady Chapel is a beautifully decorated and much admired area of the church. A place to sit in contemplation and wonder.
The feminine decorative symbol of the Lily which stands for the purity of Our lady, is repeated over and over again in a style reminiscent of the Gothic masters, Pugin and William Morris one of the leaders the Arts and Crafts movement.
The Chapels' decoration is at the heart of the Church's history. Its High Anglican Churchmanship was influenced by the ideology of the Oxford Movement and Ritualism of the Church of England. Both the 2nd Marquis of Bute and his more famous son, John Crichton Stuart 3rd Marquiss of Bute, were patrons of buildings with architectural and decorative flamboyance. The 2nd Marquis who bequeath the land that St Elvans was built upon was a student at Cambridge, but he moved in circles which included the highest and most influential thinkers of the Victorian age. His purchase of the Patronage of the Parish took several years. He had a hand in the architectural style and ornament of the church. Originally the lady Chapel had a painted pale pink ceiling. (Symbolic colour for Mary)
The Chapel now has a beautiful stain glass window. Dedicated to Father John David Jenkins. Given by the Railway Workers Union in memory of their President.
Father John D. Jenkins was a member of the Society of the Sacred Cross. SSC. He was a Welshman educated in Oxford. A theologian and spiritual man. Whilst at Oxford, he was introduced to William Holman Hunt, one of the leading members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, who painted his portrait which still hangs in one of the Oxford Colleges. Father J.D. Jenkins was a well loved and respected man. At one time he was in Ministry in South Africa. He was presented with a Watch, (above), The inscription in the Fob watch reads. 'Presented to the REV. J.D. Jenkins by the Non-commissioned officers and men of the right wing of the 45th Regiment as a token of their esteem during his Ministry in Natal.' June 1859.
J.D. Jenkins was known as a benevolent man. Story has it that he gave away his money to anyone needy so regularly he had queues at the Vicarage door. When he was elected to be a Canon of the Cathedral, he didn't have enough money to buy vestments for his induction, as so his Aberdare congregations collected money to get him the robes instead. He died of cancer and was buried in Aberdare Cemetery.
The lady Chapel was in point of fact decorated in 1969 after a bequest by Benjamin John Thomas of Commercial Street. It's 54 roof tiles was designed by Halliday who was a devotee of the Arts and Crafts Movement.
Reference.page 116 Churches of the Cynon Valley by Alan Vernon.