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Capel Tabernacle

A Grade I Listed Building in Morriston, Swansea

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.6634 / 51°39'48"N

Longitude: -3.925 / 3°55'30"W

OS Eastings: 266953

OS Northings: 197818

OS Grid: SS669978

Mapcode National: GBR WVT.R7

Mapcode Global: VH4K3.XGB7

Entry Name: Capel Tabernacle

Listing Date: 30 September 1993

Last Amended: 30 September 1993

Grade: I

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 11744

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: On NE corner of Woodfield Street and Crown Street; on prominent sloping site, visible from large area to E of community. Set in yard with low stone wall with iron railings and gates.

County: Swansea

Community: Morriston (Treforys)

Community: Morriston

Built-Up Area: Swansea

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Morriston

History

Grand chapel of 1870-72. Known as 'The Cathedral of Welsh Nonconformity'.
By John Humphreys, architect, of Morriston; builder Daniel Edwards, builder and tinplate manufacturer, of Morriston. Originally known as New Libanus Chapel.

Exterior

Brown rock-faced stone, pale freestone dressings and string courses, slate roofs. Eclectic style with references to Classical, and Northern Italian medieval styles. Slightly advanced pedimented temple front has three bays with giant order of 4 pairs of unfluted Corinthian columns; wider central bay has elliptical arch, round arches to outer bays, medallions in spandrels. Heavily dentilled pediment has freestone band, and pierced roundel in tympanum and is surmounted by tabernacle as pinnacle. Central arch of front encloses two 2-light upper floor windows with arcading below; round arch of main entrance encloses 2 round-headed doorways and has round window in head. Outer arches of front each have single round-arched window to upper floor, and round-arched doorway with arcade of windows above. To L of temple front is tall round-headed window to projecting staircase tower. To R of front is engaged square tower with octagonal steeple, round headed 2-light windows to upper stage, clocks, aedicules with Italianate 2-light round-headed windows with louvres; lowest (stair tower) stage has tall round-headed window to front, and paired tall round-headed windows to side; also to side, entrance doorway with stone surround.
This entrance doorway links to forecourt by ramped stairway with pierced balustrade, archway to storage/service area beneath. Similar arrangement at N staircase tower.
Side elevations have pierced parapets and four tall shallow arches each enclosing, at upper floor level, two 2-light round-headed windows (pierced roundel above); at ground floor level, triple round-headed window, at basement level, segmental arches with paired segmentally-headed small-pane sash windows. End bays to E are narrower with single upper floor window below which is shallow projection overlapping with adjacent bay and containing paired windows, and entrance doorway with stone steps (pierced balustrade) down to ground level.
Rear of building has 2 pairs of small windows in gable; central shallow projection with monopitch roof, two 2-light windows to each side at upper floor level; round-headed windows to ground floor level.

Interior

Magnificent interior includes shallow elliptical ceiling with ribs on polygonal corbels and elaborate panelling. Intruded corners to staircases (front). Continuous gallery with balustrade supported on iron columns with crocketed capitals, stencilled decoration to coving, boarded front surmounted by filigree work; gallery sweeps down behind pulpit; organ console to front of choir benches, organ to rear with Gothic case, further detached banks of organ pipes to corners of chapel; entrances to staircases beside. Stained glass to windows to sides of organ. Large convex pulpit with pierced arcading and balustraded stair to each side; convex balustrade to set fawr enclosure. Pitch pine benches, those to front arranged round pulpit concentrically. To rear of pulpit doors to service rooms. Basement schoolroom.

Reasons for Listing

Graded I as perhaps most ambitious grand chapel in Wales with striking exterior presence, and virtually unaltered interior and fittings.

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