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Bethesda Welsh Independent Chapel

A Grade II* Listed Building in Rhondda, Rhondda Cynon Taff

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.6477 / 51°38'51"N

Longitude: -3.4887 / 3°29'19"W

OS Eastings: 297096

OS Northings: 195376

OS Grid: SS970953

Mapcode National: GBR HJ.7F5K

Mapcode Global: VH5GT.HV16

Plus Code: 9C3RJGX6+3G

Entry Name: Bethesda Welsh Independent Chapel

Listing Date: 30 June 1993

Last Amended: 23 December 1996

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 13128

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Situated on an island site within the grid pattern of the neighbouring streets in this central area of Ton Pentre just W of the river and railway crossing and adjacent to the churchyard of St John Yst

County: Rhondda Cynon Taff

Town: Pentre

Community: Pentre

Community: Pentre

Locality: Ton Pentre

Built-Up Area: Rhondda

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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History

Founded in 1877 as Maendy Hall to the designs of Revd William Jones and built by David E Morgan of Ton; rebuilt in 1906 to the designs of W D Morgan, son-in-law of Revd William Jones, by Hughes and Sterling at a cost of £4300. No longer in use as a Chapel but currently under repair and to be used for community purposes.

Exterior

Built of rock-faced sandstone, coursed and snecked with richly applied ashlar dressings; Welsh slate roof with decorative ridge tiles and finials. Baroque in style, the design is stepped forward towards the 3 window centre which is pedimented with the principal classical detail being picked out in red sandstone. Pediment contains an inscription 'Capel y Annibynwyr' with dated frieze. Below the bays are pilastered, Corinthian to the gallery with added carved figureheads and Doric to the ground floor. Gallery has round headed windows with nook shafts; segmental headed ground floor windows with bracketed sills and channelled surrounds; all have prominent moulded keystones and coloured glass. Foundation stones over the plinth - all dated 1907 not 1906 as inscribed at top. Flanking this central section the bays are individually stepped back and have balustraded parapets and quoins which wrap round the corner. The most distinctive features are the Gibbsian surrounds to the round-headed inner gallery windows and the bullseye windows to the corner-sited gallery staircases. Entrances are unusally at the corners reached by stone steps with deeply recessed 6 panelled doors, segmental pediments and 'Bethesda' inscribed friezes. The facade returns around the corner with 3 round headed gallery level windows with keystones grouped under an open pediment with attic roundel; paired round-headed windows to ground floor, all margin glazed sashes. Set back to either side are 5 window side elevations with cornices and similar sash windows, square headed to gallery, round headed below. On both sides the building projects forward again at rear where there is a large transverse and hipped roofed hall range with tall round headed windows to ground floor and square headed above with segmental headed entrance door right with separate inscription stone, date illegible. Chapel is bordered to front by a rock-faced stone wall with high piers with cross gabled copings and decorative iron railings and gates; to side right only gate piers and gate survive.

Interior

Grand galleried interior on 4 sides. 7 bay ceiling to main body of chapel with alternating roses and ventilators and deep coving, the bays formed by arched timber braces springing from above the columns at gallery level; the 6 bay side gallery flat ceilings have similarly alternating ventilators and roses within coffered divisions. The steeply raked gallery is distinctive in having a segmentally arched arcade with round cast iron columns with foliated capitals and octagonal abaci; gallery front is panelled with volute brackets defining each bay and is carried on fluted cast iron columns with foliage capitals; columns cast by Walker and Company Iron Foundry. Richly grained and polished wood pulpit with decorative inlaid panels, scroll-ended sides to each seat, and flanking balustraded steps; panelled front to set fawr; large organ above. Ground floor raked to rear and some pews curved to sides; pews are all panelled; planked dado has painted frieze above; brackets for gas lamps on walls; woodblock floor. Windows have some coloured glass incorporating Art Nouveau motifs; gallery windows have hood moulds.

Reasons for Listing

Listed for its special interest as a well preserved and unusally well detailed turn-of-the century chapel. Group value with adjacent Maindy and Eastern Workmen's Institute and Hall.

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