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Ebenezer Chapel

A Grade II* Listed Building in Port Talbot, Neath Port Talbot

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5971 / 51°35'49"N

Longitude: -3.7836 / 3°47'0"W

OS Eastings: 276556

OS Northings: 190201

OS Grid: SS765902

Mapcode National: GBR H3.BR03

Mapcode Global: VH5H1.C4M0

Entry Name: Ebenezer Chapel

Listing Date: 22 July 1980

Last Amended: 31 January 2000

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 14174

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: In a prominent position in the square between the shopping centre and the Civic Centre, and backing onto the River Afan.

County: Neath Port Talbot

Town: Port Talbot

Community: Aberavon (Aberafan)

Community: Aberavon

Built-Up Area: Port Talbot

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Port Talbot

History

By the chapel architect George Morgan of Carmarthen, and one of a group of 4 in Wales using Romanesque and Lombardic styles. The chapel was rebuilt by Morgan in 1880; the first chapel was built in 1836, as shown by a cast iron date plaque built into the SW forecourt wall. As part of a redevelopment of the 1990s, the N vestry was taken down and replaced by a new one to the S, along with a new staircase turret.

Exterior

Two-storey gable-end facade with narrow flanking staircase bays. The front elevation is of snecked rock-faced stone, the side walls and rear of rubble stone, all under slate roofs, and with prominent pale stone quoins and dressings. Shallow full-width canted porch with a pair of gabled doorways to the centre. Each has a round-arched head with several orders of mouldings, the inner ones with pronounced chevron ornament. These are supported on attached clustered shafts, the central ones shared, with exuberant foliate capitals. Metal openwork gates to doorways, with scrollwork, a band of circles at impost level and a large cross. The gables have copings with foliate end bosses and large finials. Single round-headed windows flanking each side of entrance, and similar openings in each canted section. The porch is crowned by a dressed stone parapet with a band of recessed quatrefoils in circles, surmounted by a coping of round-arched stones. Above the porch is a large central round-headed window. It contains 2 inner round-arched openings and a roundel above, the inner openings also 2-light with roundel. The arches spring off shared ringed shafts with foliate imposts, which continue across the elevation as an impost band. The central window is flanked by single round-headed lights. Above each is a round stone panel containing a blind quatrefoil. Dressed angle pilasters to gallery level with foliated imposts, which support a raised Lombard frieze to the verges of the gable. The gable is broken by a plain dressed string course, above which are 3 stepped round-headed louvres with continuous hoodmould and a further string course at impost level. The narrow end bays each have a single round-headed window at gallery level set in a tall recessed panel, above a short 2-light window, the lights with shouldered heads. These side bays have parapets in the same style as the porch, with hipped roofs set back behind. Partly indecipherable stone below centre porch columns, inscribed 'This Memorial was laid August .. 1880 by ... ' (indecipherable).

Two-storey 6-bay side walls with 2-light windows, those to the lower storey have flat shouldered heads; those above are plate traceried with round-headed lights and a small circle above. Replaced wooden window frames, except for lower S windows. To the S elevation, a late C20 staircase turret replaces the E windows. To its L is a link corridor to the late C20 vestry, of pale snecked stone with a hipped roof. The lower L window is blocked with stone. The N side is 4-window to the upper storey, with 2 windows below. The scar of the former vestry gable is visible to the L, within which is the remains of a blocked round-headed window with yellow brick dressing. The E gable end bears a roundel at mid-level with pierced circular lights, above 4 single square headed lights.

Interior

Inside the porch are spiral stone staircases to L and R, curving outwards towards the gallery. The porch has a groined vaulted plaster ceiling and 2 highly ornate doorways leading into the chapel which are identical to the 2 external doorways. They contain diagonally boarded doors. The vestibule has a 4-light window, each light with a trefoiled head and containing Art Nouveau glass, with flanking panelled doors leading into the chapel. Four-sided gallery on round columns with small foliate capitals. The panels contain iron fretwork with quatrefoils and crosses, above wooden planking. Six rows of curved pews to rear. The pulpit and straight flanking staircases were built as one. The pulpit has a front of 3 round open arches with cusps, with a further arch to each angled side. Under each arch is a frieze of open ironwork with scrolls and a large cross. The staircase fronts have plain round arches and small pierced circles in the spandrels. Large curved set fawr of open panels above wooden planking and with a moulded handrail. Large double panelled doors behind pulpit (the pulpit can be removed during baptisms). Three banks of box pews with curved bench ends; wainscot panelling surmounted by a frieze of quatrefoils. One of the lower S windows has been converted to a door leading to the vestry. Moulded continuous rear arches to upper side windows, which also support the arched ceiling braces. These have large foliate corbels, all in a different design. Panelled ceiling with six arched braces. Wooden fretwork ceiling roses, square and set at angle, down centre of ceiling. Stained glass to E and W windows. Three stained glass windows to N side, all memorials with Biblical scenes and later C20. Two marble tablets on S wall to former ministers; one with swags and a bible to David Griffiths (d. 1911), the second to David Thomas (d. 1864).

Reasons for Listing

Listed grade II* as an unusually finely detailed building in scarce Romanesque style by a nationally-important chapel architect.
Group value with its forecourt, gate piers and railings and Aberavon Bridge.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Forecourt Walls, Railings and Gates to Ebenezer Chapel
    Bounding the forecourt to Ebenezer Chapel and facing W.
  • II Aberavon Bridge
    The bridge crosses the River Afan and serves as the physical link between the shopping centres of Aberavon and Port Talbot, the former a development of the 1990s. The roadway is now pedestrianised.
  • II Aberavon Bridge (partly in Aberavon community)
    The bridge crosses the River Afan and serves as the physical link between the shopping centres of Aberavon and Port Talbot, the former a development of the 1990s. The roadway is now pedestrianised.
  • II Afan Masonic Temple
    The temple fronts Forge Road; Tabernacle chapel adjoins on right.
  • II Bethany Chapel
    In a prominent position in the centre of Port Talbot. The square is at the junction of Station Road and Forge Road.
  • II Tabernacle Chapel
    A narrow forecourt in front of the chapel faces the road and is bounded by stone gate piers and iron gates and railings.
  • II Church of St Mary
    Located in a quadrangular churchyard, encircled by the high-level A48. Just to the S of Aberavon shopping centre.
  • II Velindre Bridge
    Located at the SW corner of the settlement of Velindre and now carrying a path which runs parallel with Cwmavon Road.

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