History in Structure

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Zion Baptist Chapel

A Grade II Listed Building in Slebech, Pembrokeshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.8086 / 51°48'31"N

Longitude: -4.9011 / 4°54'3"W

OS Eastings: 200099

OS Northings: 216202

OS Grid: SN000162

Mapcode National: GBR CN.XBYX

Mapcode Global: VH1RG.0SBW

Entry Name: Zion Baptist Chapel

Listing Date: 26 February 1998

Last Amended: 26 February 1998

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 19416

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Reached by a minor road from Deeplake to South Dairy Mountain, to the N of the A40(T).

County: Pembrokeshire

Community: Uzmaston, Boulston and Slebech (Uzmaston, Boulston a Slebets)

Community: Slebech

Locality: South Dairy Mountain

Traditional County: Pembrokeshire

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History

The chapel was built on land leased from Lord Cawdor, and opened on the 16th of October 1832. It was an offshoot of Bethesda in Haverfordwest, and its members first met in a clom and thatch cottage. Its Sunday school was said to have commenced in 1811. The first resident minister was the Rev. John Rees, a farmer at Arnold's Down, ordained in 1838.

The building has been renovated several times. The pulpit was brought from Bethesda, probably c.1898. The gates were also brought from Bethesda.

In the 1890s there was a threat to the tenure of the chapel and burial ground when the original 60 years lease expired, and fears that the site would be sold off. Dr Brown of Haverfordwest, who had commenced his education in the Sunday school of the chapel, purchased the freehold and donated it to trustees. Some unspecified improvements were made in c.1902 and the building has acquired a post-war front porch in concrete blockwork.

Exterior

The chapel lies parallel to the road but set back from it at the rear of a graveyard. Central front entrance with modern porch. The original building is of local rubble sandstone. There is slate-hanging at the front, in slightly graded courses. Roof of small slates with a moderate overhang at eaves and verges, tile ridge, and a wooden cross at the apex of the left gable. Later left extensions to the chapel for a vestry and kitchen, at a lower level.

There are windows to left and right of the porch and one centrally above, and in the side elevations, all of modern construction, but perhaps in earlier openings. These consist of a fixed light with a top ventilator. The main entrance consists of a pair of folding two-leaf doors, three sunk and fielded panels per leaf.

In the rear elevation are two sash windows of 24 panes, with brick flat-arches.

Interior

Small internal porch framed in timber, paved with red quarry tiles. six-panel doors each side, but faced on the porch side only.

The interior is the special feature of the chapel. The plan is compact and the pulpit tall and wide, flanked by large sash windows glazed, unusually, in clear glass. The pulpit and downstairs pews are re-installed from Bethesda; the pulpit is of painted deal, with hollow corners, reeded. Three steps at the left. The pulpit area is carpeted and the surrounding rails are supported on modern steel standards. The pews are of stained pine and stand on a floor of wood blocks.

The gallery is particularly good, certainly original, and contains original pews. It is supported on five turned timber posts. The front consists of panels with bead decoration below, with neat thin balusters above. The gallery pews are of a utilitarian design, all grey-painted deal, open-backed. Gates to the front rows each side. Symmetrical stairs to the gallery at right and left, with half-landings. Shaped handrails, turned newels with ball finials, inch-square balusters, close strings.

Monuments above the pulpit to John and Phoebe Brown, of Good Hook, d 1862 and 1844: figured white marble with an urn in low relief; also Benjamin Brown, surgeon, d.1847: white marble with sandstone surround.

Reasons for Listing

Listed for fine interior with original gallery, and fittings from Bethesda chapel re-installed in the late C19.

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Gates of Baptist Chapel
    At the entrance to the graveyard of the Baptist chapel, reached by a minor road from Deeplake to South Dairy Mountain, to the N of the A40(T).
  • II Cresborough
    1km SW of Slebech Church.

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