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Adulam Baptist Chapel with Vestry (Ysgoldy Adulam), Baptistery, Railings and Gates

A Grade II Listed Building in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire

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Latitude: 51.699 / 51°41'56"N

Longitude: -4.1473 / 4°8'50"W

OS Eastings: 251702

OS Northings: 202213

OS Grid: SN517022

Mapcode National: GBR GT.904M

Mapcode Global: VH4JT.2KCD

Entry Name: Adulam Baptist Chapel with Vestry (Ysgoldy Adulam), Baptistery, Railings and Gates

Listing Date: 16 October 1998

Last Amended: 16 October 1998

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 20529

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: On high ground 150 m west of A476 in Felinfoel, opposite to Adulam Row. The side of the Vestry faces the street with the chapel standing parallel to its west.

County: Carmarthenshire

Town: Llanelli

Community: Llanelli Rural (Llanelli Wledig)

Community: Llanelli Rural

Locality: Adulam

Built-Up Area: Llanelli

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire

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The predecessor of Adulam chapel was built on a different site in 1709. It was a branch of Ilston near Swansea, but separately incorporated in 1735. The present chapel was built in 1840 and radically renewed in 1879. The chapel of 1840 is said to have been entered by the east-facing long side.

Both the exterior alterations and the fine interior are of 1879, and were designed by the architect Henry Thomas of Swansea. The builder for the renewal work was David Rees of Ystalyfera, and the cost about £1800.

There was a baptistery in front of the pulpit; baptisms were later performed in the weir pool beside Pont Adulam and more recently in an open air baptistery in the grounds of the chapel.

Adulam has a long school tradition. A small school and vestry building was attached to the chapel of 1879; this was removed and the very large present school and vestry building, Ysgoldy Adulam, built parallel to the chapel but a short distance apart in 1932. It is linked to the chapel by a shared entrance lobby. The new building was designed by Captain J Evans and Mr B Evans, and built at a cost of about £4000.


The chapel is well set back from the road, and the vestry building occupies the lower ground adjacent to the road; a corridor and shared entrance links them at the upper storey of the latter. The open air baptistery occupies ground immediately adjacent to the vestry building.

The chapel is a building in simple Classical style. The front gable, facing N, is rendered and scored to imitate ashlar joints. The sides and rear are now dry dashed. Moulded stucco surround to door and to windows and raised stucco quoins. Stone window sills. Slate roof with slightly projecting verge and eaves, the front having decorative consoles to the soffit and the eaves having a moulding. The front gable elevation has two tall round-headed windows and a small high level wheel window, and a raised panel with the chapel name and dates. Round-headed double doors, each leaf of five panels, deeply set in the wall. Three windows to the sides. The old name plaque is re-fixed to W side. There is a slate plaque beneath the front left window recording the chapel history and names of ministers.

Ysgoldy Adulam is a building of more studied Classical detailing, slightly larger than the chapel to which it is linked. Stuccoed brickwork with coped gables at front and rear; strong rustication to the quoins and to the basement. Slate roof with deeply projecting eaves. Main door round-headed and deeply set under a pedimented feature the frieze of which carries the name and date. The window frames are an early example of the use of standard steel sections. The lower windows are square headed and the main ones round headed.

The Baptistery is at the front of Ysgoldy Adulam and to the left of the main gates. Concrete pool with steps down. Low surrounding wall with coping and decorative cast-iron railings. Adjacent iron gates, and square piers of rock-faced stone with pyramidal rock-faced stone caps.


The chapel is entered either via a link with the vestry building or by the front doors and the anteroom. The anteroom has plain coloured encaustic tiles. A window with obscured glass and coloured margins overlooks the interior. Symmetrical pine doors, each of four panels. Symmetrical stairs to the gallery, with quarter landings; moulded handrail on turned balusters and newels. The seating is in four main blocks, the outer blocks facing inwards, with curved seating at the rear corners. The central division is staggered. There is a side gangway to the entrance from the vestry. The seats have simply carved toprails, ends and gates. The ends are fitted with brass and iron umbrella stands and the gates have enamelled numbers.

The pulpit has a bowed front, twin stairs, and the cadair fawr has a curved backrail concentric with the pulpit front. Strongly moulded hardwood handrails on painted cast-iron ornamental balusters and newels to both. The cadair fawr is raised two steps, with a margin decorated with plain encaustic tiles which originally edged the pulpit baptistery. At the rear of the pulpit is a large recess in the wall, framed with bold plaster mouldings, containing the organ (by Henry Willis, 1952) with displayed pipes above a panelled screen.

Fine gallery on three sides with handrail on cast-iron openwork supports of curved profile on a dentillated moulded bearer, all supported on seven deeply fluted decorative cast-iron columns. Special doubly-curved castings have been used to carry the design seamlessly around the corners. The gallery seating is in four rows at the sides and seven rows above the entrance, including curved seats at the corners. It has simply-carved toprails and ends without doors. The seating-backs at window positions are of open design with balusters to admit light, elsewhere they consist of vertical boarding.

The ceiling has bold decorative ribs dividing it into seven main boarded panels with narrow margin panels. There are two large decorative plaster roundels at the crossings of ribs and smaller decorative grilles at the corners and centres of the margins. Outside the margins the ceiling is plastered and there is an enriched cornice.

Reasons for Listing

Listed as an essentially late C19 chapel with a very fine interior and forming a good group with its school and vestry and its baptistery.

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