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Merchants Hill Baptist Church

A Grade II Listed Building in Pontypool, Torfaen

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Latitude: 51.7097 / 51°42'34"N

Longitude: -3.0517 / 3°3'6"W

OS Eastings: 327428

OS Northings: 201744

OS Grid: SO274017

Mapcode National: GBR J3.3H2S

Mapcode Global: VH79S.2915

Entry Name: Merchants Hill Baptist Church

Listing Date: 23 October 1998

Last Amended: 21 October 2003

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 20741

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: In the centre of Pontnewynydd, on W side of the A4043 at the junction with Merchants Hill.

County: Torfaen

Town: Pontypool

Community: Pen Tranch (Pen Transh)

Community: Pen Tranch

Locality: Pontnewynydd

Built-Up Area: Pontypool

Traditional County: Monmouthshire

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Baptist Chapel of 1888, designed by George Morgan of Carmarthen; contractor, Morgan & Evans of Pontnewynydd, cost £700-£800. Original design had single gallery with ornate cast-iron front in Gothic-style. This gallery was entirely replaced c1900 when new galleries were built on all four sides, which Morgan has intended from the outset.


Gable-fronted late-C19 chapel in simplified version of George Morgan's Romanesque style. Rubble stone with Bath stone dressings; slate roof. Centre porch to gable-front with big rose window above. Porch is Gothic-style with projecting stone canopy supported on freestanding Corinthian-style columns with pedestal bases. Canopy has trefoil-shaped soffit and face inscribed 'Baptist Chapel 1888'. Shouldered arch to inner doorway has decorative roundel in head; boarded double-doors. Porch is flanked each side by tall round-arched windows with C20 glazing. Rose window has centre multifoil light and outer tracery of 8 circular lights. Upper gable has vertical ventilation opening and kneelered coping. Side elevations each have four round-arched windows (similar to those of gable-front).


Entry directly into vestibule; quarter-turn stairs with winders to gallery. Opposite entry, vestibule has 3-light trefoil headed inner window with attractive patterned glass. To left and right, are side lobbies enclosing gallery stairs from which 6-panel double doors open into main chapel. Medium-sized auditorium, mostly of 1888 but with ornate gallery of c1900 on four sides. Gallery, supported by 6 slender cast-iron columns with spiral turned shafts and foliated capitals, has cast iron balustrade which curves down behind the great seat to accommodate a raked organ loft. Gallery front has shaped railings on face, each one richly decorated with pierced acanthus leaf ornament in art nouveau style. Raised pulpit platform with stairs each side; moulded square-section balusters, turned newels with ball finials. Pitch pine pulpit with canted front. Base of pulpit has diagonally boarded panels. Above, Gothic-style arcaded pulpit front, carried on squat columns, has semi-circular arched openings with trefoil heads. To left and right, 6-panel doors lead to rear vestry. Main chapel has pine boarded dado. Plaster ceiling, with moulded cornice, is ceiled at collar and has inset octagonal ventilators with radiating pierced grilles. Attractive brown and green, patterned glass, rose window in E gallery. Organ of c1900 by Blackett and Howden.

Reasons for Listing

A good example of a late C19 chapel by the celebrated Carmarthen architect George Morgan, with fine galleried interior.

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