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Latitude: 51.6484 / 51°38'54"N
Longitude: -3.1327 / 3°7'57"W
OS Eastings: 321729
OS Northings: 195012
OS Grid: ST217950
Mapcode National: GBR J0.76QV
Mapcode Global: VH6DG.NT7P
Entry Name: Welsh Presbyterian Church
Listing Date: 17 December 1998
Last Amended: 17 December 1998
Source ID: 20995
Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Location: On a steeply wooded slope, close to the Church of St Luke, reached by a steep flight of steps from Gwyddon Road to S and by a drive from Twyn Road just off High Street.
Built-Up Area: Abercarn
Traditional County: Monmouthshire
Built by Sir Benjamin Hall (1802 - 1867) in 1853. He was local landowner of Abercarn House (now demolished), Lord Lieutenant and an MP who became First Commissioner of Works 1855-8 and who gave his name to Big Ben. Created a baronet by Queen Victoria in 1859, he became Lord Llanover and with his wife Lady Llanover a patron of Welsh language and culture. The church here was built to their design specifically for Anglicans using the Welsh language - ' sole use of the native Cymru' - because of their disapproval at the appropriation by the Anglican church for services in English of buildings 'originally endowed by pious Welshmen for the benefit of the aboriginals of the soil'. Plans and opening of church described in Illustrated London News, and no formal guests were invited to the well-attended ceremony except the supportive Bishop and Rural Dean of Llandaff 'and those natives of the higher class residing in the district who understood the language'. Subsequently Lady Llanover adapted the Prayerbook Service especially for use in this church - 'The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacrament arranged for the Use of Lord Llanover's Welsh Church at Abercarn' - became known as The Use of Abercarn. Church was originally known as The Welsh Church. In 1862 following an argument over the appointment of a curate, a Calvinistic Methodist minister was appointed on condition that he should use the liturgy of the established church; subsequently following further arguments about its status it became Welsh Presbyterian. Since St Luke's church was abandoned in 1980s that congregation has shared use of the church with the Presbyterians. Benjamin Hall was the son of the industrialist of the same name, who was the son-in-law of Sir Richard Crawshay, who purchased the Abercarn Ironworks for him; he also was MP for Glamorgan. The second Sir Benjamin married Augusta Waddington of Llanover and on their marriage the estates of Abercarn and Llanover were united.
A simple small chapel in Gothic Revival style. Of roughly dressed, coursed and snecked freestone with tooled ashlar dressings, those round the doors painted. Main roof is tiled, replaced to chancel, with stone tiles to porch and vestry. Plan of nave with bellcote, chancel, S porch, NE vestry. W front has 3-light window with cusped heads, chamfered mullions and hood; pointed arched W doorway has shield stops to the hoodmould, door with large decorative hinges; gabled bellcote with single bell, quatrefoil and small lancet below; large quoins with kneelers, wide coping, cruciform finials, sturdy cast-iron hoppers thoughout. S porch has pointed arched entrance doorway, hooded, chamfered and with shield stops; square datestone above with letters A B H (representing Augusta and Benjamin Hall, donors). Plain nave walls with large rectangular windows with trefoil-headed lights, deeply chamfered mullions, square hoodmoulds with stops; similar smaller to chancel; narrow priest's door. E window similar to W.
Interior has W gallery supported by slender cast iron piers, the single flight of stairs rising at NW corner behind a glazed vestibule partition, draped gallery front incorporating 3 coats of arms, relating to the donors, Sir Benjamin and Lady Augusta Hall. 4-centred arched scissor-braced nave roof in very narrow bays; wide splays to windows. Plain pointed chancel arch. In front on S side an unusual 3-decker pulpit with Gothic moulding. Chancel has Commandment Boards in Welsh on E wall; the heavy Gothic altar rails come from the now redundant St Luke's church. Some figurative stained glass, in particular E window Crucifixion, some canopywork, mostly diamond quarries. The decorative iron lanterns over the aisle are described in the account of the opening ceremony.
Listed as a chapel of special interest to Welsh church history almost entirely unaltered since its opening in 1853.
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