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Penuel Baptist Church

A Grade II* Listed Building in Rhymney, Caerphilly

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.7658 / 51°45'56"N

Longitude: -3.29 / 3°17'24"W

OS Eastings: 311073

OS Northings: 208241

OS Grid: SO110082

Mapcode National: GBR YT.ZVZP

Mapcode Global: VH6CS.XWK7

Entry Name: Penuel Baptist Church

Listing Date: 1 March 1999

Last Amended: 15 May 2001

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 21430

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Located some 100m W of Post Office, on NW side of street, set in grassed yard with iron railings.

County: Caerphilly

Town: Rhymney

Community: Rhymney (Rhymni)

Community: Rhymney

Built-Up Area: Rhymney

Traditional County: Monmouthshire

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Rhymney

History

A square hipped chapel of 1839, built to house a growing congregation. It could seat 1200 people and was the largest of the valley. The original Penuel became the vestry and for some time was used by the English Baptists who later built Beulah. It had cost £110 in 1821 and was the first Baptist chapel in Rhymney, a sister church to Siloh in Tredegar. Built on land donated by the Ironworks. Present chapel was repaired in 1859, and further vestry space was added in the early C20 to hold concerts and plays, by dismantling and the rebuilding a redundant chapel from Butetown, Rhymney. In 1844, the chapel was to play co-host to an important theological debate known as the Fair of Baptism which attracted over 20,000 people from all over Wales. Associated with 'Mathetes', the Rev. John Jones, minister of the church and author of a biblical dictionary.

Exterior

Large, square plan chapel in simple classical style with vestry and schoolroom behind. Smooth render to walls with some added stucco dressings. Slate hipped pyramid roof with terracotta ridgetiles. Facade has thin raised surrounds to openings, hoods to arches and angle quoins, all added. Central arched door and four arched windows, the two outer ones longer. C20 glazing. Panelled double doors with coloured glass fanlight, with intricate radiating glazing bars. Two-storey, 3-window side walls with flat heads to windows. Gabled vestry with modern brown uPVC door behind, with a further corrugated iron extension.

Interior

Light and airy interior of 1839 "grandly scaled and remarkable for its period" (Newman). Square plan with entrance behind the pulpit. Remarkably complete painted graining to the joinery. Box pews below and gallery pews are panelled, raked at both levels and canted, radiating out from the pulpit, the first row acting as the big seat. Remarkably large and high rectangular balustraded pulpit platform with vertical panels below, turned balusters and matching straight steps both sides. The platform covers a total immersion font. Back wall three-arched timber panel flanked by panelled pilasters. Immediately each side are windows to the lobby, with coloured margins. Lobby doors are in canted wall each side of platform steps, and lobby top has low balustrade for use as additional gallery.

Exceptional gallery, with deep canted angles such that it is almost 5-sided. Eight plain iron columns. The gallery front has painted cove, bracketed cornice decorated with a painted band of quatrefoils. Main front has very unusual arched panels each holding a double arch with tiny quatrefoil in centre spandrel. Small turned columns in each angle of front, and centre clock by Williams of Merthyr. An ornate painted organ by Peter Conacher & Co. of Huddersfield is added in centre gallery, later C19.

Oil cloths still on the floors (below carpets), tiled floor in lobby. Two plaques to the ministries of the Revs. George Griffiths and John Jones (Mathetes).

Plaster cornice and border to ceiling, the rest a large multi-coloured boarded square with diagonal ribs to centre rose and ribbed border panels with square corner vents. Very large centre rose with centre radiating leaf and flower motif, two patterned bands, a wide plain circle and outer moulding.
Rear vestry still has its panelled closing partition.

Reasons for Listing

Graded II* as an early chapel, remarkable for its grand size and fine original joinery, and for its historical importance as the chapel of 'Mathetes'.

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