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Latitude: 51.781 / 51°46'51"N
Longitude: -3.8794 / 3°52'45"W
OS Eastings: 270450
OS Northings: 210816
OS Grid: SN704108
Mapcode National: GBR Y1.YSHF
Mapcode Global: VH4JK.QH0K
Entry Name: Capel Y Tabernacl
Listing Date: 29 March 2000
Last Amended: 2 August 2002
Source ID: 23088
Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Location: Situated on the N side of Cwmgors some 100m S of the junction of Heol-y-gors and Llwyn Road.
County: Neath Port Talbot
Community: Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen (Gwauncaegurwen)
Built-Up Area: Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen
Traditional County: Glamorgan
Independent chapel of 1910-12, attributed to W Beddoe Rees of Cardiff on the basis of close similarities of detail to other chapels by Beddoe Rees, one of the most important Welsh chapel architects. This is a major chapel in a relatively small settlement, comparable with the chapels in St Thomas and Brynmill, Swansea, but with advances in Rees' design, notably the broad curved plastered ceiling where his other Gothic chapels tend to have double-height iron columns carrying open timber roofs. The woodwork is more classical in derivation, reflecting both Rees' interest in free classical design (cf Bethania, Maesteg), and the shift in taste of c1910 towards a formalism inspired by French Beaux-Arts architecture.
Chapel, free Gothic style, coursed rock-faced Pennant stone with sandstone and Bath stone dressings, slate roof and red terracotta ridge tiles. Large gable front with winged stair towers, in late Gothic style. Banded octagonal angle piers and turrets, coped gable, big traceried 4-centred arched 5-light window above pointed door in traceried band. Wings are canted hipped with pointed doors to front and band of leaded windows above.
Main gable has finial, flush band and tiny lancet. Moulded frame to main window with hoodmould rising to a big foliate finial. intricate cusped tracery. Chamfered sill, and sill band. Ground floor moulded head to door, band of blind Gothic panels each side of door head, with one panel glazed. Sill band below, moulded course above carried round octagonal piers. Piers are banded in pale sandstone all the way up to octagonal turret finials with blind tracery sides and ogee stone caps.
Wings have moulded doorheads, blind tracery in heads, ashlar quoins at angles, and upper band of leaded square headed windows with chamfered sides and blind cusped arched heads. Three lights to front, two to canted end. Stone steps up to all 3 doors.
Side walls are rendered, 2-storey, 5-window. with yellow brick quoins to 2-step buttresses between bays. Two-light square-headed windows with blnd tracery above, as on windows of stair wings. Across rear are 2 gabled ranges, plain, one the previous chapel, of 1905, now schoolroom and vestry.
Ornate interior with curved plastered ceiling in 6 bays with entrance end bay narrowed by stair towers each side. Dentil cornice broken forward under ribs, on Ionic corbels. Ribs are panelled and there are three plaster panels to each bay, one long between 2 short, all with shouldered angles and inset plain rectangle. Long panels have plaster roundel at apex. Long panel only in narrow bay. side windows are 2-light with Art nouveau coloured glass.
Four-sided gallery on 9 iron columns made by W A Baker & Co, Newport. Gallery front has continuous cast-iron frontal double curved in profile, made up of short sections with ornate foliate pierced panels above row of small blind traceried panels. Pierced panels have leaf scroll flanked by narrower fleur-de-lys panels. Hardwood cornice and top rail. Gallery frontal is lower behind pulpit with hardwood ramped down panels each side.
Fine hardwood pews in 3 blocks, all curved with shaped ends. Dado with vertical boarding under panelled strip. Curved back to set fawr with egg-and-dart moulding to panels. In front of great seat a panelled curved-fronted table. Fine platform with stairs up each side, panelled newels and vase finials. Stairs and platform have pierced flat balusters. Canted 3-sided pulpit, panelled with fielded panels and egg-and-dart and beed-and-reel mouldings. Four fluted ionic columns, cornice with pulvinated frieze and curved pediment under book-rest. Pulpit is supported on 4 big shaped radiating brackets. Panelled back to platform under organ gallery. Half-glazed door each side of platform.
End gallery has broad depressed arch to organ recess with panelled Ionic pilasters. Organ of 1911 by Norman & Beard. Entrance lobby has glazed timber screen with 2 double doors and 6-light window, Art-Nouveau coloured glass. Lobby plaques of 1910. Stairs each side, with urn finials to newels and pointed arch over. Stairs also in rear SE corner. Deep entrance-end gallery with half-glazed door each side and raked pews. some coloured glass in traceried window.
Rear vestry has parallel roofs with iron columns supporting valley.
Graded II* as an exceptional example of the work of one of the leading chapel architects of the early C20, unusual in his work in combining free Gothic exterior and classically-derived interior detail. Unusual also in being a chapel of quality and scale in one of the smaller coalfield communities. Exceptionally high quality woodwork to the interior.
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