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Capel Bethlehem

A Grade II Listed Building in Pwll-trap, Carmarthenshire

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Latitude: 51.821 / 51°49'15"N

Longitude: -4.5145 / 4°30'52"W

OS Eastings: 226793

OS Northings: 216592

OS Grid: SN267165

Mapcode National: GBR D5.WJVR

Mapcode Global: VH2P3.PHQB

Entry Name: Capel Bethlehem

Listing Date: 11 June 2001

Last Amended: 11 June 2001

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 25489

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Within railed enclosure, set back from the road, in the NE corner of a cemetery.

County: Carmarthenshire

Town: Carmarthen

Community: St. Clears (Sanclêr)

Community: St. Clears

Locality: Pwll-trap

Built-Up Area: Pwll-trap

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire

Find accommodation in
St Clears


Independent chapel first built in 1765, replaced with larger building in 1785 and again in 1833, renewed 1871 and thoroughly refurbished 1908-10 by D.E. & O. Thomas of Haverfordwest. Founded from Henllan, preaching began about 1745. Separated from Henllan in 1803. Capel Mair, St Clears was founded from Bethlehem in 1820. The chapel of 1833 cost about £700.


Independent chapel of 1833 with facade mainly of 1909, in painted stucco. Hipped, slated roof, two-storey 3-bay facade and longer 3-bay sides. Front is in a French-influenced classical style with wide central bay and narrow side bays flanked by channelled piers with labels to capitals and cornice broken forward over each capital. Raised plinth, arched broad doorway with paired panelled timber doors and fanlight. Arch has moulded imposts and keystone and is in heavy architrave of panelled pilasters carrying paired console brackets under steep pediment with flat wings over brackets. Two raised stucco piers continue pilaster line to top cornice forming a minor order between the centre first floor windows, and with labels under cornice. Centre has sill band beneath wide spaced windows, central timber 3-light and single-light each side, all with top-lights and flat heads under frieze of main cornice. Raised stucco inscription in centre frieze: 'Adnewyddwyd 1909'. Flanking bays have tall, narrow windows with top lights: 6-pane over 12-pane, and have moulded arched hoods carried over long keystones. Moulded sills with apron panels beneath. Coped parapet above with raised piers corresponding to the 4 main pilasters and the 2 minor centre divisions, outermost piers stepped down slightly. Panels between piers have inscribed : 'Adeiladwyd 1765' to the L 'Seddwyd 1871' to the R and the central bay has 'Bethlehem' to centre, with 'Helaethwyd 1785' to the L and 'Adnewyddwyd 1833' to the R.
The sides have 3 windows each floor, and boarded wide eaves and the return of the main facade has single bay matching side bays of facade, but without parapet. Right side has original cross-windows with small panes, 6-6 over 12-12 panes, painted roughcast walls and stucco string course between floors. Left side is rendered with C20 plastic windows and eaves. Attached vestry to rear.


Interior of 1908-10 with 4-sided raked gallery with choir gallery behind pulpit platform. Good pitch pine fittings. Lobby has tiled floor and stained glass leaded lights with florid design, to main chapel. Chapel interior has pews in 3 blocks, angled at sides towards pulpit, with lightly decorated ends and square-panelled backs. Gallery is on 7 painted cast iron columns with ring below plain capitals. Frontal is carried on cornice with paired brackets corresponding to columns. Attractive front of large vertical panels divided into 2 vertical panels below and one horizontal pierced cast-iron panel above with lattice pattern. Three-sided deacons' seat. Large panelled platform with steps up each end and panelling in long vertical panels divided into two pit with projecting centre carrying lectern. Long vertical panels each divided with 2 horizontal panels below a small cornice and 6 small square panels above. Dentilled rail. Projecting canted-sided pulpit with narrow vertical panels 1-2-1 and centre bookrest. Raised matching panelled pilasters to each end of platform, with turned finials, as on stair newels. Similarly panelled back wall behind platform and under choir gallery, vertical panels having smaller square panels above, and with two wide panelled pilasters flanking pulpit centre. Moulded cornice from main galleries is carried around above the panelling, but choir gallery front is lower with moulded top rail ramped down and panelled front, smallest panels in centre. In gallery is large pipe organ in 5 sections, by J. J. Binns, Fitton and Haley Ltd., of Bromley, Leeds.
Gallery has stairs to lobby, also dog-leg stair to vestry below choir and organ.
Ceiling has stucco cornice and two diamond-shaped timber-framed vents with raised bands, to centre. In vestry is datestone from 1833 chapel.
School room and vestry to rear.

Reasons for Listing

Included as a well-detailed chapel of 1908-10 remodelling a building of 1833, with a particularly good interior.

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Pont Newydd
    Over the Afon Taf on the border with Llanddowror parish.
  • II Pont Newydd
    Over the Afon Taf on the border with St Clears parish.
  • II Island House
    Situated on the W bank of Afon Cynin to N of the Swan Hotel, just off the main street, facing open garden.
  • II Gothic Villa
    Situated within a railed forecourt, some 50m N of the old Board School building.
  • II Water Pump
    Immediately south of Wesley Villa, set into the pavement
  • II Capel Mair, including forecourt railings
    Within railed enclosure on S side of junction of High Street and Heol Gof.
  • II Newton Villa
    Situated at S end of terraced row.
  • II Kieffe House
    Set back from the street, within a low-walled garden, atttached to The Kieffe.

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