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Coleg Bala, Including Forecourt Walls and Gatepiers

A Grade II Listed Building in Bala (Y Bala), Gwynedd

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Latitude: 52.9152 / 52°54'54"N

Longitude: -3.6007 / 3°36'2"W

OS Eastings: 292466

OS Northings: 336512

OS Grid: SH924365

Mapcode National: GBR 6D.N7V9

Mapcode Global: WH66Z.NZLH

Entry Name: Coleg Bala, Including Forecourt Walls and Gatepiers

Listing Date: 13 December 2001

Last Amended: 13 December 2001

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 25989

Building Class: Education

Location: Located at the northern approach to the town on an elevated site, set back from the road at right-angles within its own grounds.

County: Gwynedd

Community: Bala (Y Bala)

Community: Bala

Traditional County: Merionethshire

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The Bala College was founded in 1837 ostensibly as a preparatory school for ministers of the Calvinistic Methodist denomination. It was co-founded by Lewis Edwards (1809-87) and his brother-in-law David Charles III, the former serving as the college principal. Edwards was a notable teacher and theologian and was regarded as one of the greatest preachers of his day. His achievements in the fields of theology and education were of considerable significance for C19 Wales. The college began in a store room behind Plas-yn-Dre before relocating to premises on the corner of Tegid Place in 1839. The present college complex was eventually completed in 1867, the foundation stone having being laid on June 15th 1865. A general college education was taught here until 1891 and from then on only theological subjects were taught; from 1967 the college has been used as a Methodist Youth Activities Centre.


Mid Victorian college in simple Gothic style; snecked, rough-dressed stone elevations with sandstone quoins and dressings, and slate roofs (the chimneys have been removed in recent years). The building has a symmetrical 11- bay facade consisiting of a tall central tower flanked by 2-storey, 2-bay main sections with advanced 2-and-a-half storey gabled wings beyond; set back at the ends are 2-and-a-half storey 2-bay blocks with hipped roofs.

The tower section is square and of 4 storeys with surmounting crenellated and machicolated parapet; plain buttressing up to second stage. The first stage contains the main entrance and has a short flight of steps leading up to it, together with a modern concrete ramp giving access from L to R. Moulded, pointed-arched entrance with label stops in the form of shields; these have been recarved in 1891, that to the L bearing that date together with a scroll inscribed: `Schola Theologica.' Multi-panel double doors, with internal part-glazed Gothic doors having tripartite arched upper sections. Triple cusped lancet group to the tower's second stage, with stringcourse below; 2-light window to the third stage with cusped lights, and 3 single lights to the upper stage.

The flanking 2-bay sections have dividing stepped buttresses and a plain stringcourse between the floors. Three-light windows within broad pointed arches to each floor, those to the ground transomed and with shouldered-arched heads to the lights, and those to the first with cusped heads; plain glazing throughout. The adjoining gabled bays are slightly advanced and have 2-storey canted bay windows with plain 2-pane sashes; modern 4-light windows above (replacing 2-light arched-headed originals). The end sections are set back and have arched entrances to the inner bays with plain doors and overlights; single light windows above. The outer bays have paired windows; plain 2-pane sashes throughout, with stringcourse between the floors. These end sections each have 2 modern flat-roofed dormer windows to the attic floor (replacing single gabled dormers).

The rear elevation is asymmetrical. In the centre is a single-storey advanced hall block with steeply-pitched roof and large 4-light transmullioned Gothic window; modern catslide extension extruded in the angle to the R. Adjoining to the L of this bock is a 2-storey stair projection with hipped roof and 6-light Gothic window, transmullioned and arched as before. Further Gothic-style windows of 2- and 3 lights to the upper floor of the main block, to either side of the hall and stair projections. The outer wings have lower advanced sections with hipped roofs; small single-storey modern additions to L and R.

Coped rubble walls front the road on the SW side, and partly define a forecourt area to the SE and W of the college building; simple gatepiers with plain iron gates at the southern corner.


Entrance hall with pointed, chamfered arch inscribed with the date 1867 at its apex; polychromed tiled floor. At the end of the hall is an axial corridor running L to R, with the hall beyond and the stairwell off to the R. This has an open well stair in simple Gothic style with arcaded balustrading.

Reasons for Listing

Listed for its special historic interest as the Bala Theological College, originally founded in 1837, and of great significance for the continuence and development of C19 Methodism in Wales.

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Statue of Lewis Edwards at Coleg Bala
    Located immediately in front of Coleg Bala.
  • II Bodiwan
    Set back slightly from the road at the junction with Craig-y-Fron, opposite Bala College.
  • II Ice House at Rhiwlas
    Approximatly half way along the old Rhiwlas Hall drive, set into a wooded slope some 20m above the River Dee.
  • II Christ Church
    Set within its own rubble-walled churchyard containing many C19 gravestones and monuments.
  • II* Rosedale, Including Forecourt Walls & Railings
    Set back behind a walled and railed forecourt; belonging to terrace of 8.
  • II* Derlwyn
    Set back behind a walled and railed forecourt; belonging to terrace of 8.
  • II* Ronville
    Set back behind a walled and railed forecourt; belonging to terrace of 8.
  • II* Islwyn
    Set back behind a walled and railed forecourt; belonging to terrace of 8.

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