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Former Presbyterian College

A Grade II Listed Building in Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.8572 / 51°51'26"N

Longitude: -4.3008 / 4°18'3"W

OS Eastings: 241645

OS Northings: 220131

OS Grid: SN416201

Mapcode National: GBR DG.T3W9

Mapcode Global: VH3LH.DLN3

Entry Name: Former Presbyterian College

Listing Date: 19 May 1981

Last Amended: 28 November 2003

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 9515

Building Class: Education

Location: Situated roughly midway along The Parade.

County: Carmarthenshire

Community: Carmarthen

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire

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Carmarthen

History

Former Welsh Academy or Presbyterian College built in 1840. It was founded in the later C17 to train students for the Nonconformist ministry, specifically for the Independent denomination. Sited first at Brynllywarch, then Abergavenny, it came to Carmarthen c1704, with premises in Priory Street, then in Lammas Street, associated with Heol Awst chapel from its building in 1726. But standards fell and in 1733 the Presbyterian Board in London amalgamated the academy with a school near Hay. In 1743 it returned to Heol Awst, in 1779 after another decline it moved to Rhydygors mansion, in 1785 to Swansea, and in 1796 to Heol Awst again. The students were generally some dozen in number, and the ministers at Heol Awst also taught private pupils. From 1838 the college revived and took a Unitarian character, following Dr David Lloyd, founder of the Unitarian chapel in Carmarthen, principal from 1838. The college was affiliated to the new University of London in 1842, the first institution in Wales to offer training for a university degree, and then became known as the Presbyterian College, having though no connection to the Presbyterian church.
It was open to students of all denominations, and educated many leading figures including Thomas Charles, Griffith Jones, Watkin Williams, David Davies, David Peter and Elfed Lewis among ministers, also Sir John Russell, chemist and David Williams polemicist. George Morgan, architect, designed extensions in 1894.
It became purely theological in 1896, affiliated to the University of Wales, but in 1959 the Independent tutors and students amalgamated with the Brecon College in a congregational College at Swansea and the Presbyterian Board closed the college in 1963. After a period as offices re-used as Carmarthen Evangelical Church.
The 2 right bays and the E side are the original, the centre porch and 2 left bays being added to match in 1894.

Exterior

Former college now church premises with accommodation above. Painted stucco, Tudor style, with slate roofs. Five bays with coped stepped-shouldered gables to 4 outer bays and recessed crenellated centre bay with porch. Right 2-bay part is original 1840 building, 2-storey with lancet vents in gables and big square headed chamfered windows to both floors, with C20 3-light glazing with pointed tracery in top-lights. Slightly raised rusticated surrounds and moulded hoodmoulds. Vent in right gable is plain, whereas adjoining one is hoodmoulded, first floor right window has a stepped hoodmould, the others are flat.
Centre and left 2 bays are of 1894. Centre has string course under battlements and long porch out to street line with coped shouldered gable, moulded coping and ball finial, and tall doorway with moulding to plinth each side. Doorway is square-headed, moulded and stopped above plinth, with stepped hoodmould over. Segmental-pointed door-frame with glazed spandrels and 2 ogee-traceried top-lights. Double doors.
The 2 left bays are similar in general form, but single-storey with thicker detail. Two louvred vents with stepped hoodmoulds, and 2 big 3-light mullion-and-transom timber windows with ogee tracery to top lights, rusticated surrounds and hoodmoulds stepped over small shields.
E side wall (main entry of 1840 building) has 2 wall face rendered stacks and a finely detailed ashlar oriel that breaks through the close eaves. Oriel is canted with cusped heads to lights, narrower side lights, battlements and canted hipped lead-clad small roof behind. Moulded square panels below each light, over deep cornice with rounded stepped diminishing mouldings below. Plain doorway beneath with C20 door and 12-pane sash to right.

Interior

Within 1894 porch steep flight of steps up to half-glazed double doors into hall with single flight stair. Big panelled newels with tall finials, turned balusters and closed panelled string. Landing gives access to upper floor of 1840 range, from which stair was removed. Encaustic tiles to hall floor, big 6-panel back door.
The plain C19 fireplaces to 2 ground floor rooms of 1840 range, now united as chapel, much altered. Some plain 6-panel doors, one to a cellar. Boarded first floor panelled ceilings with moulded ribs and bosses mentioned in 1981.
1894 W room presumably former classroom has ceiling in deep panels and 2 fireplaces with cambered-headed surrounds on N wall. Currently also in use as chapel with altered or new E gallery.

Reasons for Listing

Included as an unusual Tudor Gothic early Victorian building of historical importance in the history of further education in Wales.

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