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Penuel Baptist Chapel and attached schoolroom

A Grade II Listed Building in Carmarthen, Carmarthenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.8599 / 51°51'35"N

Longitude: -4.2992 / 4°17'57"W

OS Eastings: 241766

OS Northings: 220418

OS Grid: SN417204

Mapcode National: GBR DG.T47Q

Mapcode Global: VH3LH.FJJ2

Entry Name: Penuel Baptist Chapel and attached schoolroom

Listing Date: 2 September 1999

Last Amended: 28 November 2003

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 22274

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Situated E of the centre of Carmarthen in Priory Street, approximately 120m S of its junction with Oak Lane. Set back from the street line.

County: Carmarthenshire

Town: Carmarthen

Community: Carmarthen

Traditional County: Carmarthenshire

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Carmarthen

History

Baptist chapel first built 1786, enlarged 1797, rebuilt 1817, rebuilt 1851-2 and again in 1909-10, by J.H. Morgan. Schoolroom built 1886 for £1,200 by George Morgan.
The cause was founded in 1757 by Stephen Davies and the first chapel was in Old Chapel Yard opposite. In 1786 the present site was bought from John Morgan Sr of the tin works. The Rev. Joshua Watkins, minister 1794-1841 was a notable pastor, and printer in the town, and during his time the congregation with others known as General Baptists was expelled from the Baptist Association (1799-1805) for Unitarian leanings. His predecessor The Rev M.J. Rhys emigrated to America in 1794 and may have been the first European to cross the continent.

Exterior

Chapel, painted roughcast and stucco with slate roof. Two-storey front with broad coped and shouldered gable, with finial, and keyed roundel in gable. Moulded stringcourse over each floor. Broad channelled outer piers to ground floor altered to paired channelled piers on first floor with minimal entablature linking each pair, the stringcourse as cornice and block above under gable shoulder. Two arched windows at first floor with early C20 detail, timber tracery, stucco surrounds with pilaster jambs, and arched shouldered moulded cornices. Windows are 3-light variants on Palladian with top lights. Centre eared plaque. Ground floor has 2 narrow windows in eared architraves and centre doorcase with shouldered architrave, cornice and triple key, broken forward from channelled outer piers. Double panelled doors and rectangular overlight. Side walls have similar arched windows each floor and 2 to end wall first floor.

Schoolroom of 1886 at rear right corner, squared rock-faced rubble with 2 bands at sill and window impost level. Slate roof. Single storey, 4-window, with tall arched windows. Three-light outer windows, 2 2-light windows between, arched head to each light with terracotta hoods following line of window heads. Black brick jambs. Three-light windows have taller blank centre light with stilted arch rising under an eaves gable, one with brick chimney. Marginal glazing bars and roundel glazing in heads. Black brick plinth, bands, interrupted for windows, have red terracotta rope-mould between 2 courses of black brick. End wall has bands continued, sill band stepped up under large Romanesque arched window with big roundel over 4 arched lights. Black brick jambs and shafts. Red terracotta arched hood.

Interior

Broad lofty interior with exceptionally well-detailed woodwork of 1909-10 said to be in Canadian redwood. Galleried on 4 sides with end organ loft, deep raked side and rear galleries. Timber square corniced piers under gallery in 3 bays (paired piers each end) and aisled effect created by tall white-painted corniced piers carrying longitudinal 3-bay arcade of basket-arches (flat with curved ends), the centre bay double width. Similar arch across organ loft with matching pilasters, and coved ribbed ceiling within.
Gallery front projects with paired horizontal brackets over piers and panelled underside. Intricate frontal of vertical panels each with 3 turned balusters, backed to 3/4 height with moulded rail, open above. Pilasters between with caps at 3/4 height, labels above, under moulded top rail. Panelled broader pilasters corresponding to ground floor piers. Similar quarter-round projecting sections in angles to give access to organ-loft.
Pews in 2 blocks with centre and outer aisles, outer half of each block canted. Inward-facing pews each side of pulpit. Bench ends with turned baluster and flat tops. Simpler gallery pews, curved at rear corners. Set fawr formed by front pews, centre table in front of pulpit with open small panels to top rails. Pulpit has short flight of steps up from each side, fielded panel to front with open quarter-circle arch over, under ramped rail. Canted-sided pulpit front, 1-3-1 bays, fielded panels below, open bays above with column shafts, shallow arched heads and panelled pilasters with fluting above at outer angles. Large centre bookrest. Fine large free classical pulpit back against organ gallery, 1-3-1 bays, panelled, the centre raised with semi-circular pediment, blind radiating bars, and concave curved pieces flanking. Large organ in loft with panelled classical base under pipe-front of unpainted pipes.
Rear lobby with Art Nouveau leaded and coloured glass 1-3-1 light with top-lights, each side of centre recessed half-glazed doors.
Ceiling is flat with boarded centre and plastered large panels behind aisles.
Schoolroom has open roof trusses, gallery at one end with long pierced cast-iron panels. Gallery now blocked by C20 boarding.

Reasons for Listing

Included as a chapel of early origins with exceptional early C20 interior, unusual for the 2-storey arcades.

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