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Latitude: 51.7758 / 51°46'32"N
Longitude: -3.1656 / 3°9'55"W
OS Eastings: 319680
OS Northings: 209214
OS Grid: SO196092
Mapcode National: GBR YZ.Z9FV
Mapcode Global: VH6CW.2MVJ
Entry Name: Berea United Reformed Chapel, including gates and railings
Listing Date: 30 September 1999
Last Amended: 30 September 1999
Source ID: 22381
Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Location: Located within small cul-de-sac (Berea Cottages) off W side of A467 Brynmawr-Abertillery road. Steep hillside site.
County: Blaenau Gwent
Community: Nantyglo and Blaina (Nantyglo a Blaenau)
Community: Nantyglo and Blaina
Built-Up Area: Nantyglo
Traditional County: Monmouthshire
Built 1850-53 for the Welsh Congregationalists. The designer is unknown: some other Welsh Congregational chapels in the area have similar detail, especially Bethesda, Brynmawr, which has a similar facade arrangement and gallery detail. Structural ties and plates added 1878-80. Improvements in 1892, probably including the boarded ceiling. Unusually, the rear basement originally formed two small dwellings, with evidence of fireplaces still apparent. One cottage was the birthplace of Mostyn Thomas, a noted American Baritone.
Construction of ironstone rubble. Thin ashlar terminating pilasters. Modern tiled roof. Three-bay gabled facade with round-arched windows to both storeys; ashlar voussoirs and dressed stone sills. Central round-arched door: paired doors with tall pointed-arched panels; large fanlight with intersecting glazing. 16-pane sash to each side of door plus intersecting glazing to head. Upper windows to outer bays have 8/12 sashes with intersecting bars above. Central upper window is larger, with 15/15 pane glazing plus intersecting bars. Red granite plaque to gable reads: ‘Berea Capel Annibynwyr Cwmraig. Adeiladwyd 1850’ Four bay sides with rectangular windows to both storeys: left side is rendered and has basement windows towards rear. Large iron tie-plates to elevations, resulting from structural works in 1878-80. Rear lean-to.
Small forecourt with low rubble walls on which is set cast-iron rails with spear finials. Central paired iron gates with rock-faced stone piers; dressed stone shaped copings.
Gallery around three sides, with deeply canted angles, plain iron posts. Panels have simple four-centred inset mouldings, applied grained finish; deep plastered cove. Gallery benches with high railed backs. Box pews with doors: ground floor pews face across middle rank. Pulpit has concave centre, the panelling matching the gallery: side bays with turned balusters, probably added slightly later. Entrance lobby with marginally-paned window. The rear end of the chapel is screened off to form schoolrooms, one to each floor: the boarded partition cuts across the gallery fronts and allows borrowed light via a pair of tall round-arched windows behind the pulpit, which have intersecting glazing: as the boarded ceiling was probably added in 1892, the partition was perhaps added after this date, as it cuts across the pattern of ribs. The tall windows may have been relocated from the exterior rear wall. Plain schoolrooms. Basement with row of plain iron columns and evidence of former fireplace.
Listed as a well-preserved mid C19 chapel. Berea is very characteristic of the move away from long-fronted chapels to gabled facades from c. 1840: whereas many such chapels were later altered or refitted, Berea has retained much of its original detail. The chapel is also unusual for incorporating two basement dwellings, no doubt indicative of the growth after 1840 of Blaina as an ironworks town.
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