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Latitude: 51.6318 / 51°37'54"N
Longitude: -3.7421 / 3°44'31"W
OS Eastings: 279523
OS Northings: 193996
OS Grid: SS795939
Mapcode National: GBR H5.8HGC
Mapcode Global: VH5GW.372W
Entry Name: Bethel Chapel
Listing Date: 21 March 2000
Last Amended: 21 March 2000
Source ID: 23021
Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary
Location: The chapel faces E at the corner of Aqueduct Terrace. Set within a rubble stone enclosure wall with square gate piers to entrance, iron gates and flanking railings.
County: Neath Port Talbot
Town: Port Talbot
Community: Cwmavon (Cwmafan)
Built-Up Area: Pontrhydyfen
Traditional County: Glamorgan
Dated 1903 and replacing an earlier chapel of 1850. (A boundary wall appears to incorporate remains of the earlier chapel.) The style is classical, with parapet out of proportion to the main elevation. A memorial service was held here for Richard Burton in 1984.
Three-bay 2-storey end-entry facade constructed of grey coursed rock-faced stone with prominent red sandstone dressings. The entrance facade has an over-high square-headed attic and is divided into 3 bays by red sandstone pilasters which rise off a sill band forming the coping to a high 2-tier plinth. Moulded string course between tiers above which are 6 foundation stones. The lower tier is battered. The pilasters have moulded bases and very large Corinthian capitals which support a lintel, above which is a wide moulded band. The outer pilasters rise to the top of the attic frieze which has a moulded red sandstone coping. In the centre of the frieze is a red sandstone tablet with arched head reading 'Bethel'. The inscription states that the chapel was built in 1850 and rebuilt in 1903.
Between the central pilasters is a heavily moulded round-headed doorway, the jambs partly obscured by the pilasters. The arch rises off imposts with foliage in high relief. It contains double panelled wooden doors and an overlight with radial glazing, set back. The windows are in a similar style; narrow moulded arches rise off square jambs with moulded bases and foliate imposts. One window to each bay and storey, a smaller window above the door. Each has 2 lights, those to the lower storey with a horizontal glazing bar, and overlights with radial glazing.
The sides and rear are of rubble stone with large quoins under a pitched slate roof with boarded eaves. Lean-to to rear. Two-storey 4-window side walls. Each window has 4 panes and an overlight in a red brick surround with segmental head. The lintel of the upper R window is replaced in concrete. The rear lean-to has a 6-over-6-pane sash window to the S side and 2 similar windows to the rear, one partially boarded over. To the L of the lean-to is a small corrugated tin porch containing a boarded door. Side stack to N side and yellow brick window surrounds.
Vestibule with straight stair to each side leading to gallery. Two panelled doors lead into the chapel with a window between. Three-sided U-shaped gallery supported on fluted cast iron columns with oversized foliate capitals. Bellied gallery front of open ironwork on a wooden plinth supported on brackets with horizontal bands. The ironwork consists of scrollwork with Tudor flowers and a lattice frieze along the base. Five rows of pews to gallery. Three banks of planked pews below with curved bench ends; planked wainscot. To the front is a blind moulded arch; the jambs have recessed panels lined with egg and dart moulding and foliate bosses. Capitals with dentils, and a hollow-moulded round arch with egg and dart and foliate friezes, and a scrolled keystone with foliate decoration. Wooden ceiling with diagonal planking and 2 decorated plaster ceiling roses. In front is a wide pulpit, the central section advanced, with a straight ironwork screen above wooden panelling. The open ironwork is in the same style as the gallery. Around the pulpit is the set fawr with thin widely-spaced fluted balusters and a moulded hand rail. Turned balusters to angles with finials. Two panelled doors flanking the pulpit lead to the vestry which is open to the roof with a dado and wainscot panelling.
Listed for its unusual classical style and fine interior. The over-large features, such as the capitals, impart special character to the building.
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