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Bethany Chapel

A Grade II Listed Building in Port Talbot, Neath Port Talbot

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.5959 / 51°35'45"N

Longitude: -3.7826 / 3°46'57"W

OS Eastings: 276618

OS Northings: 190066

OS Grid: SS766900

Mapcode National: GBR H3.BR86

Mapcode Global: VH5H1.D43X

Entry Name: Bethany Chapel

Listing Date: 28 April 2000

Last Amended: 28 April 2000

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 23252

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: In a prominent position in the centre of Port Talbot. The square is at the junction of Station Road and Forge Road.

County: Neath Port Talbot

Town: Port Talbot

Community: Port Talbot

Community: Port Talbot

Built-Up Area: Port Talbot

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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Port Talbot

History

By John Cound, architect, and David Jenkins, contractor, at a cost of £1,700. The foundation stone was laid on 14th August 1879 by Sir H H Vivian. The chapel was built in fields to the E of Aberavon which were leased from Christopher Rice Mansel Talbot of Margam Park. Port Talbot developed around it during the early years of the C20. The rear was extended and a vestry added, possibly at this time. This work had been completed by 1903 when a new organ was installed. In the later C20, the schoolroom was used as the Aberavon branch library.

Exterior

Two-storey chapel over semi-basement schoolroom with 3-bay gable end facade. The front is of snecked rock-faced stone with sandstone dressings, under a slate roof with wide boarded eaves. The entrance is reached by 2 tiers of wide stone steps bounded by snecked stone side walls with heavily moulded copings. These walls continue at a lower level and enclose a small forecourt. They support cast iron railings with fleur-de-lis finials, between which are square cast iron piers and double gates with fleur-de-lis finials and scrolled dog rails. Central round arched front doorway with moulded imposts and a small keystone. Double panelled doors with overlight with radial glazing. Flanking round arched windows to match, with corbelled sills, containing 6-pane windows with margin glazing. String course to 1st floor above which is a pair of round-headed windows to the centre, flanked by single windows. The dressings are as below, but without the keystones. Moulded cornice to gable, and roundel in gable apex bearing an inscription 'Bethany AD 1879', within which are 4 small circles. A wide dressed stone stringcourse defines the basement storey. Flanking the main steps are narrower steps leading down to segmental headed doorways with panelled doors. The stringcourse above the R door contains a foundation stone which reads 'This stone was laid by H H Vivian Esq. MP, August 14th 1879'.

The chapel was extended to the rear with the addition of 1 bay and a vestry. The quoins of the original rear end are visible in the side walls at basement level. Original basement walls of rubble stone containing 4 windows, all 9-pane with overlights and segmental heads. One bay addition to L with small segmental-headed window in yellow brick surround. The chapel above the basement is rendered to each side and 5-window. The windows are within full-height, slightly raised surrounds and are 9-pane with flat heads and stone sills. Those to the ground floor are below moulded round arches, the tympana with giant fluted keystones which continue down to the window heads.

The vestry to the rear is of rubble stone with a hipped slate roof and yellow brick quoins. Openings with segmental heads and yellow brick surrounds. The N side is 1-window, with aligned 4-pane sashes to the chapel and basement. Further window to L of basement, to the R of which are double panelled doors leading into vestry. Small light in heavy surround, offset to R above. The S side has an irregular arrangement of similar windows, 2 windows over a single window to R and 2 small lights to L. Single storey flat-roofed lean-to against basement. The rear of the vestry has a central 4-pane sash in yellow-brick surround, above an opening blocked with yellow brick.

Interior

Inside the vestibule are half-lit double doors to each side leading to the gallery stairs. Straight ahead is a wide 3-light window, the central light containing a 4-pane sash, all with Art Noveau glass. Flanking planked doors lead into the chapel. Three-sided wood panelled gallery supported on narrow cast iron fluted columns with scrolled and foliate capitals. The gallery front is corbelled and has panels with cut away angles and geometrical motifs. Ironwork frieze of open circles beneath front gallery windows. Square headed full-height organ chamber to E end within timber surround, consisting of pilasters, high scrolled capitals, a moulded dentilled lintel and scrolled braces to the upper angles. Panelled front to organ with blind lancets, flanked by panelled doors. Panelled reredos set forward below, including a round blind arch on lintels behind the pulpit, at the top of which is balustrading incorporating gilded anthemion motifs. Pulpit with straight front and chamfered angles, with balustrading above, as reredos. Dog-leg stairs to either side. The Set Fawr has chamfered angles and is of solid pale-coloured wood. It is a war memorial dated 1947. Three tiers of planked pews with carved bench ends. Boarded and ribbed timber ceiling and metal tie beams. One vent retains fretwork.

The vestry is open-plan. On the storey above is a minister's room, elders' room and cloakrooms, all with panelled doors and moulded surrounds. A staircase on the W side with square balusters leads up to the gallery. The former schoolroom beneath the chapel is open with 4-bay arcades to each side, divided by plain cast iron columns.

Reasons for Listing

Listed as a well preserved chapel of its period, the arrangement of basement schoolroom is unusual. The chapel forms the focal point in the centre of Port Talbot.

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