• CAPEL MAIR WELSH CONGREGATIONAL CHAPEL

    by  • June 9, 2013 • Cardigan, Ceredigion, Chapel, Modern, Period, Post-Medieval, Site Type • 2 Comments

    History:

    Rev. Daniel Davies, Minister of Capel Mair 1812-65 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Rev. Daniel Davies, Minister of Capel Mair 1812-65 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    The chapel was founded in 1803, replacing a meeting room in a house on Pwllhai used from 1792 by Rev. John Phillips of Moylegrove, and the congregation that met in a loft at No. 39 St. Mary Street. The land was given by David Davies, merchant. Rev. Daniel Davies, the first Minister here from 1803-65, was a leading light in the building of the chapel, which was not completed and paid for until 1812. On 4th & 5th June 1817 a large Cymanfa was held here. In 1821-56 Rev. Daniel Davies also acted as minister of Capel Isaf, Llechryd. On 7th February 1828 Mary Davies, wife of Rev. Daniel Davies, died. At the time, the Rev. Daniel Davies was building a new chapel, Capel Degwel, at St. Dogmaels. In 1830 David Owen and William Miles were ordained Deacons.

    Capel Mair was rebuilt in 1831-32 and a document of that date was signed by: William Finch, shopkeeper and Alderman; Daniel Davies, Minister; David Owen, Deacon; George Thomas, Deacon; David Jones, weaver; William Jenkins, mason, Blaenbarthen, Llangoedmor; and John Davies, joiner, of the ‘Plough’, Pendre. Rev. Daniel Davies oversaw the work. The building is marked on J. Wood’s 1834 map as a “Meeting House”. In 1836 the South West Wales Congregationalists held their annual meeting here. In 1836-37 the congregation assisted with the establishment of Hope English Congregational Chapel, Carrier’s Lane.

    In 1840 Abraham Morgan; William Jones, carpenter; and Thomas Griffiths, draper, became Deacons. In late 1841 the 21-year-old daughter of Rev. Daniel Davies, died. In 1844 fixed seats were placed below the gallery for the first time. In 1851 there were 300 members and 126 scholars attending in the morning and 390 in the evening on a Sunday. Circa 1852 Owen Picton Davies, clothier and David Beynon Evans, became Deacons. On 28th June 1854 David Owen, Deacon, died aged 52. In 1855 William Miles retired as Deacon. In September 1859 there were 320 members, 190 Sunday School members and 489 members and hearers at the chapel. In 1863 the pulpit was replaced. In 1864 Rev. Daniel Davies, 84, retired from his other position as Minister of Capel Degwel in St. Dogmaels. Rev. William Rees, an outspoken temperance campaigner from Capel Isaf, Llechryd, later claimed that “…his long ministry was a marriage of Bible and beer…” and claimed that Rev. Rees adjourned to the ale-house after every sermon.

    Old Capel Mair circa 1869 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Old Capel Mair circa 1869 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    On 8th January 1865 William Davies preached here for the first time. He was ordained the new Minister on 20th April 1865 and remained until 1874. In 1865 Thomas Jenkins and eleven members left in order to found Ffynnonbedr Congregational Chapel in Ferwig. On 18th January 1867 former Minister Rev. Daniel Davies, died. On 26th February 1869 extensions were proposed for the chapel and tenders were sought for conducting the work. On 22nd May 1869 demolition began, prior to a complete rebuild which commenced on 24th May 1869. On 3rd June 1869 a bottle was found in the wall, which contained a parchment with the early history of the chapel upon it. Involved with the rebuilding were J. R. Daniel, carpenter, St. Mary Street, and D. Davies. The new building, designed to seat 700, was completed on 1st July 1870. It had been built by J. R. Daniel, a Deacon of the chapel and contractor, at a cost of £1400, to designs by Rev. T. Thomas of Llandore a. k. a. “Thomas Glandwr”. An opening ceremony for the new building was held on 21st September 1870. On 23rd September 1870 the following description appeared in the ‘Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser‘:

    The front and side walls the height of the gallery are entirely new, the front being built of limestone on the rock principle, with dressings of Bath stone from the Box Ground Quarries, including the plinth course, jambs of entrance door, &c. The chapel, the extreme dimensions of which are 61 feet in length by 41 feet wide, is approached from the street by wide steps of Kilgerran stone, the interior being lighted by 13 windows – four in each side, three in the front and two behind the platform – the sills of which are also of Kilgerran stone, 4 ½ inches thick. The entrance lobby is paved with encaustic tiles of a neat design, and has two folding doors opening into the chapel, which are covered with crimson baize, with panels formed of gilt moulding. The gallery has been enlarged and at the entrance end is somewhat circular in its construction; the whole of the fronts being framed, panelled and moulded, divided by framed and panelled projecting pilasters with their caps and plinth moulds, terminating at the bottom with a moulded and blocked cornice, also with a moulded cornice at the top capped with mahogany. The pews are open with solid ends, the backs having a fall of two inches from the height of the seats to the capping, which is of mahogany french polished. The depth of the pews downstairs is 2ft 10 in, and in the gallery 2 ft 6 in; each set is numbered on white enamelled plate. The iron columns supporting the gallery are painted in pale green and buff. The orthodox pulpit is not introduced, but in its place a very handsome mahogany platform, easily seen from all parts of the building, and upon which is placed the reading desk. The wall at the back of the platform is richly embellished with ornamental moulded pillars, the space between which is neatly panelled. The ceiling has moulded cornices and pendant moulds, with handsome centre flower surrounded with enriched soffit and mouldings. The ventilation has been well provided for, being fully secured by ventilators placed in the ceiling covered with perforated zinc, and having shutters which can be opened from the gallery floor by means of cranks and twisted wire. The interior has been very handsomely finished and has a most pleasing appearance, the wall between the gas brackets being panelled, with sunken borders, and the whole painted in rich, but harmonious and well blended colours. The gas arrangements are on a very liberal scale; the gallery is lit by a splendid star gasolier pendant from the centre flower of the ceiling, containing 36 lights; the downstairs being lighted by very neat three-light brackets from the walls under the gallery, a very handsome hall lamp is also suspended in the entrance lobby.

    Opening the new Capel Mair in 1870 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Opening the new Capel Mair in 1870 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    The new chapel has cost about £1400, exclusive of the old materials…The chapel is calculated to seat between 700 and 800 persons. The architect is the Rev. Thomas Thomas, Glandwr, near Swansea; and the contractor Mr. J. R. Daniel, St. Mary-street, Cardigan, under whose personal supervision the work has been carried out, and who deserves the highest praise for the artistic and substantial manner in which the whole has been completed…”

    Ca.1871 the following was written:

    “…In 1792 there was an old lady, a member of Penrhiwgaled, named Esther Phillips, came to live in this town and as there was no chapel of her denomination she went to Trewyddel to worship, and was given a promise by Mr John Phillips that he would come and preach in her house. Pwllhai was a small house. Soon Mr Phillips was preaching there fortnightly fairly regularly and Mr Benjamin Hughes, Cilgerran, was preaching there occasionally. Once in a while Mr B Evans, Trewen and Dr Phillips, Neuaddlwyd also came to preach. Some of the local inhabitants were won over to seek religion as a result, they went to Trewyddel to be confirmed as there was no chapel here. In time Esther Phillips house became too small and an old storehouse near the Angel hotel was acquired and adapted for worship. The place was soon full and a church was formed there as a branch of Trewyddel. For some time after the formation of the church the deacons from Trewyddel came here on Communion Sundays to carry the elements, it was probably thought that no one from the new church had the experience to be made a Deacon. Things continued like this while Mr Phillips remained their minister. They felt that the cost of continuing as they were was too high, as they were not a rich congregation, and that it would be better for them to have a purpose built chapel somewhere convenient. Mr David Davies, a responsible and well off businessman in the town, gave a piece of land on Heol Mair (Mary Street) for sixpence a year, without limit, to build a chapel. The land was secured to the Independents while there was water in the River Teify. Building began in 1803, but as the people were few and also poor, the minister Mr Phillips, Trewyddel, due to debility and many other commitments, unable to help. It can be said that the walls were built in sad conditions. After many problems the roof was eventually put on, and despite the fact it had no gallery and few seats the debt was already £500. To make matters worse there was discord among the members regarding some of the building. People left one by one until it was on the edge of tragedy. In 1812 Mr Daniel Davies, Rheycae, originally a member of Trewyddel, became a supporting preacher to Mr Phillips in his ministry. His coming breathed new life into the cause in the town, the chapel was still unfinished and the debt remained.

    With Mr Davies’ efforts the debt was paid fairly soon, and the chapel was fitted with a gallery and seats. From then on the cause did well. In 1831 the old chapel was demolished and a handsome new chapel was built in its place, measuring 48 x 36 feet with an extensive gallery. This was paid for quite soon and it was overfull with members and listeners. The increase in the town was all the more strange as Llechryd and Tyrhos had grown under the ministry of Mr Davies and his helpers, as well as the formation of a new church at Llandudoch, discouraging the country people from swelling the numbers in the town. Things continued to go well until Mr Davies became elderly and he encouraged the church to find its own minister, but promised to back them in any way he could. He was keen to see a minister settle here in order to prevent any problems and both he and the church sent a call to Mr William Davies, a member at Trelech and a student at Brecon. His ordination services were held on April 19th and 20th, 1865. The first evening sermons were given by Messrs W. E. Jones, New Quay, and T. Phillips Horeb. Next day at 10 Mr O. Thomas, Brynmair, preached on the nature of a church, the questions were asked and the ordination prayer given by Mr D. Davies, the old minister; a sermon on the duty of a minister given by Mr I. Williams, Trelech, and on the duty of a church by Mr W. Evans, Aberaeron. At 2 in the afternoon Messrs D Jones. Penygroes, and D. Jones, Trewen; in the evening sermons were given by Messrs G Williams, Trewyddel, and E. Lewis, Brynberian. This was  the first ordination for the Independent denomination in this town as Mr Daniel Davies was already ordained before he came here. The old minister was very supportive until the end of his life in 1867. In 1868 the church decided to build a bigger and better chapel than the one built in 1831, and on the 20th of May, 1869 the old house was pulled down and the new one started according to the plans of Mr Thomas, Glandwr, by Mr J R Daniel, Cardigan. The work was completed and it was opened on September 21st and 22nd, 1870. Those who officiated were:- Messrs I. Williams, Penygroes; S. Evans, Hebron; E. Lewis, Brynberian; J. G. Morris, Trefdraeth; T. Phillips, Horeb; J. Davies, Gedeon; J. Davies, Glynarthen; T. Davies, Llanelli; D. Jones, B.A., Merthyr; I. Williams, Trelech; T. Thomas, Glandwr, and Dr. W. Rees, Liverpool. The cost was £1,500, by the end of the opening services £900 had been collected. This is one of the most beautiful chapels in the Principality, measuring 61 x 41 feet, and is filled by a cheerful congregation. Things are so different here now compared to when the first chapel was built. The current membership 360, we hope that Mr Davies has a long and useful life ahead of him like his illustrious predecessor. The Western Festival was held here in 1817, and it was very successful. The influence of the atmosphere at this festival chased out all the unpleasant things, and it was the beginning of a strong revival here. A second festival was held here in 1836 which was also very successful.
    There have been many characters associated with this cause from time to time, and godly women have distinguished themselves from the beginning. The names of Esther Phillips, Anne James, Trefigan-lodge; Mally William Evan, Betty Finch, Bet Davies, Lleine, and the holy old lady of Clun, are respected and loved to this day, and the day of judgement will tell of their goodness. The following names are remembered with respect: George Thomas, William Finch, Shon, Rhosfach, Shon of Felin-y-dyffryn; Jonah, Rhoshill; David Beynon Eyans, Cadben David Timothy, and others.
    The following were raised to preach here:-

    • DAVID OWEN -ordained in Llechrydas a supporter to Mr. Davies – see Siloah, Pembrokeshhire.

    • HENRY JONES – Educated Brecon -ordained Painscastle, Radnorshire – minister at Kingswood, Gloucestershire.

    • WILLIAM EVANS -After finishing in Brecon, ordained in Cwmwysg and Trecastle where he remains.

    • JOHN BEYNON DAVIES – Educated Brecon now minister at Mount Stuart, Cardiff.

    • JOHN PICTON EVANS – After 2 years at Brecon his health deteriorated, advised to take a long voyage to Australia, where he is currently improving.

    The current Deacons are Messrs T. Griffiths, Draper; W. Jones, Pwllhai; A. Morgan, O. Picton Dayies, J. R. Daniel, and John Evans.

        1. BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

    Not fully extracted DANIEL DAVIES – born at Penywern Farm, Trewyddel, Pembrokeshire 1780…”

    In 1874 Rev. William Davies left for Llandeilo. In 1875 there was no Minister. On 6th May 1876 the following appeared in the ‘Aberystwyth Observer‘:

    CAPEL MAIR.—The Rev. T. J. Morris, Saron, has accepted the pastorate of the Welsh Congregational Church, at Capel Mair, which has been vacant since the removal of the Rev. William Davies to Llandilo, a period of nearly eighteen months…”

    Rev. T. J. Morris, Minister of Capel Mair 1876-1908 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Rev. T. J. Morris, Minister of Capel Mair 1876-1908 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    In 1876 Rev. Thomas J. Morris became the new Minister until 1908. New Deacons ordained in 1878 included David Morgan, Pendre; O. Beynon-Evans; William Davies, tailor. In 1884 a surprise religious census showed 212 attending in the morning and 289 in the evening. On 4th September 1884, 3 cottages on the corner of Finch’s Square/Feidrfair, formerly the property of the Priory estate, were sold to the chapel for £135. On 3rd and 4th March 1885 the Quarterly Meetings of the Cardiganshire Congregationalists were held here. In 1887 average Sunday attendance was estimated to be: – a.m. – 206; p.m. – 280. On 11th June 1887 the following appeared in the ‘Aberystwyth Observer‘:

    “…CARDIGAN. On Tuesday and Wednesday the great annual meetings, or Cymanfa, of the Congregational Association for the counties of Cardigan, Carmarthen, and Pembroke were held at Cardigan. The proceedings commenced with a conference, which was held in the Capel Mair at ten on Tuesday. The president for the year was the Rev S. Davies, Siloa, Llanelly, but in his absence the chair was occupied by the Rev E. Lewis, Brynberian. A paper was read on the Spirituality of Religion.” A resolution was proposed condemning the policy of the present Government and their Liberal Unionist supporters in refusing to grant Home Rule to Ireland, and expressing the continued confidence of the association in Mr. Gladstone, whom they trusted would yet be spared to see his Home Rule policy triumphant. An amendment to this proposal, so far as it approved of the measures of Mr. Gladstone for Home Rule, was moved by Mr. Henry R. Daniel, solicitor. The subject was very warmly discussed, but on being put to the vote the amendment was negatived by a considerable majority.—A resolution of satisfaction at the reception accorded Mr. Gladstone at Swansea was also passed.~ On Tuesday afternoon sermons were delivered to a large assembly in the Recreation Ground, where a convenient stage had been erected. In the evening sermons were preached in the Capel Mair Independent chapel, and also in the Baptist chapel. On Wednesday the open air services commenced at seven, and were continued at 10 a.m., two and six p.m. The weather at the early services on Wednesday was very wet, but during the day it turned out favourable, and immense congregations attended all the services, the town during the intervals being filled with visitors and strangers, who were hospitably entertained by the inhabitants…”

    In July 1888 an advertisement sought tenders for erecting a house and vestry, which were added here at a cost of £640. A row of cottages were demolished to accommodate the vestry. The new buildings were by D. Davies of Penrhiwllan. In June 1891 improvements at the corner of Finch Square and Feidrfair were completed, enclosing the ornamental garden with a wall and railings. On 22nd April 1893 a son was born at the vestry house to the wife of David Charles, cabinet-maker. Sadly the infant died on 8th May 1893. On 11th September 1894 a son was born to the wife of David Charles, cabinet-maker, of the Chapel House. A 75 year old man named Thomas Williams, of No. 28 Castle Street, died here during a service on 19th December 1897. On 22nd December 1898 John James Morris, the 20-year-old son of the Minister, died.

    On 13th August 1899 a presentation was made here to Rev. Thomas J. Morris & Mrs. Morris of an illuminated address and a purse of gold. In 1901 the following persons lived at the chapel house: David Charles, 40, cabinet-maker, bilingual; Mary Anne Charles, 32, his wife, bilingual; Albert Thomas Charles, 6, their son, Welsh-speaking; Arthur James Charles, 4, son, Welsh-speaking; and Gladys M. M. Charles, 1, daughter. All were born in Cardigan. On 17th December 1905 the chapel re-opened following a refit and redecoration, celebrating the centenary of the Welsh Congregational cause in Cardigan. The gallery front was altered during the refit. In 1906 the Deacons were Lewis Evan, O. Beynon Evans, Thomas Evans, David Jones, David Morris and Samuel Owen. Membership fell that year from 356 to 345. In 1907 the following persons became Deacons: Messrs. T. M. Daniel, St. Mary Street; D. Lloyd, Pendre; William Thomas, St. Mary Street; D. Ladd Davies, Priory Street; Captain Timothy, Penmorfa; and J. Thomas, Napier Street. On 13th December 1908 Rev. Thomas J. Morris, pastor for 32 years, died aged 62.

    Rev. T. Esger James, Minister of Capel Mair 1910-35 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Rev. T. Esger James, Minister of Capel Mair 1910-35 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    On May 9th-10th 1909 Rev. T. Esger James visited the chapel for the first time. The chapel installed a pipe organ at a cost of £709 that year. In 1910 David Miles occupied the chapel house. On24th February 1910 Rev. T. Esger James moved to Cardigan and became the Minister three days later, remaining so until 1935. A religious booklet called “Grisiau Sobrwydd” was published in 1910 by Rev. T. Esger James. A large concert and service was held here on 22nd May 1912. In January 1914 D. Jones, senior Deacon, died. On 17th November 1915 a son was born to Mr. & Mrs. Benjamin Lloyd of Ty Capel Mair. In 1917 Benjamin Lloyd, 40, occupied Capel Mair House. On 6th February 1921 ten new Deacons were ordained – William John Sambrook, Nantperchellan, St. Dogmaels; Albert Rees, Belmont; David Charles; James Jones, Y Bryn; Jacob Evans, Rhydyfuwch; Maurice Morris, Star Shop, High Street; James Thomas, ironmonger; William Thomas, blacksmith; David John Jones, Northgate Terrace; and Jonah Edwards. A new set of Communion Service was donated by Mr. & Mrs. T. M. Daniel, and Mrs. Daniel’s mother – Mrs. Cadle, on 3rd April 1921. On 9th July 1922 David Morris was presented with an illuminated address commemorating his 25 years of service as the chapel secretary. In 1927 Mr. & Mrs. Davies lived at the Chapel House. By 30th August 1929 the vestry had been renovated. On 23rd April 1932 Mrs. Anne Davies, caretaker of Capel Mair, was found dead at her home – the Chapel House, aged 52. Rev. T. Esger James retired in March 1935 and died on 16th August 1941. In 1934-55 Mr & Mrs John & Mary Lloyd lived at the Chapel House. On 21st February 1937 senior Deacon John Thomas of No. 1 Napier Street died here suddenly, just before the Sunday service. In April 1937 builder John Evans advertised for tenders for redecorating the chapel inside and out. In 1937 William Griffiths, William Morgan, Arthur H. Thomas and E. S. Watts became Deacons.

    Rev. D. J. Roberts, Minister of Capel Mair 1939-77 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Rev. D. J. Roberts, Minister of Capel Mair 1939-77 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    On 2nd February 1938 the chapel re-opened following a £700 refit. Rev. David J. Roberts became the Minister on February 7th 1939 and remained until 1977. In February 1940 D. W. Lloyd of the Chapel House was in the army. On 8th May 1945 a V. E. Day service was held here. In 1946 Mr. E. T. Davies, Dewi Evans and W. R. Jones became Deacons. In 1947 W. R. Jones became the Secretary. In April 1948 new trustees were appointed, including Jacob Evans, Rhydyfuwch; Maurice Morris, Star Shop, High Street; E. S. Watts, Pendre; and Alun James, High Street. A Christmas Concert was held here on December 22nd 1948 by the Cardigan & District Choral Society. In 1951 T. S. Davies, James Griffiths, John Lloyd, Sulwyn Phillips and Alun Rees became Deacons. In 1952 the Deacons were Rev. Daniel Adams, William Griffiths, William Morgan, Arthur H. Thomas, E. S. Watts, E. T. Davies, Dewi Evans, W. R. Jones, T. S. Davies, James Griffiths, John Lloyd, Silwyn Phillips and Alun Rees. There were then 399 members.

    In 1955 Rev. David J. Roberts wrote the book ‘Capel Mair Aberteifii’. On 20th November 1955 the chapel celebrated 150 years. On 19th October 1956 John Lloyd, a Deacon of the chapel and former occupant of Ty Capel Mair, died. In 1960 William Morgan ceased to be a Deacon. By 28th December 1962 the vestry had re-opened following renovations by the congregation members. In 1966 Arthur H. Thomas ceased to be a Deacon. In 1967 the following Deacons were appointed: D. Huw Emmanuel; D. Melvyn Davies; J. T. Griffiths; D. W. Lloyd; Gwilym Morris; Enoch Thomas and E. O. Watts. In 1970 E. S. Watts ceased to be a Deacon. In September 1972 Rev. David J. Roberts was elected President of the Congregationalists Union. In 1972 E. O. Watts ceased to be a Deacon. In March 1975 Thomas James Giles of the Chapel House died. In 1976 E. T. Davies ceased to be a Deacon. In February 1977 Rev. David J. Roberts retired and was succeeded by Rev. Ieuan Davies. In 1978 James Griffiths, J. T. Griffiths and Enoch Thomas ceased to be Deacons. In November 1979 the Manse at Napier Gardens was offered for sale. In 1980 the following Deacons were elected: Alun M. T. Davies; A. Trevor Edwards; Dafydd Wyn Jones; and D. S. Smith. That year membership fell from 391 to 375. In 1982 T. S. Davies ceased to be a Deacon. In 1982 membership rose from 375 to 379 and in 1983 to 381. At the end of April 1984 Rev. Ieuan Davies moved to Tabernacle, King’s Cross, London. On September 9th 1984 the chapel re-opened following renovations to the vestry and the organ and a general refurbishment. In 1984 Mrs. Heulwen Humphreys became a Deacon. In 1984 W. R. Jones ceased to be Secretary, but remained a Deacon. In 1984 membership fell from 381 to 374. In 1985 membership fell from 374 to 366. In 1986 membership rose from 366 to 369. In October 1986 Rev. J. Arwyn Phillips became the Minister following a short gap with no Minister. In 1987 Deacon Gwilym Morris died. In 1987 Delwyn Griffiths and Mrs. Annie Thomas became Deacons. In 1987 membership fell from 369 to 356. In 1988 W. R. Jones died and D. S. Smith ceased to be a Deacon. In 1988 membership fell from 356 to 344. In 1989 Sulwyn Phillips ceased to be a Deacon.

    Capel Mair in November 1998 (c) Glen K Johnson

    Capel Mair in November 1998 (c) Glen K Johnson

    In 1991 H. Alun Jones and W. Rees Jones became Deacons. In 1991 membership fell from 327 to 323. The chapel became a listed building in 1992. On 3rd June 1993 Rev. J. Arwyn Phillips died. Mrs. Heulwen Humphreys ceased to be a Deacon in 1993. In 1993 Mrs. Nellie James and Miss Beti Lloyd became Deacons. In 1994 Dewi Evans ceased to be a Deacon. In 1995 D. Melvin Davies and D. W. Lloyd ceased to be Deacons. In 1996 H. Alun Jones ceased to be a Deacon. In 1996 Miss Rhiannon A. Davies and Colin Phillips became Deacons. In January 1997 planning permission was sought and eventually obtained, for the installation of uPVC windows. That year former Minister Rev. David J. Roberts died. In January 1998 Rev. Irfon Roberts was installed as the Minister here and at Bethania Baptist Chapel in William Street – the two congregations now being linked. His official installation at Capel Mair took place on 15th April 1998. On 3rd October 1999 Myrddin Owen Phillips of Capel Mair House died aged 65. In 1999 membership fell from 248 to 239. In 2001 W. Rees Jones ceased to be a Deacon. The chapel house was redecorated and repaired in August 2002. Planning permission was refused for plastic windows to be installed in the chapel house at that time. In 2002 Mrs. Myra Evans became a Deacon. The chapel itself was repainted in 2003. M. O. Phillips lived at Ty Capel Mair at that time. In 2003 membership fell from 202 to 198. In 2006 Mrs. Meinir Jerman; Mrs. Jean Jones; Mr. Eifion Davies and Mr. Gareth Evans were appointed Deacons. In 2007 membership fell from 177 to 175.

    Description:

    The chapel was described by CADW in 1992:

    1870-1 Independent Chapel, by Reverend T Thomas of Llandore (Thomas Glandwr), with house and vestry behind added 1885 by D Davies, Penrhiwllan.

    Chapel has rock-faced blue lias pedimental front with stucco dressings and arch-headed windows. Long paired windows each side, triplet to centre, all with pilaster jambs, moulded heads and keystones. Centre window of triplet is wider. Sill band under side windows interrupted by stucco doorcase, arched with arched hood between panelled pedestals carried on console brackets. Pedestals have concave square finials. Paired arch-headed doors and crescent overlight. Banded slate roof, 2-storey coursed rubble side walls, 4 windows, the upper ones arched.

    Forecourt enclosed by cast-iron railings, of intersecting oval pattern.

    Adjoining 2-storey, 3-window house, stuccoed with cambered headed openings and centre bargeboard gable. Slate roof, brick end stacks. Vestry and Sunday School behind.

    Capel Mair pulpit and organ from the gallery, October 2010 (c) Glen K Johnson

    Capel Mair pulpit and organ from the gallery, October 2010 (c) Glen K Johnson

    INTERIOR – 3-sided gallery on painted fluted cast-iron columns, curved angles and front with panelled piers and painted pierced cast-iron panels, added 1905 and echoed in surround to set fawr. Ornate panelled timber pulpit with curving stair each side and canted front. Behind pulpit, broad tall organ arch with console keystone and hoodmould. Organ by Blackett and Howden of Newcastle upon Tyne has recessed keyboard under arch and Gothic detail to case. Plain flat boarded ceiling with centre rose. Margin glazed windows to entrance lobby with etched and stained glass in margins. Gallery and columns attractively painted in green, red and white.

    Old photographs show earlier chapel in painted stucco with hipped slate roof. Two storey, 4-window range with 12-pane sashes to first floor and small central plaque. Ground floor had two similar windows to middle bays, outer openings both boarded timber doors with rectangular overlights…”

    Sources:

    Map of Cardigan, J Wood 1834

    Slater’s Directory 1850; 1868

    The Religious Census of 1851

    Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser 1869-70; 1887; 1893-94; 1898-99; 1905; 1907-10; 1915; 1917

    1921-22; 1927; 1929-30; 1932; 1934-35; 1937-40; 1945; 1948; 1953; 1956; 1962; 1972; 1975; 1996-2000; 2002; 2005

    Post Office Directory 1871

    Kelly’s Directory of South Wales 1875; 1884; 1895; 1914; 1926

    Cardigan Observer 1884-85; 1888

    The Devil’s Keys, William Rees 1888

    O. S. Map 1887 etc.

    A Guide to Cardigan & District, William Edward Yerward James 1899

    Envelopes for Donations – Capel Mair 1900

    Census Returns 1901

    Ticket – Llythr Enmeradwnaeth, Capel Mair 15/06/1903

    Annual Report – Capel Mair 1906.; 1952; 1980; 1982; 1983; 1984; 1985; 1986; 1987; 1988; 1991; 1999; 2003; 2007

    List of Voters – Cardigan 25/07/1910

    Grisiau Sobrwydd, Rev T Esger James, Capel Mair 24/10/1910

    Ticket – Gymanfa Ganu, Capel Mair 1912

    Programme – Music Festival, Capel Mair 22/05/1912

    Hope Chapel Records

    Card – Young People’s Society, Capel Mair 20/10/1932

    Register of Electors 1938; 1955

    Poster – Christmas Concert, Cardigan & District Choral Society 22/12/1948

    Capel Mair, D J Roberts 1955

    Handbook – Welsh Independents, Cardigan & District, D J Roberts 1970

    Programme – Civic Service, Capel Mair 24/05/1987

    Cardigan & the Lower Teifi Valley in Old Photographs, Dyfed Cultural Services 1989

    The Gateway to Wales, W J Lewis 1990

    Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest – Cardigan, CADW 1992

    People of Seion, David Russell Barnes 1995

    The Phone Book 2003

    Capel Mair Aberteifi – Yr Ail Gyfrol o Hanes yr Eglwys 1955-2005, D Hywel E Roberts 2005.

    © Glen K Johnson 09/06/2013

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    2 Responses to CAPEL MAIR WELSH CONGREGATIONAL CHAPEL

    1. lin stone
      April 24, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      I KNOW MY GRAND PARENTS WENT TO CHURCH IN WALES, MY GRANDMOTHER WAS PRESENTED WITH A SILVER PLATED TEA SET ON IT SAYS FOR SERVICE AS ORGANIST AT CHAPEL MAIR CHURCH 1930,HER NAME WAS MARGARET JONES, SHE WAS MARRIED TO TERVOR JONES, THEY ALSO SANG FOR THE LONDON WELSH, I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW IF THIS WAS THE CHURCH ABOVE, AND ARE THERE ANY RECORDS TO SAY SO, MANY THATS LIN STONE.

      • glen
        May 8, 2014 at 7:20 pm

        Hi Lin. Thanks for the comment.The 1930 Annual Report for Capel Mair makes no mention of Margaret Jones as organist, or of a presentation. I can see no reference to a Trevor Jones for that year either, so I think it must be another chapel, although I will keep looking! Regards, Glen

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