In 1739 Rev. Howel Harries, Trefecca, and Rev. George Whitfield preached in the streets of Cardigan and one Rachel Evan, who lived here, converted to Methodism. Referring to Daniel Rowland’s earlier visit, Howel Harries wrote:
“…I hear that Dear Rowland had great power here in the Town to thunder dreadfully; and they received it meltingly…”
In 1740 Rachel Evans’ house became licensed as a Protestant Dissenters Meeting House – Rachel Evans being a Methodist. As the only such establishment in the town and the first Methodist Meeting House in the district, it was used by Nonconformists of all kinds. In 1760 Cardigan’s first Nonconformist Chapel was built, with Rachel Evans’ house becoming the chapel house. The property had stables, outhouses and a large garden. It was described as:
“…All that Messuage House Burgage and garden with the stable and appurtenances thereunto belonging late in the tenure or occupation of Rachel Evan, widow, and her under tenants, and now or late in the tenure or occupation of John Thomas and Rachel Evan and their undertenants, on part of which is erected a meeting House for the purpose of Divine Worship and Called and known by the name of the Methodist Meeting House…”
“…in the street called Heolmaenllwyd or Stone Street in the said Town of Cardigan and extending from the said street to the River Muldan…”
The chapel was named Tabernacle. Howell Harries described it in 1770 as “…a little preaching place…” It may not have been completed until 1763. In 1776 the chapel was rebuilt on a larger scale. In 1778 it was enacted:
“…that the Reverend Mr Jones of St Dogmaels, Messrs David Morris, Sampson Thomas, Enock Davies and William Lloyd be appointed Trustees for the Meeting House at Cardigan…”
A Cymanfa was held here in 1785. Ca 1790 John Thomas was a Deacon. In 1794 David Rogers was an officer of the chapel. Another large Cymanfa was held here in 1796. William Williams was a Deacon in 1796. The chapel was rebuilt again in 1807. In 1809 Rev. John Thomas came to live at the chapel house and remained there until his death in 1849. In 1811 Thomas Thomas became the Treasurer. That year the Methodists formally separated from the Anglican Church and 22 members left Tabernacle. In 1825 the chapel had 236 members – 176 women and 60 men. Most of the members were poor – the year’s collection amounted to just £60. The total paid to all the preachers who served the Cardigan Methodist Association was £9.9s.4d. that year. Expenses incurred by ministers at the monthly meeting were as follows:-
Pipes and tobacco – 9d.
Oats – 9s.
Cheese and Butter – 17s.
Malt and Hops – 18s.
Horses (stabling and fodder) – £1.13s.4d.
Preachers (six) – 18s.
In 1832 the chapel was rebuilt again. The old chapel was being pulled down on 1st June that year. In 1832 Jeremiah Howells, Deacon, died. In 1833 Deacon David Richards died. In 1834 the new chapel was shown on J. Wood’s map of Cardigan. In 1836 Thomas Thomas was succeeded as Treasurer by Griffith Edwards. In 1843 David Jenkins reportedly became the Treasurer, succeeding Griffith Edwards. In 1847 William Humphreys became the Treasurer, succeeding Griffith Edwards (?). On February 3rd 1849 Rev. John Thomas of Ty Capel died aged 89. He had been a Calvinistic Methodist preacher for 55 years. On 9th February 1849 the following appeared in the ‘Pembrokeshire Herald‘:
“…THE LATE REV. JOHN THOMAS, whose demise is announced in our obituary, was, for upwards of sixty years, a member and minister of the Calvinistic Methodist Society and was universally respected. He retired from the ministry in consequence of old age. He expired on the morning of the 3rd inst., at the great age of 84. His mortal remains were interred in Cardigan churchyard on Tuesday last, followed by ministers of all denominations, and the most respectable inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood. This was the largest funeral that has been at Cardigan for some time…”
Also in 1849 Thomas Thomas, it was claimed, ceased to be the Treasurer after 38 years (!). In 1851 Sunday attendance was 272 in the mornings and 401 in the evenings. Thomas Edwards of Bridge Street was an elder at that time. In 1853 Deacon Thomas Thomas died. In 1854 Rev. Robert Evans became the Minister until 1860. In 1856 Deacons Mr. Windsor and Mr. W. Humphreys died. Rev. Robert Roberts may also have been preaching here from about 1858. In 1859 Deacon William James of Tregibby died. In 1861 Anne Jenkins, 46, washer woman, probably lived in the chapel house. Rev. Robert Roberts moved to another calling in 1862. On 24thAugust 1862 Robert Evans, former Minister, died aged 74.
In 1864 alterations were conducted. Rev. William Mydrim Jones of Meidrym, Carmarthenshire, became the Pastor in June 1870. In 1870 Evan Elias, Deacon, died. In 1871 Eleanor Jenkins, 72, chapel cleaner lived here with Margaret Jenkins, 38, her daughter. A separate dwelling was the home of Stephen Williams, chemist’s apprentice. In 1871 Thomas Jenkins, Deacon, died. In 1873 Deacons Evan Evans; Griffith Edwards; Mr. Evans, Morfa; John Davies; and David Jenkins all died. Rev. W. Mydrim Jones, the Minister, left in 1877. On 2nd February 1878 the following appeared in the ‘Cardigan Observer‘:
“…A PROPOSED TESTIMONIAL.—We are pleased to learn that several ladies connected with the church assembling at the Tabernacle, in this town, have signified their intention of presenting the Rev. W. Mydrim Jones with a testimonial, as a small token of their esteem of him as a pastor and their sympathy with him in his present afflictions. The promoters are-Mrs. Phillips, Bridge House; Mrs. M. A. Stephens, St. Mary-street; Mrs. Williams, Stationer; Mrs. D. Jones, Pendre; Mrs. Lewis, Draper; Mrs. John Williams, High-street; and Mrs Morgan, Sailor’s Home, will thankfully receive any voluntary donation offered…”
On 23rd March 1878 the ‘Cardigan Observer‘ reported:
“…PRESENTATION TO THE REV. W. MYDRIM JONES, TABERNACLE. A very interesting and pleasant meeting was held at the Tabernacle Chapel, in this town, on Wednesday evening last, for the purpose of presenting the Rev. W. Mydrim Jones, minister of the Chapel, with an elegant gold watch and chain, with a costly seal appended thereto, value about £40, as a small token of the respect and esteem in which he is held by the members of the church, and others. Owing to severe illness, Mr. Jones has been unable to attend to his pastoral duties for upwards of four months, and as he had faithfully laboured in their midst during a period of about 8 years, several ladies belonging to the church suggested the present occasion to be a fitting one to show their respect and sympathy towards him as their pastor. To carry out this object a fund was started, all contributions to be voluntary, and in a few days they were enabled to purchase the splendid testimonial presented that evening. Both rich and poor contributed joyfully their mites, and we understand that several gentlemen outside the church asked permission to contribute towards the testimonial, to show their appreciation of his sterling worth and good qualities. The meeting was introduced with an appropriate hymn, and prayer offered by the Rev. T. Phillips, Verwig. Alderman Edwards was voted to the chair, who, on rising, said that he did not intend to address them in the usual manner as ladies and gentlemen, but as brethren and sisters in the Lord. He intended to base the few words he had to say, on St. Paul’s address to the Christians at Thessalonica, which would be found in 1 Thes. 5. 12, 13, which taught the duty of the church towards its pastor- to respect and honour him—which was very appropriate to them on the present occasion. Kindness had been the means of cheering ministers who laboured hard in their Master’s vineyard, especially when their spirits were low. We had a very striking instance of this in St. Paul’s friends coming to meet him to Apiphorum, on his journey to Rome, to appear before Caesar. He thanked God, and took courage. This small act of kindness braced him up to such an extent that he feared not Caesar, the prison, nor even death itself. The church was prone to expect perfection in its minister, and forgetting that he was only a man at best. The speaker here recited an amusing story about a church in America, which had lost its minister, and who wrote to the Principal of a College asking him to recommend one possessing such qualities as were enumerated by them. The Principal replied that they must seek such a person elsewhere, and recommended them to write to Dr. Dwight, who had gone to heaven, and was perfect, and no doubt possessed the qualities required by them in a minister. In conclusion, he urged the churches to respect their pastors, not only as men, but as servants of the Most High. Mr. Thomas Williams, Draper, was next called by the chairman, and said that he was exceedingly glad to see Mr. Jones once more amongst them, and that he was improving in health, although he had not fully recovered. The object they had in view was to show their respect and sympathy with Mr. Jones in his present trials and afflictions. The movement was originated by the ladies, Mrs. Phillips, Bridge House, and Mrs. Stephens, St. Mary- street, being the first movers. The matter having been mooted, six other ladies, viz., Mrs. Lewis, High-street, Mrs. Jones, Pendre, Mrs. J. Williams, Mrs. Williams, Stationer, Mrs. Rogers, and Mrs. Morgan, Sailor’s Home, tendered their services to receive the contributions offered. He told them that from his own experience in collecting, he felt the object could not be attained in the manner proposed, without calling personally for subscriptions but he was surprised to find that the necessary sum was subscribed in a few days, with- out making any effort whatever. There was something in the testimonial more valuable than gold —it was the sympathy of the church assembling at Tabernacle. He wished Mr. Jones a speedy recovery, so as to enable him to come among them again to discharge his duties as pastor. Mr. E. Ceredig Evans said there were times when it was easier to speak than be silent. He could endorse all that was said by the chairman and Mr. Williams. Mr. Jones was the first man he knew in Cardigan, and he had always found him a true and amiable friend. There were some characteristics peculiar to every man, and the more intimate our knowledge of a man are we able to judge of his merits. He had found Mr. Jones a man of honest motives and purposes, and he hoped this presentation would be the means of reviving his spirit, and accelerating his speedy recovery. Mr. D. Rogers said he was glad to see such a numerous assembly present, and hoped their intentions were sincere. Referring to Mr. Jones’ exertions in connection with the Band of Hope, &c., the speaker said that he (Mr. Jones) had attracted more children together than he had seen for the last 20 years. Mr. D. M. Palmer, B.A., was next called, and stated that he was present in order to show his sympathy with the movement. He thought the presentation was very timely. He had known Mr. Jones for many years, having been brought up in the same neighbourhood, and, consequently, early associations existed between them. It was said that a prophet was not honoured in his birth- place but Mr. Jones was an exception to that rule, as he knew him to be highly respected in his native neighbourhood. They had afterwards been together at the Presbyterian College, Carmarthen, which was another link of attachment between them. He had found Mr. Jones also a true friend to him at Cardigan. They could not give Mr. Jones time, but they had succeeded in providing him with a handsome watch to remind him of time. Mr. Stephens, of the National Provincial Bank, next spoke at some length, and also testified to the respect in which Mr. Jones is held in his native place, the only fault they had with him being that he would not stop amongst them, instead of coming to Cardigan. Since he had known Mr. Jones, his regard for him had increased daily. He hoped Mr. Jones would consider the testimonial as only a small token of the sympathy felt for him, as feeling could not be expressed in £ s. d. Sympathy was of more value than gold. He hoped Mr. Jones would soon be recovered, and that the church should again long enjoy his ministrations. A congregational hymn was next sung. The Chairman then called upon Mrs. Stephens who, on behalf of the church, presented the testimonial to Mr. Jones. Mr. J. C. Roberts then read the inscription on the watch, which was as follows:—”Presented to the Rev. W. Mydrim Jones by his friends at the Tabernacle Chapel, Cardigan, as a small token of their respect and esteem for his faithful ministry among them. 1878.” After exhibiting the watch he remarked that he did not believe in the man who was said to be liked by every one, for if a man acted up to principles, he must necessarily have his opponents, Every true and conscientious man was sure of his adversaries. He liked the man who had the courage of his convictions. Mr. Jones, on rising to acknowledge the gift, was enthusiastically received, and said in affected tone, that he was glad to see them once more. For the last few months he had been treading on the borders of the valley of shadow of death, but had found consolation there. Their sympathy towards him, and their prayers on his behalf, had cheered him very much, and no doubt were the means, to a great extent, of restoring him to his present state, though not a very satisfactory one, yet his general health had much improved. A month ago he had no hopes of seeing them again in this world, and yet he could not look into the future without grave apprehensions. He was surprised when he had the intimation that a testimonial was on foot for him; and what he liked the most in connection with it was, that it was done by voluntary contributions, and that several gentlemen outside the church and congregation, from whom he never expected any consideration, had asked permission to contribute towards it. He knew he had many bosom friends among the various denominations in the town; and a great number in Tabernacle that he would be glad to spend eternity in their company. He had made it a point long since to do something in God’s church on earth; but when he looked back on the past he was oftentimes afraid that he had done but very little, but should he be spared for the future there was nothing he desired more than to be of some service to God’s church on earth. He valued the gift on its own merit, but much more so as a token of their sympathy towards him. Rev. L. Beynon, Hope Chapel, was next called. He was glad to see Mr. Jones present, and his health so much improved. He was present to show his sympathy with Mr. Jones in his affliction, and the church did well to thus manifest their kind feelings towards him. He believed this had contributed towards restoring his health to the degree that it had. He coincided with all the sentiments expressed. It was useless to expect perfection in men, and if they had perfect men they could do nothing with them. The world only saw one perfect man, and they all knew the treatment he was subjected to. He concluded by wishing God’s blessing upon Mr. Jones during the remainder of his life. Rev. T. Phillips, Verwig said that all were nearly of the same feeling that evening. The church at the Tabernacle had shown their sympathy with their minister when in the midst of affliction, which was a true test of their attachment towards him. They presented him with the best of earthly treasures—with gold, and that gold utilised in the most serviceable form. However, it represented something better than gold it was a token of sympathy. He hoped it would bind Mr. Jones and the church into closer unity. He had known him for upwards of seven years, and his attachment towards him had not decreased. Rev. T. J. Morris, Capel Mair, next addressed the meeting. He observed that if they had met to relate Mr. Jones’ defections, the meeting would have terminated in ten minutes, but as they were there to show their appreciation of his merits they had enough to talk upon. He had known Mr. Jones before he came to Cardigan. Religious bodies should be more united, for although they were not in the same ranks, they served under the same King. The devil could not better be gratified than by creating dissensions amongst them. The present afflictions would no doubt adapt Mr. Jones to sympathise with those of his flock in similar circumstances. He hoped he would soon be re- stored to his usual health. A vote of thanks having been passed to the chairman, and to the ladies who had kindly received subscriptions towards the testimonial, the meeting was brought to a close with prayer by the Rev. T. J. Morris, Capel Mair, after which a congregational hymn was sung…”
Deacon Rees Nicholas died in 1877 and Deacon Thomas Edwards died in 1880. In 1881 Rev. Griffith Davies of Argoed, Feidrhenffordd, became the Minister. In 1881 the chapel house was occupied by Eleanor Jenkins, 83, her daughter Mary Jenkins, 54, and David Evans, 26, lodger, solicitor’s clerk. A new vestry was added in 1882. James Williams, Deacon, died in 1882. In 1883 David Davies was the secretary and Thomas Richard Nicholas was the Treasurer. Mary Jenkins lived at Chapel House that year. In 1883-84 Rev. Griffith Davies was still the Minister. A surprise religious census in 1884 showed 190 attending in the morning and 270 attending in the evening. Average Sunday attendance in 1887 was calculated as: – a.m. – 175, p.m. – 229. David Rogers, Deacon, died in 1889. In 1891 Mary Jenkins, 67, chapel cleaner, occupied the chapel house. Rev. Griffith Davies retired in 1894. That year Inspector Roberts and Elias Jones, Deacons, both died.
In October 1894 Rev. J. Moelwyn Hughes of Neath accepted the pastorate. On 19th January 1896 J. Moelwyn Hughes was inducted as the new Minister. In 1896 Rev. Griffith Davies, former Minister, died. Rev. J. Moelwyn Hughes was the Minister in 1896-1917. On 6th January 1897 there was a presentation made to Rev. J. Moelwyn Hughes on the occasion of his wedding. On 9th January it was reported as follows in the ‘Cardigan Observer‘:
“…PRESENTATION TO THE REV. MOELWYN HUGHES. On Wednesday night last, a very happy and interesting meeting was held at the Tabernacle Chapel, in this town, the occasion being the presentation of a sterling silver Pocket Communion Service, and a purse containing over £ 40, as a wedding gift to the Rev. Moelwyn Hughes, the pastor, and to give Mrs Hughes a cordial welcome on her advent as the wife of the esteemed pastor. The chair was occupied by Mr E. Ceredig Evans, who, in his opening remarks, thought that the occasion was an auspicious one in many respects. There was an attraction in the word marriage to everyone, though not in the same degree, and Mr Moelwyn Hughes had felt its power, and been subdued by its influence. He had taken to himself a wife; and, while referring to Mrs Hughes, he asked the congregation to give Mrs Hughes a hearty welcome among them [This was done by all rising up]. Mr J. W. Nicholas said he had the pleasure of thanking, on behalf the church, the ladies who had volunteered their services to collect subscription for the testimonial. They were—Miss May Roberts, Miss Griffiths, Miss H. Jones, Mrs Picton, Mrs Felix, Miss Morris, Miss Evans, and Miss Thomas. The Chairman stated that the list of the subscribers would be handed to Mr Hughes without any sum against the names, so that he could see how general and numerous were his well-wishers. Another happy thought suggested itself to the committee was, that the two oldest members of the church should be selected to make the presentation; hence no objection could be taken by anyone. He had much pleasure, therefore, in calling on the ladies to come forward to make the presentation on behalf of the church. Mrs Maud vans, Pendre, who is old and infirm, said she was not accustomed to speak, but felt highly honoured in having been selected to present her pastor with a sterling silver Pocket Communion Service. She de- sired success and happiness to Mr and Mrs Hughes. Mrs Davies, Greenfield-row, presenting the purse, said it afforded her much pleasure to hand Mr Hughes the purse as a gift of the church and congregation which had been under his pastorate for twelve months. She wished Mr and Mrs Hughes long life and prosperity, and the blessing of the Most High on the union of hearts which had taken place, which, she thought, was the fervent desire of all present that night. Miss Susanna Jones gave a beautiful rendering of the solo Ble’r aeth yr Amen,” accompanied on the harmonium by Miss Williams. Mr J. C. Roberts said that the occasion was a most happy one in more respects than one. First of all they had presented their esteemed pastor with visible tokens of their good will towards him; secondly, to extend to Mrs Hughes a hearty welcome to her new home and church j and lastly, to congratulate Mr Hughes on (he wise selection he had made of a helpmate, which, he believed, was so in the true meaning of the word and not in name. To be a pastor’s wife was a very important and responsible position, as the majority the ladies connected with the church and congregation would be looking up to her as a pattern to follow. In this, as mortals went, he did not think Mrs Hughes would fail, as she had been accustomed to be in the front rank in discharging duties appertaining to the church at Llangadog, where she was brought up. In Mrs Hughes Mr Hughes had, he thought, found the missing link and one that would tenderly care for and succour him at all times. He wished to remind Mrs Hughes that her husband had been married twice before. At Neath he was released from the first with a handsome present; the handsome present that night was the fruit of the second contract entered into a year ago, and this should convince her that the second was not jealous of the third, but was glad that it had come about. Though the other contracts could be broken at will, the last one made was to last for life, and he hoped the second would be co-existent. He concluded by wishing Mr & Mrs Hughes a pleasant and happy journey through life in the service of their Great Master, and that kind Providence would scatter seeds of comfort on their path- way until crowned with immortality. Mr Evan Evans said he was glad to be present to witness the good feeling which was evinced that night, and hoped it would long continue between pastor and church. Mr David Thomas said he was very pleased to learn that the present was given in money, so that their esteemed pastor could buy what he wished to have. This was a new thing, and a very good thing by way of encouragement to a pastor, as it was a proof that his services were appreciated. Mr David Davies (Bridge-end) was pleased to have the privilege of being present that night, as the movement had his sympathy, and the wedding his blessing, trusting that union would be productive of much good. He was conscious that Mr Hughes had had a helpmate, and hoped she would make herself at home in her new sphere of life, and never think of removing elsewhere. He wished them well in life and in death. 4 Mr D. Price Jones thought the young ladies who took in hand to collect towards the wedding present deserved praise, as the work was done joyfully. He trusted that their pastor would remain with them a very long time. Capt. W. Williams wished Mr and Mrs Hughes a “priodas dda.” Mr Reuben Jenkins was glad that the idea of presenting Mr Hughes with a wedding gift was suggested, as it afforded an opportunity for the members of the church to show the respect in which their pastor was held, and he was glad that Mr Hughes had met with such an estimable lady as a partner in life. In his opinion he had done the right thing, and he wished the pair every happiness. He should like Mr Hughes to value the gift, not so much on account of its intrinsic value, but as a weak reflector of the good feeling which existed in church towards its pastor. Let their wedding day be the cloudiest. Mr David Williams (Birmingham) said he was, as one who had been brought up in the church, very glad that he happened to be in the town on the occasion, so as to have an opportunity of witnessing what was going on that evening, and the unanimity with which it was done. He hoped the happy event was a presage that Mr Hughes meant to settle down among them for a long time, and that he would prove a blessing to the church, the town, and the neighbourhood. The Rev. Moelwyn Hughes, in feeling terms, acknowledged thankfully all who had done something in connection with the testimonial, as he was convinced that it had emanated from purely good feeling, and as such he highly valued it. He also thanked them for the good feeling evinced towards Mrs Hughes. He hoped that they would never have cause to regret what had been done that night, as he would not intentionally, whatever, do anything to wound anyone. He trusted that Mrs Hughes would be of great help to him in the performance of his duties, and unless such would be the case he would be more disappointed than they could be. It was his fervent hope that the present would be the commencement of a new epoch in the history of the church at the Tabernacle. He was free to state that the year he had spent at Cardigan was the happiest he had experienced in the ministry, and he felt from that night out the responsibilities were in- creasing, and asked each member individually to pray for him, so that he might be guided, and his endeavours crowned with the blessing of the Great Master. The singing of Gosod babell,” &c., concluded a very interesting meeting…”
Miss Mary Jenkins, 75, chapel cleaner, still lived in the 3 room chapel house in 1901. Born in Tremain, she was a Welsh-speaker. On 25th June 1902 tenders were sought for renovations, including a new façade and organ chamber. The work cost £1000. Railings were by Scott F. Kelly of the town’s Bridge End Foundry. In 1902 Mr. W. Joseph Thomas of Williams Terrace was the Secretary. Building work was under way in December 1902. In 1902 there were 282 members. On 4th February 1904 Miss Sarah Jenkins, the caretaker of Tabernacle for 25 years like her mother before her, died aged 80. The new organ, by Messrs. Griffin & Stroud of Bath, to specifications by Mr. I. E. Aylward, Professor of Music at Cardiff, was unveiled on 2nd September 1904 in the presence of Mr. Vaughan-Davies, M. P. for Cardiganshire, and other dignitaries. On 2nd March 1906 Hannah Thomas died at the Chapel House. In August 1906 the Methodist Cymanfa was held here. In 1908 Deacons Mr. J. C. Roberts and Captain W. Williams died. In August 1909 new Deacons were elected, namely Messrs. D. Morgan Jones, Town Clerk; T. M. Jenkins, Grangetown; J. Evans, Brecon Terrace; J. Jones, Aberdare Farm; and W. Joseph Thomas, Williams Terrace. In 1910-16 David Davies lived at Chapel House. In May 1910 tenders were being sought for painting and redecorating the chapel. In November 1910 the chapel celebrated 150 years.
In May 1913 a new vestry was proposed. In January 1917 Rev. J. Moelwyn Hughes took up another pastorate at Birkenhead. By 1917 Miss Edith Phillips was the chapel caretaker. On 28th April 1920 David John Davies of the Chapel House was buried at Llantood, having died aged 74 on 24th April 1920. He had been a Deacon for thirty years. In June 1922 the North Pembrokeshire Methodists held their annual Gymanfa here. Ca. October 1922 Rev. R. R. Williams came to Cardigan. On 13th February 1923 Pastor Rev. R. R. Williams was installed at Tabernacle, succeeding Rev. J. Moelwyn Hughes.
In 1923-25 Rev. R. R. Williams was the Minister. On 24th June 1924 Rev. R. R. Williams married Dilys Williams – the niece of Rev. George Hughes – Pastor of Mount Zion English Baptist Chapel, Priory Street. Mrs. Martha Davies occupied the chapel house until her death on 18th November 1924 at the age of 84. She was buried at Llantood. Before the end of 1924, Miss Edith Phillips, the caretaker, moved here. In 1924 the Deacons were: Evan Ceredig Evans, William Davies, Mr. T. M. Jenkins, Mr. D. Morgan Jones, John Jones, John Evans and Mr. W. Joseph Thomas. David Davies was the Treasurer. In 1924 the membership rose from 300 to 310. In April 1925 Rev. R. R. Williams announced his departure for Colwyn Bay, and he left in early July. On 23rd April 1926 tenders were sought for building a new vestry. The chapel could seat 750 persons. On 1st January 1929 the chapel re-opened after a refit. Rev. R. R. Williams was succeeded as Minister in April 1929 by the Rev. C. Currie Hughes.
Also in 1929 Mr. J. T. Evans became the new Chapel Secretary. In June 1930 William Joseph Thomas of No. 2 William Street, a Deacon of the chapel and the Secretary since 1909, died aged 56. In February 1932 tenders were being sought for building a new schoolroom, classroom and offices to designs by John Teifion J. Williams of Cardigan. In June 1932 the annual North Pembrokeshire Methodists’ Gymanfa was held here. On 23rd June 1933 the new vestry was opened by Mr. D. O. Evans, M. P.. It was designed by Mr. J. T. J. Williams of Cardigan and built by Mr. E. O. James, Aberporth. In June 1934 a Methodist Cymanfa was held here. The bicentenary celebration of the Calvinistic Methodist cause was held here in 1935. In February 1940 William Phillips of the chapel house was serving in the merchant navy. In 1941 William Phillips’ grandson, David Thomas Phillips of Caerleon House, Pendre, was married. On 4th April 1943 new Deacons were elected including Aneurin James, Stepside; Alban Thomas, Pendre; Mr. J. E. Thomas, Penralltddu; and Hugh Thomas, New Mill. In 1944 the Deacons were named as: Mr. T. Morgan Jenkins; Thomas Reynolds; Mr. J. Thomas Evans; Mr. L. Oswald Jones; Mr. D. O. Conwyson Roberts; Evan J. Davies; Jenkin Richards; Alban Thomas; Mr. J. E. Thomas; Aneurin James; and Mr. H. Thomas. In 1944 membership fell from 258 to 254. In June 1947 the Welsh Presbyterian Church held their ‘Sasiwn’ here. In 1949 Miss Phillips occupied the Chapel House, together with Margaret Cox. On 2nd April 1949 William Phillips of the Chapel House was buried at Llantood, having died aged 93. In 1952 Tom J. Williams became a Deacon. In November 1954 Rev. & Mrs. C. Currie Hughes celebrated 25 years here. In 1955 Phyllis Margaret Cox, Edith Phillips and William E. Phillips lived at the chapel house. In November 1955 Mr. J. T. Evans celebrated 25 years as Secretary. In May 1957 it was noted that Miss Edith Phillips of No. 7 had been the chapel caretaker for more than forty years. In June 1959 tenders were sought for repairs and redecoration of the façade. On 6th April 1960 the chapel was re-opened following an internal redecoration. That October, Rev. C. Currie Hughes published a book on the history of the chapel. In November 1960 the chapel celebrated its’ bicentenary.
In January 1961 Tabernacle Chapel featured in B. B. C. television’s ‘Dechrau Canu, Dechrau Canmol’ – Cardigan’s first television broadcast. In June 1961 Aneurin James of Stepside was appointed Secretary of the chapel, succeeding Mr. J. T. Evans after 32 years. In August 1962 William Eynon Phillips of the chapel house died aged 56. He was a nephew of Miss Edith Phillips, also of No. 7 Pendre. In 1962 Rev. D. Terry Thomas became a Deacon. In January 1965 Mrs. Anne Hughes, wife of Rev. C. Currie Hughes, died. In November 1965 Rev. C. Currie Hughes, the Minister for 36 years, died aged 75. In May 1966 Miss Edith Phillips of the Tabernacle House died aged 76.
In September 1968 Rev. Richard Jones accepted the Pastorate, succeeding the late Rev. C. Currie Hughes after more than 30 years. In October 1969 Rev. Richard Jones, the Minister, was ordained the Minister of Capel Seion, St. Dogmaels, in addition to his post here. In 1970 David Jones, Moelwyn Jones, Maldwyn Jones, Police Sergeant D. R. Jones and Mr. D. R. Peregrine became Deacons. In 1973 Rev. Thomas Roberts became the Minister. In 1974 Detective Sergeant J. Idwal Jones, Mr. I. L. Parry, Mr. J. G. Watts, Mr. Twynog Davies and Maldwyn Davies became Deacons.
On 9th June 1978 the congregation voted to have a new chapel built elsewhere in the town. Fortunately the scheme came to nothing. In 1981 Messrs. Dan Griffiths, J. J. Davies, Gareth James, John Adams-Lewis and Malcolm Thomas became Deacons. In 1982 Deacons Messrs. J. Idwal Jones and J. G. Watts died. In 1983 Deacons David Jones and Donald Francis (of No. 9 William Street) died. Rev. Thomas Roberts ceased to be Minister of Tabernacle in 1984. In 1984 membership rose from 163 to 166. In 1985 membership fell from 155 to 151. The chapel received a facelift in 1986-87 and the roof arrangement was simplified to designs by Cardigan architect Llwyd Edwards. The chapel re-opened in February 1987.In 1987 the following Deacons were appointed: John D. James; Mrs. Eleanor Jones; Hywelfryn Jones; Alwyn Thomas; and Miss Margaret Williams. In 1987 the membership fell from 142 to 141. The chapel and house were ‘listed’ in 1988. On 11th October 1989 Rev. Ifor ap Gwilym became the Minister. He left for Abergele in July 1992.
In 1995 Rev. Gwyn Madoc Jones was the Minister. In February 1996 permission was sought for conducting repairs to the caretaker’s house. In 1998 Trefor & Myrtle Francis occupied No. 7. In April 1998 a further ‘Sasiwn’ was held here. On 16th January 1999 Rev. W. Raymond Jones became the Minister. On 7th February 2004 Myrtle Francis of the chapel house died, leaving her husband, Trefor H Francis. In August 2009 the chapel was redecorated and the front door of the chapel house was replaced. In 2010 the Chapel House was completely gutted and re-roofed and renovated.
The chapel and house were described by CADW in 1992:
“…1832 Calvinistic Methodist chapel, altered 1864 and refronted 1902, this front simplified in 1986 restoration. The body of the chapel of 1832 survives, originally a lateral front with 2 long centre windows, outer pedimented doors and arched windows over, but in 1902 was radically altered with big projecting central organ chamber, flanking porches and new stucco cladding. In 1986 the roof line was simplified by removal of cornice each side and pediments above, the lowering of the pediment of centrepiece and removal of a steep French-style slate roof behind the pediment.
Three-bay painted stucco front with slate roofs, the big centre projection having exuberantly traceried big arched window of 6 lower lights under a Gothic rose. Three small arched windows between low buttresses below, bracketed cornice and pediment with cusped roundel and 1986 plain bargeboards. Traceried single lights in return wall. Each side, 1902 porches have bracketed coping, centre gable with big arched doorway and small arched windows each side. Blank cusped roundels in gables. Panelled double doors with leaded fanlights. Stepped buttresses up from porch coping to side walls of centre projection. Upper windows are arched with stucco surrounds and 1902 timber tracery. Panelled outer pilasters formerly related to small eaves gablets. Forecourt wall of slate-coped yellow brick and low iron spearhead railings with 2 pairs of matching gates between cast-iron ball-finial piers, all of 1902, by S Kelly, Cardigan.
Plain rubble 3-window, 2-storey rear with 1902 leaded glazing. House to right, on street line, is stuccoed, plain one-window, 2-storey with sashes, door to right and raised stucco surrounds. One first floor south side window.
INTERIOR – Handsome curved-ended panelled gallery c1864 with raked pews and slim fluted columns. Long panels between pilasters. Flat ceiling with very elaborate acanthus rose. 1902 curvaceous pulpit with turned balusters and curving steps each side. Big 1904 organ filling recess behind with decorative flat-balustered low screens behind pulpit. Panelled organ case in pilastered recess with panelled flattened arch. Traceried window obscured…”
ADDITIONAL (2001) – Façade formerly had 4-window range. Stucco quoins to angles and rusticated lower section beneath string course. Centre windows set lower with higher flanks, all marginalised small panes with arched heads with radial glazing bars. Small porches left and right in classical style with flattened pointed heads, broken open-fronted pediments with brackets on classical columns. Railed forecourt.
Map of Cardigan, J Wood 1834
Census Returns 1861; 1871; 1881; 1891; 1901
Post Office Directory 1871
Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser 1871; 1877; 1881-82; 1887; 1894; 1896-97; 1902; 1904; 1906; 1909; 1913; 1916-17; 1920; 1922-26; 1928-29; 1932-33; 1935; 1940-41; 1943; 1947; 1949; 1954-55; 1957; 1959-62; 1965-66; 1968-69; 1978; 2000; 2004
Register of Members’ Subscriptions – Tabernacle C M Chapel, Cardigan 1883
Cardigan Observer 1884
Kelly’s Directory of South Wales 1884; 1914; 1926
O. S. Map 1887 etc.
A Guide to Cardigan & District, William Edward Yerward James 1899
Annual Report – Tabernacl C M Chapel, Cardigan 1901; 1924; 1944; 1974; 1979; 1980; 1982; 1983; 1984; 1985; 1987
Annual Accounts – Calvinistic Methodists, South Cardiganshire 1902
List of Voters – Cardigan 25/07/1910
Bicentenary Programme – Methodist Movement, Tabernacle C M Chapel, Cardigan 16/10/1935
Accounts – Cardigan Auxiliary Bible Society 1949
Yearbook – South Cardiganshire District – Presbyterian Church 22/07/1953
Electoral Register – Cardigan 1955; 1998
Capel Mair, D J Roberts 1955
Trem ar Ddwy Ganrif o Hanes y Tabernacl, Aberteifi, C Currie Hughes 1960
Religious Census of 1851, Ieuan G Jones & David Williams 1976
The Gateway to Wales, W J Lewis 1990
Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest – Cardigan, CADW 1992
Pilgrims & Preachers 2000
The Phone Book 2003.
© Glen K Johnson 13/06/2013