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Bethania, Maesteg

Bethania 1858

1858 Chapel

Early 19th century Wales saw a period of rapid industrialisation. The south Wales valleys became peppered with ironworks, and coal mines and this progressive urbanisation continued well into the mid-century.A Baptist community began to surface from the iron and coal workers in Maesteg, congregating at first in homes and public houses. This congregation grew and in 1832 they began building the first Bethania, the Mother Baptist church of the Llynfi valley.

It would have been a long-wall chapel, differing from Anglican churches in its humble simplicity and its focus on the pulpit. Attendance grew and in 1841, a larger chapel was built. By the 1850s the chapel had a congregation of about 700, and the building became a thriving cultural hub that housed social and 5015278427_72f52b7345_o (2)community events, festivals and eisteddfodau.  Interestingly, one of these eisteddfodau during this period included a lecture entitled: ‘Geological facts and Biblical truths: are they contradictory?’ Bethania was enlarged in 1859 and rebuilt again in 1898. The present Bethania chapel was a product of the last ‘Great Revival’ of 1904 and was constructed in 1908. It was designed in a Classical Beaux Arts style by the locally born architect Sir William Beddoe Rees, one of his greatest achievements. It is said to seat up to 1001 people. Following its closure, it was acquired by Addoldai Cymru in 2006, the largest chapel it has acquired to date.

Read more about the History of Bethania
Read more about the Chapel
Read more about the Work to date
Read more about Baptists

Further Information

Listing Document
Bethania Listing
Archaeological Building Investigation and Recording, Level 3 Historic Building Record, Report compiled by C.R Archaeology
Completed Capel Bethania Building Survey web
Bethania Conservation Statement, Neil Sumner 2013
Bethania Conservation Statement

Further Reading

Hywel Teifi Edwards (ed.), Llynfi ac Afan, Garw ac Ogwr (Llandysul, 1998).
Brinley Richards, History of the Llynfi Valley (Bridgend, 2008)
Geraint H. Jenkins, ‘Doc Tom’ Thomas Richards (Cardiff, 1999)
The Journal of Welsh Religious History, New Series Vol 4; 2004

6 thoughts on “Bethania, Maesteg”

  1. Christine says:

    Da iawn I chi!
    Bethania China
    Attached File

  2. Roy Meredith says:

    Photograph given to the Trust by Roy Meredith Maesteg
    Attached File

    1. Heather Davies says:

      Hi, this is a fab website, very interesting, the one thing thats not correct is the picture of the men building on the front page, this is the building of St Michaels church, not Bethania.

      1. christinem says:

        Dear Heather Thanks for this

  3. Dr Alec Hamilton says:

    I am wondering whether it might be possible to visit Bethania? Having finished my DPhil, I am now turning my thesis into a book. I wonder if 22 August might be a possible date for a visit? Please reply, and I will e-mail you full details of my thesis and proposed book, and what I would be looking for during a visit.

    1. christinem says:

      Hi yes 22nd August should be fine email your details to arrange.

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