More about Peniel

Peniel is an outstanding example of early classical architecture in Wales and provides conspicuous contrast to the Gothic St. Mary’s Church (NPRN 43788). The majority of the building dates from 1810-11, but the distinctive three-bay Tuscan portico, although part of the original concept, was only added in 1849.

One of the biggest Methodist chapels of its day, it served the new town of Tremadog, the land leased from Mr Madocks for a peppercorn rent. In 1810 Madocks promised £50 for a portico, but only £10 was forthcoming (Board of Celtic Studies database). Seating had not been included in the original estimate, but by 1809 it was decided to have seats along the two sides and benches in the middle: the interior was lit by candles. In 1840 a gallery was built against the front wall to accommodate the increasing congregation numbers and in 1849 the present columns of the facade were put in place by John & Gershon Thomas, Porthmadog, Mr John Williams, agent to the Tremadoc Estate acting as ‘Archwyliwr’ (Plan – NLW Ms., CM Archive, E106115). From 1857 the chapel was lit by gas and repairs of 1860 included the installation of seats, with the chapel being re-opened on November 2nd. In 1880 the gallery was extended round 3 sides of the chapel and improvements of 1898 included the present Sedd Fawr and pulpit. In 1908-10 the present ceiling was inserted. A heating boiler was installed in 1952 and electric light for both chapel and Ty Capel was introduced in 1953.

In 1905, the Royal Commission on the Church of England and Other Religious Bodies in Wales and Monmouthshire record seating for 600 in the chapel and for 100 in the schoolroom; 1851 Religious Census figures for Ffestiniog District are missing.

The chapel exterior is of cream painted roughcast, with a slate roof above projecting eaves. Two full width slate steps lead up to a giant Tuscan portico of two columns, the triangular pediment sporting a wheel window and panelled spandrels. At the rear of the portico are two entrances, flanking a nine-pane hornless sash window, with three further square-headed sash windows above. The side elevations are built of large, irregular blocks of stone and each have three further twelve-pane sash windows. The rear elevation has an offset three-light round-headed window with Gothic glazing bars.

Within, the chapel has scribed plaster walls above a matchboard dado and a raked wooden floor. The ground floor seating is of panelled box pews, divided into three main blocks with the outer blocks facing obliquely to the pulpit, and a fourth smaller block facing at right angles to the pulpit. The Sedd Fawr is enclosed by two tier pine panelling and reached only from the NW. A central projection incorporates a lectern, either side of which is a curved, cushioned bench seat. The pulpit is by the firm of Owen Morris Roberts & Sons, Porthmadog and is reached by 5 steps up to each side. The projecting pulpit incorporates some hardwood and the facing panel is framed by fluted pilasters with acanthus leaf designs, with reliefs of foliage and flowers to the centre panel. To the rear is a pine framed and cushion sofa, above which rises a plaster pulpit arch with fluted pilasters and a keystone decorate with a foliate motif incorporating ears of wheat. To each side of the pulpit arch is a door: that on the north connecting to the rear schoolroom, that on the south formerly leading to the chapel house but now partially blocked by late 19th century match-boarding.

The raked gallery of 1880 runs around three sides and may incorporate the end gallery of 1840. It is supported by 7 fluted Roman Doric columns and has a front of moulded pine panels with an inset clock opposite the pulpit. The seating is of open bench pews.

The ceiling (dating from 1908-10) is boarded with large panels, moulded ribs and a central ornate ceiling rose, the tracery of which replicates that of the wheel window to the pediment. The raked gallery is mounted on cast iron fluted columns, and has a panelled soffit, panelled front and central clock. The main floor consists of numbered boxed pews, and a late 19th century set fawr.

The single storey schoolroom was built in the late 19th century. It has 2 semi-circular windows to the gable with three flat-headed sash windows to the SW elevation. The interior has panelled dado, perhaps reusing pre 1860 seating and gallery panelling. Flat ceiling with 2 circular plaster roses and a central vent of intertwined metalwork with a flower head

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