- Nprn: 6521
- Summary: Penrhiw Unitarian Chapel was first built in 1777 and rebuilt/modified in 1870. The chapel was moved to St Fagans during the late 20th century and is now only occasionally used as a chapel. Penrhiw is a typical barn chapel built in the Vernacular style with a slate roof and simple symmetrical interior plan.
RCAHMW, July 2009.
- Description: First chapel built 1777 & rebuilt/modified 1870. Moved to St Fagans late C20th. Status (2000): in occasional chapel use.
Demolished and rebuilt at Welsh Folk Museum, St Fagan, Cardiff.
Typical barn chapel stemming from the early vernacular tradition; a barn converted into a chapel and opened as such in 1777 when the first lease was granted. Slate roof dated from 1870 but this was originally tiles and these have been replaced in the St Fagan restoration. Random rubble walls with successive heavy coats of whitewash.
The facade implies the simple and symmetrical layout of the interior plan. Two doors (squared) with three squared windows between - centre window higher to illuminate the elevated pulpit inside. One window high in each of the gable end walls.
Exceptionally good interior. The gallery was a hayloft but in early 19th Century this loft was converted into the present gallery - in effect increasing the accommodation without having to demolish and rebuild the chapel.
The pews are tailor-made for the chapel and from the difference in detailing leads one to believe that each family with a subscription pew was responsible for its own construction. The pulpit illustrates the last stages of the three-decker type. The arcaded pew to the left of the pulpit was raised by elevating the floor when the gallery was built. The roof is built on false crucks - upright timbers morticed into the ends of the loft beams and on to which the roof trusses were scarfed and pegged. The central truss, however, is an exception due to the insertion of the large windows behind the pulpit.
The floor is beaten earth except for the communion place which is boarded over. White exterior walls (1976) with woodwork painted pale grey-white.
Coffin carrier and mortsafes stored up in the exposed rafters
Exterior recreates early 19th Century ambiance. Stone seats set against the bank of earth in front of the building, used during the preaching festivals. The stable once attached had disappeared before demolition.
Served the Unitarians in the parishes of Llangeler and Penboyr.
First pastor: David Lloyd. Prominent members: David Davies of Castell-hywel, David Davies of Swansea (see Rees, Hist Prod Nonconformist for biographies). Also Christmas Evans even though he was a Baptist.
Replied to 1851 Census as "Presbyterian, erected 1771" and reporting a general congregation of 80 average.
(Abstract from St Fagan Museum Handbook)
- Built: c.1770 Source:Jones, Anthony
- Built: 1771 Source:1851 Relig. Census
- Penrhiw Graveyard Surviv.: 1980A Source:Davies, D Elwyn
- Unitarian Chapel Establ.: 1777 Source:Davies, D Elwyn
- Occ. Service In Graveyard: 1980A Source:Davies, D Elwyn
- Other Unit. Ministers: 1700-1899 Source:Davies, D Elwyn
- Summer Services At Museum: 1980A Source:Davies, D Elwyn
- Moved To St Fagans: 1980A Source:Welsh Folk Museum
- Modified: 1870 Source:
- Chapel: 1982 Summer services in chapel at Museum site; Penrhiw graveyard services (D Elwyn Davies)
- Monument Type: CHAPEL
- Form: Documents
Key Details of this Chapel
Key Dates of this Chapel
Changes of Status its History
Key Characteristics of this Chapel
Images from Coflein
- Grid Reference: SN35593864
- Address: DREFACH FELINDRE