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The Old Chapels of Bwlchgwyn

Bwlchgwyn Christ Church War Memorial Public Houses
Gwenda's Book Ffynnon-y-Cwrw Chapels School

There were four chapels in Bwlchgwyn: Nebo, Salem, Bethesda and Peniel. They are all closed now. Nebo was converted into living accommodation many years ago, Salem and Bethesda have both been demolished. Peniel chapel still stands, abandoned, away from the centre of the village on the Old Road, towards the four crosses.

Nebo Chapel

Independent Congregationalist

Extract from Gwenda's book covering 1939-1943:

 

"There was no argument about it. Every Sunday morning without fail, illness excepted, we all put on our 'Sunday Best' clothes (including hats for the ladies) and set off for the five minute walk to the chapel service at 11 0'clock..."

"Nebo Chapel stood, grey, solid and dependable, on the main Ruthin Road at the junction with Nebo Lane. It was a simple building, as befitted its non-conformist roots. High on the front wall, carved on a large block of North Wales stone, was an inscription:

NEBO

Addoldy yr Annibynwyr 1852

AIL ADEILADWYD 1865

 

(Nebo Independent Place of Worship 1852. Second Building 1865)"

 

"And it was to this place that, in 1888, there came a shy, young 23 year-old, part-way through his theological training, to be its minister. He was my grandfather." ...

Nebo Chapel is situated on Ruthin Road at the junction with Nebo Hill. Now converted into living accommodation. This was the second Congregationalist Chapel, presumably replacing a smaller building.

 

..."On arrival at Nebo we would be greeted by the reedy tones of the harmonium, played with quiet enthusiasm by my aunt, who had got there early.  Having selected a pew we sat quietly, my mother with bowed head, praying no doubt in Welsh.  Then the vestry door opened and out, one by one, came the elderly deacons, in their tired dark suits and sober ties, followed by the preacher for that day.  As the minister arranged his books on the ledge of the pulpit the deacons took their place on the Set Fawr, surveying the congregation with stern and solemn faces, probably noting who was there - and who was missing....

"Now preaching was something of an art form in Wales in those days.  The Welsh speak of 'hwyl', meaning something like Holy Spirit fervour, and as hwyl gripped the preacher his voice would rise in pitch and volume and take on a characteristic sing-song tone.  The deacons would add verbal encouragement and any particularly good point would be greeted by cries of "Ie! Ie!" (Yes! Yes!), "Amen!" or occasionally "Hallelujah!"  This would carry the adults along wonderfully but was sometimes a source of amusement to us children, who were unable to appreciate the finer points of the sermon."

 

Salem Chapel

Calvinistic Methodists

Salem Chapel is on Brymbo Road, between the drive and Cefn Road

Salem Chapel was demolished some years ago but the graveyard, with its fine memorials, is tended from time to time. The view opposite shows the standing for the chapel together with a stone inscribed "Salem 1879"

 

Bethesda Chapel

Wesleyan

Opposite, a greatly enlarged view of Bethesda Chapel taken from the higher ground towards the quarry.

Below, a more recent picture of Bethesda Chapel taken. The gate to the chapel can be seen at the left of the picture

The first Wesleyan Chapel - known as the Old Chapel, or simply Bwlchgwyn Chapel, still exists on the left hand side of Ruthin Road, beyond the entrance to the quarry and before High View house.

The Old Chapel was soon too small and a newer, larger chapel was built at the junction of what is now called Wesley Road and Ruthin Road. The building was demolished a few years ago.

 

A Calvanistic Methodist Chapel, still standing on the Old Road, not far from the Four Crosses. 

As a result of a "split", some of the congregation moved to the new chapel in Bwlchgwyn - Nebo. Gwenda retells the story:

Peniel Chapel

Calvinistic Methodists

Capel Peniel
"In 1848 there had been a problem with large numbers of people committing damage to the local hazel-nut woods, particularly on Sundays, and the local constable, Edward Kendrick, saw a solution in starting a Sunday School for adults and children, connected to Peniel, a local Methodist chapel. A house was obtained at a rent of ninepence per week and the School rapidly became very popular.

Unfortunately a deacon in Peniel, described as 'high handed and with harsh discipline', was not pleased with the Sunday School's success for some reason and caused a split.  Left with no staff, Edward Kendrick appealed to a few 'Dissenters' (people who disagreed with Anglican Church practices) who lived in the area, to take over.  They agreed and the work grew to the point that they needed a proper building.  Whether it began in 1852 as a wooden hut or a 'tin tabernacle' is not recorded but clearly enough money became available to erect a permanent stone building in 1865"

The picture above, of Capel Peniel, the disused chapel on the Old Road, Bwlchgwyn, was taken by Eirian Evans and is available on Geograph at http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/148732 The photograph is used under the terms of the Creative Commons Licence and has been reduced in size to meet the requirements of this webpage.

Please visit Geograph, by clicking on the link above, and view other pictures in the area - but don't forget to come back!

   
Extracts taken, with permission, from "I Remember...My Life in Bwlchgwyn 1939-1943" by Gwenda Lewis: (c) Gwenda Lewis 2005  
   
 

Please remember that the information on this website is only accurate to the best of my knowledge and belief. If any of the information is relevant to your own research, please double-check the sources.

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