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CAPEL ALS INDEPENDENT CHAPEL, MARBLE HALL RD. AND WERN RD., LLANELLI;CAPEL ALICE

Site Details



NPRN 6419

Map Reference SN50SW

Grid Reference SN5112500348

Unitary (Local) Authority Carmarthenshire

Old County Carmarthenshire

Community Llanelli

Type of Site CHAPEL

Broad Class RELIGIOUS RITUAL AND FUNERARY

Period Post Medieval

Site Description Capel Als Independent Chapel was first built in 1780 and enlarged in 1797 and 1827. The chapel was rebuilt and enlarged in 1852 to the design of architect Thomas Thomas, Landore, and later rebuilt again in 1894 by architect Owen Morris Roberts of Porthmadog. The present building, dated 1894, is built in the Classical style with a long-wall entry type and is noted for its stained glass windows. The building is Grade 2 listed.

RCAHMW, June 2009

Capel Als Independent 1852-53 & 1894

The present chapel is a partial rebuild of 1894, retaining the walls, if not the roof, of the earlier chapel of 1852-53 by the influential Landore architect Thomas Thomas. Thomas subsequently used the Capel Als design at Independent chapels at Pontypool in the following year and seven years later in his home chapel in Llandeilo. In all of these he provided a high front parapet extending round to the first bay of the side elevations. The other main features retained of Thomas's first Italianate design are the central pediment or gable over the chapel name with Italian Renaissance scroll sides and the double attached columns, or pilasters, that originally ran from top to bottom of the front corners of the building and flanked the central entrance recess. It was externally mainly re-cased by the marginally less influential professional architect Owen Morris Roberts of Porthmadog in a classical style that continued in use in north Wales even as the south turned to gothic. The hallmarks of Roberts's style are here: this is not a full-height classical temple as was Thomas's earlier design but a two-storey main fa├žade with Thomas's earlier columns divided horizontally (like those newly built at nearby Caersalem the year before) by a prominent projecting string-course as used by Roberts at Mount Pleasant Chapel in Holyhead nine years earlier. At that and other chapels Roberts used a central group of three equal-height and width windows as a feature over the central doorway and this replaced Thomas's earlier Venetian Window over the main door at Capel Als. Thomas and Roberts also liked to get away from the great shed-like profiles of many other simpler chapels by using a hipped roof which enabled a flatter profile to the central three bays of the main front. Roberts made this elevation wider and more imposing by adding projecting stair-wings with a lower hipped roof: both features he was to use at Moriah, Capel Coffa John Elias at Llangefni in Anglesey three years later. As at nearby Siloah, Capel Als had bay-window-like porches to add both domestic comfort and appearance by David Jones of Llanelli in 1904. The simple Italianate single-storey Sunday-school to the left of the main front remains as Thomas Thomas designed it in 1870. In 1905 Capel Als could seat 1,150 which made it and Tabernacle the largest of the Independent Chapels in Llanelli although smaller than the 1,334 capacity of the Baptist Zion Chapel. However its Sunday School at a substantial 450 was still smaller than Trinity and Park Street (English) of the same Independent denomination.

Stephen R. Hughes, RCAHMW, 06.09.2007

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