History and Heritage

Horeb Welsh Wesleyan Chapel,

Horeb Welsh Wesleyan Chapel, Pontardawe stood on James Street, the road up to Rhydyfro, just by the Dynevor Arms public house. The shell of the building remains standing, but the inside has been stripped bare, and it is reported to have been empty for some quarter of a century or so.

Showing the location of the chapel, on the right hand side of the road leading up to Rhydyfro, and close to the Dynevor Arms.

Looking across the road at the Welsh Wesleyan Chapel

Looking at the windows of the front of the chapel, today

Set into the left-hand side of the lower wall, is a foundation stone. There may have been one in an equivalent place on the right-hand side, but if so its front has completely decayed.

Gosodwyd y carreg hon en gof parchus am John Davies XXXXXXXXXX bu yn XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXX Abertawe Bros xxxxx xxxxx Mai xxxxxxxx

This stone was placed in the esteemed memory of John Davies

The Welsh Wesleyan Chapel has a bridge across to the main door, with a basement floor opening to a narrow passageway below, possibly joining up with the now-overgrown cut down the right-hand side.

Showing the bridge across to the main door, with basement below.

On the right, you can see where a second foundation stone used to be.

Due to a hole in the door, it was possible to aim the camera through at the interior. Whilst the fittings, and indeed the floorboards themselves, have been stripped out, this allows one to get a sense of the geography of the inside of the chapel.

Below are a couple of final views of the Welsh Wesleyan Chapel. One shows the side view, looking back from above. The other shows the view up the front of the building. It should be noted that nowhere on the building does it mention the word "Horeb", but that this is the name by which it was referred to in the newspaper, and local history books.

History of Horeb Welsh Wesleyan Chapel

The original Horeb was opened in 1845 alongside what is now Glanrhyd Road. It was rebuilt on that site in 1862, but in 1902-3 a new and larger chapel was begun on the site of three old thatched cottages (Llydiarty Fagwr) on James Street, pulled down to make room for the foundations. It reopened in 1905, now with a capacity for 500 worshipers. The preacher at the opening was Dr Jones of Bangor. The building was noted for its "spray of wild typography on the upper façade" (*), marking out the words "1902 - Wesleyaid Cymraeg" which can still be seen on the building today. It was built in the Arts and Crafts style, with a gable-entry plan.

From 1992 until its final closure in 1997, the chapel hosted the congregation (of a dozen or so members) of the English Wesleyan Methodist chapel in Holly Street, which had closed in 1992. The last minister was the Rev Pamela Cramme.


Thank you to John Ball's website for bringing together some of these sources, and allowing us to use the old postcard photograph below.


Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997
Around Pontardawe: The Second Selection, compiled by The Pontardawe Historians, Tempus Publishing, Stroud, 1999. ISBN 0-7524-1655-3
Welsh Chapels, by Anthony Jones, Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd., Stroud, 1996. ISBN 0-7509-1162-X (*)


The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW)
Coflein database; NPRN 10106

Capel Horeb from an early 20th century picture postcard, from the collection of John Ball. Thank You for allowing us to use this image.

From the Llais

The Llais newspaper had always included a round-up of happenings at local churches and chapels, even when these were not part of any particular story. Sometimes they advertised forthcoming events, and at other times who was preaching, or had preached there recently.

From the Labour Voice :-