His­toric chapel open again

Build­ing was hit by thieves

Llanelli Star - - Front Page - Ian Lewis 07790 591150 [email protected]­di­awales.co.uk

A LLANELLI chapel tar­geted by thieves who ran­sacked re­li­gious arte- facts, the chris­ten­ing font and a clock more than 140 years old, re-opened at the week­end.

Taber­nacl Chapel wel­comed wor­ship­pers on Sun­day at 3pm.

Pro­fes­sor Stu­art Cole, one of the chapel’s trus­tees, said there had been dam­age to a door as well as the thefts.

He added: “How­ever, prompt ac­tion by DyfedPowys Po­lice re­cov­ered most items.”

The chapel re-open­ing was a one-off ser­vice ahead of fur­ther talks with the con­gre­ga­tion over the long-term plan.

Pro­fes­sor Cole said: “With the chapel hav­ing been closed for some months, nat­u­rally peo­ple have gone to other chapels so we have con­tacted those chapels within a five to 10-mile ra­dius. Fol­low­ing Sun­day, we will see what the long-term plans are for ser­vices.”

Llanelli-born broad­caster Huw Ed­wards in his book Capeli Llanelli Our Rich Her­itage com­mented that Taber­nacl’s fab­ric “con­veys so­lid­ity and strength”.

“There is no build­ing in Llanelli to match its im­pos­ing grandeur,” he said. “In my view, it is even more im­pres­sive than the Town Hall which stands a few yards away. This is one of the best non­con­formist build­ings in Wales, and for many it is with­out ques­tion the most im­pres­sive chapel in the county, with its rich dec­o­ra­tion and su­perb crafts­man­ship.

“It is a grade two listed build­ing with a Ro­man, Ro­manesque, Gothic, Greek fa­cade.

“It had among its mem­bers peo­ple of great mu­si­cal and lit­er­ary abil­ity with the Rev­erend Gwylfa Roberts a lead­ing hymn writer, and the Rev­erend Gwyn­daf Evans, a past Arch­druid of the Na­tional Eisteddfod Gorsedd, among its gwenido­gion (min­is­ters). Taber­nacl was al­ways able to pick the best of a good bunch”.

In­deed, Lord El­wyn Jones served with dis­tinc­tion as Lord Chan­cel­lor, the high­est ju­di­cial post in Bri­tain.

Pro­fes­sor Cole said: “As with most chapels in Wales the mem­ber­ship num­ber at Taber­nacl Chapel, Llanelli, has de­clined.

“By the end of 1875 there were more than 500 mem­bers and half the con­struc­tion loan had been re­paid.

“Not so now, though it has seat­ing for a thou­sand.

“As an in­de­pen­dent chapel, it is owned by its con­gre­ga­tion but has close links with its ‘mother chapel’ Capel Als.”

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