- Nprn: 7128
- Cadw Ref: (WO)4/40
- Cadw Record No: 4442
- Summary: Peniel is an outstanding example of early classical architecture in Wales and provides conspicuous contrast to the Gothic St. Mary's Church (NPRN 43788). The majority of the building dates from 1810-11, but the distinctive three-bay Tuscan portico, although part of the original concept, was possibly only added in 1849.
Meetings of the original cause were held in houses of the congregation and the first moves toward building a chapel were made in 1808. The chapel opened in February 1810, with the Thomas Charles of Bala and Alexander Madocks (the developer of Tremadog) attending although building work continued into 1811. One of the biggest Methodist chapels of its day, it served the new town of Tremadog, the land leased from Mr Madocks for a peppercorn rent. In 1810 Madocks promised £50 for a portico, but only £10 was forthcoming (Board of Celtic Studies database). Seating had not been included in the original estimate, but by 1809 it was decided to have seats along the two sides and benches in the middle: the interior was lit by candles. In 1840 a gallery was built against the front wall to accommodate the increasing congregation numbers and in 1849 the present columns of the facade were put in place by John & Gershon Thomas, Porthmadog, Mr John Williams, agent to the Tremadoc Estate acting as 'Archwyliwr' (Plan - NLW Ms., CM Archive, E106115). From 1857 the chapel was lit by gas and repairs of 1860 included the installation of seats, with the chapel being re-opened on November 2nd. In 1880 the gallery was extended round 3 sides of the chapel and improvements of 1898 included the present Sedd Fawr and pulpit. In 1908-10 the present ceiling was inserted. A heating boiler was installed in 1952 and electric light for both chapel and Ty Capel was introduced in 1953.
In 1905, the Royal Commission on the Church of England and Other Religious Bodies in Wales and Monmouthshire record seating for 600 in the chapel and for 100 in the schoolroom; 1851 Religious Census figures for Ffestiniog District are missing.
The chapel exterior is of cream painted roughcast, with a slate roof above projecting eaves. Two full width slate steps lead up to a giant Tuscan portico of two columns, the triangular pediment sporting a wheel window and panelled spandrels. At the rear of the portico are two entrances, flanking a nine-pane hornless sash window, with three further suare-headed sash windows above. The side elevations are built of large, irregular blocks of stone and each have three further twelve-pane sash windows. The rear elevation has an offset three-light round-headed window with Gothic glazing bars.
Within, the chapel has scribed plaster walls above a matchboard dado and a raked wooden floor. The ground floor seating is of panelled box pews, divided into three main blocks with the outer blocks facing obliquely to the pulpit, and a fouth smaller block facing at right angles to the pulpit. The Sedd Fawr is enclosed by two tier pine panelling and reached only from the NW. A central projection incorporates a lecturn, either side of which is a curved, cushioned bench seat. The pulpit is by the firm of Owen Morris Roberts & Sons, Porthmadog and is reached by 5 steps up to each side. The projecting pulpit incorporates some hardwood and the facing panel is framed by fluted pilasters with ancanthus leaf designs, with reiefs of foliage and flowers to the cetre panel. To the rear is a pine framed and cushion sofa, above which rises a plaster pulpit arch with fluted pilasters and a keystone decorate with a foliate motif incorporating ears of wheat. To each side of the pulpit arch is a door: that on the north connecting to the rear schoolroom, that on the south formerly leading to the chapel house but now partially blocked by late 19th century matchboarding.
The raked gallery of 1880 runs around three sides and may incorporate the end gallery of 1840. It is supported by 7 fluted Roman Doric columns and has a front of moulded pine panels with an inset clock opposite the pulpit. The seating is of open bench pews.
The ceiling (dating from 1908-10) is boarded with large panels, moulded ribs and a central ornate ceiling rose, the tracery of which replicates that of the wheel window to the pediment. The raked gallery is mounted on cast iron fluted columns, and has a panelled soffit, panelled front and central clock. The main floor consists of numbered boxed pews, and a late nineteenth century set fawr.
The single storey schoolroom was built in the late 19th century. It 2 semi-circular window to the gable with three flat-headed sash windows to the SW elevation. interior has panelled dado, perhaps reusing pre 1860 seating and gallery panelling. Flat ceiling with 2 circular plaster roses and a central vent of intertwined metalwork with a flowerhead
Cadw Listed Buildings Record
RCAHMW Inventory Documents
Haslam, Orbach and Voelcker (2009), The Buildings of Wales: Gwynedd. Pevsner Architectural Guide, page 527.
RCAHMW, March 2014
- Description: Chapel built 1810-11; enlarged 1840 & modified 1849,1857, 1860 & 1880. Enlarged/rebuilt again 1880 with further alterations 1898, 1908-10 & 1953. Building style is Classical, gable entry type. Status (1998): in chapel use.
History & development: Founded 1811 (Royal Commission on the Church of England and other religious bodies). Meetings were initially held in members' houses. Moves towards building the chapel were made in 1808 and the chapel opened in February (10th, 17th & 18th), 1810, although the work on it was not completed until 1811. Present at the opening ceremony were Thomas Charles of Bala, John Elias and Mr Alexander Madocks. It was one of the biggest Methodist chapels of its day in the area, serving Mr Madock's new settlemnet of Tremadog, with its 68 houses and 303 inhabitants. Despite the Bishop of Bangor's criticism, the land for the chapel was leased from Mr Madocks for a peppercorn rent. About 1810, Mr Madocks had promised 50 towards building a portico but, as only 10 was forthcoming, no portico was initially built (Board of Celtic Studies database). Seating had not been included in the original estimate but, by 1809, it was decided to have seats along the 2 sides and benches in the middle. The chapel was lit by candles at first. In 1840, with an increase in the numbers, a gallery was built against one gable. In 1849, with a feeling for the need for adornment, the present columns were added in front of the chapel by John and Gershon Thomas from Porthmadog, Mr John Wlliams (d. 1850), agent to the Tremadoc estate, acting as "archwyliwr"; the work was done according to the "Plan" (NLW Ms., CM Archive, E106115). Mr Williams gave 10 for the work because columns were included in the initial plan for the chapel. Do front windows and doors also date from 1849?. From 1857 the chapel was lit by gas. Repairs of 1860 included installation of seats ("Eisteddleoedd"), the chapel being re-opened on November 2nd. In 1880 the gallery was extended round 3 sides of the chapel. Improvements of 1898 included the present Sedd Fawr and pulpit. In 1908-10 the present ceiling was inserted and the chapel painted. A heating boiler was installed in 1952 and electric light for both chapel and Ty Capel was introduced in 1953 (R.G. Jones, Hanes cychwyn yr achos yn Nhremadog: Peniel MC, agorwyd 1810. Chapel documents.).
Accommodation: in 1905, seating for 600 in the chapel and for 100 in the schoolroom (Royal Commission on the Church of England and other religious bodies). (1851 Religious Census figures for Ffestiniog District are missing).
Summary: involvement of Maddock's estate in original design and in design of columns added in 1849? Stone-built gable façade chapel with added pediment and portico; 2 entries leading to small chapel-cum-gallery stair lobbies. Stuccoed façade. Sash windows with glazing bars, of mid C19? Interior: ground floor raked down to pulpit. Box pews arranged as centre block of paired pews and side blocks of single pews, the outer ends of side pews raked forward. Gallery round 3 sides with open bench seats. Centrepiece of ceiling echoing front pediment window. Attached chapel house and later vestry.
Front (NE.) elevation: 2 full-width slate steps to slate floor under giant distyle Tuscan portico in antis, the entablature with no distinction for architrave. Triangular pediment with wheel window in centre and flanking panelled spandrels, the mouldings picked out in red. Red-painted bases to columns and antae. Cream-painted side and rear walls to portico, white-painted ceiling with trap door, the ceiling about .4 ms. Lower than the internal chapel ceiling. At the back of the portico, the 3-bay front wall of the chapel has a centre window and flanking doorways on ground floor, beneath three 1st-floor windows. A slate step to each chamfered doorway, each containing a mid ?C19 single door, painted and grained and of (6? Ch.) raised and fielded panels; brown-painted metal latch. Brown-painted frames and white glazing bars to the sash windows; chamfered window opening to 9-pane sash winow with trellis tracery on ground floor and three 12-pane sashes in unchamfered openings above.
Forecourt laid to grass on SE., with grass strip on NW., fringing tarmacadam ground in middle. Chapel ground enclosed by stone boundary wall on NW., SE., and NE., and for all or part of SW. boundary; at front entrance, square rock-faced gate piers with pyramidal caps and iron gates, the gates donated in 1940.
Side (NW. and SE.) elevations: 2-storey, 3-bay side elevations: built of large, irregular blocks of stone with large mortar spaces. Deep projecting eaves. 12-pane sash windows without horns in flat-headed openings with slate projecting cills and C20 plain rendered architraves; louvred gratings; iron tie.
Rear (SW.) elevation: plain white-painted and rendered rear gable; 2 semi-circular windows of 3-lights with Y-tracery and flat glazing bars (renewed?) ; the gable walls of Ty Capel and the schoolroom are built against the ground floor.
Interior: the 2 chapel-cum-gallery stair lobbies each have a slate-flagged floor, continuing in from external doorstep; pale-grey painted walls, lined as if for ashlar. Each with later-C19 door to chapel of 4 moulded panels, painted mustard, with C20 flush board on chapel face; ca. 1900 brass handles; overlight of etched opaque glass with margin panes (red at sides, 2 gold margin panes top & bottom & blue angle panes). Over the foot of the gallery stairs, a C19 plaster arch with 2-panel soffit and egg-and-dart and bead-and-reel mouldings. Timber gallery stairs of ?1841, comprising bottom step with tread of ca. .77 ms. Depth under gallery door; a further straight step, 3 steps on turn, and upper flight of 10 steps, with a further shallow and oblique step at the top, at present gallery level, the last perhaps denoting the addition of 1880 work to previous gallery construction. Stairs rise between pale-green painted plaster walls, lined; painted and grained and stopped and chamfered wooden stair enclosure towards the top of the stairs.
Chapel interior: timber floors above and below, raked down on ground floor to pulpit end. Orange-brown cord carpet in ground floor aisles and Sedd Fawr enclosure; khaki coloured matting strip in lateral aisle of gallery. Later-C19 matchboarded dado against side walls at ground floor, also flanking pulpit against SW. end wall, and in side walls of recess between entrance lobbies. In gallery, matchboarded dado forms part of splayed reveals to lateral windows; it is well above cill level of rear windows and extends in front of them. Pale-green painted plaster walls. Later? Semi-circular windows flaking pulpit at gallery level have chamfered jambs, raked & painted-plaster cills, slightly splayed reveals of white-painted plaster and three-quarter angle beads, moulded heads on scroll and foliage brackets with green-painted ?oak leaf. Otherwise, side and rear ground-floor and gallery windows have flat heads with chamfered jambs and white-painted splayed reveals; matchboarded cills, largely raking in lateral ground-floor windows, whose heads are partly obscured by gallery soffit; rear ground-floor window with matchboarded shelf above flat, white cill. Wall vents with clasped fist handles: on ground floor, 3 each side & 2 at rear: stamped "Barrol patent: David Rowell & Co., Westminster". Vents cased as pilasters in gallery. Vent or window opening device at foot of pulpit stairs. Gas lamp brackets. Raked and white-painted plaster soffit to gallery. Arch behind pulpit has fluted pilasters with composite caps, moulded head and ornamental keyblock (tripartite foliage motif with ears of wheat); C20 wallpapering to arched recess; gas lamp bracket to each side. To each side of both the pulpit & pulpit arch there is a mid-C19 doorway with moulded architrave and 6-panel door, the door on N. connecting with the rear schoolroom, and the door on S. now part covered by matchboarding of 1860?, and formerly leading to the chapel house. Both doors are painted and grained towards the chapel, and the N. door has beige-painted sunk panels on the schoolroom side.
Ceiling: white-painted moulded ceiling cornice. Flat ceiling of 1908-10, divided into terracotta-painted, and largely natchboarded panels, by white-painted and moulded ribs. Ceiling with matchboarded margin strips, mitred at the 4 corners and inset with elongated and reeded hexagonal panels (2 longer panels at NE. and SW. ends and 4 shorter panels on NW. & SE.); within the margin strips, the ceiling is divided into 2 sets of 4 panels, of mitred diagonal matchboarding, with centrepiece of large circular rose-cum-vent; the tracery of the centre vent is a replica of the circular front pediment window (see exterior), enclosed by inner border of red 6-petal flowers alternating with green-painted 4-petal heads; outer border of intertwined guilloche; waterleaf and dart edging.
Ground-floor seating: stopped and chamfered panel box pews. Paired centre block pews have continuous seat divider made up of stopped and chamfered panels of 2 panel depth. Pew seats with backs of 2 stopped and chamfered horizontal panel width; single vertical panel stopped and chamfered panel door. Main block numbered 17 (back) to 26 on SE. and, on NW., 27 (fr.) to 36 (rear) with an unnumbered seat at the front and with 2 pews depth of attached, narrower pews at the rear: 15 (rear) & 16 on the SE., and 37 & 38 on the NW.; a further seat with 4 stopped and chamfered-panel back is set against the back wall, unattached to the main centre block. The front pews (25 & 26 (fr.) on NW. and 27 (fr.) and 28 on SE.), are divided into 3, making way for the Viscount electronic organ, (formerly a harmonium here?). The side block pews, facing obliquely towards the pulpit (see "Summary"), have seat backs of 2 horizontal panel width, and are numbered on NW.: 3 (at fr.) to 14 plus an unnumbered seat at the front; on SE., numbered 39 (at rear) to 50 (at front). At pulpit end, a single block on NW., facing at right angles on to the pulpit and numbered 1 (in front) and 2, with an unnumbered seat in the front. The corresponding block on the SE. side has been altered and retains only an unnumbered rear seat and a bench seat with matchboarded dado back along the SW. return.
Gallery: the gallery of 1880 round 3 sides of the chapel may incorporate structure from the 1840 gallery against the gable end (see shallow step and gallery floor above the gallery staircases). The 1880 gallery front is curved round the rear intersections, and is supported by a gallery beam of ca. 2 ms. Depth, in turn supported by 7 (2 to each side and 3 at back) fluted "Roman Doric" columns to which are bolted iron brackets supporting the .65 ms deep and panelled soffit to the gallery front. Gallery front soffit faced with stopped and chamfered panelling, of 2 panels width and 2 panels length between each column. Curved gallery front faced with varnished/ polished pine and with alternating square and horizontal moulded panels between top and bottom cornices, the top cornice with a nailhead course below it.
Gallery seating: painted and grained open-bench seats: vertical stopped and chamfered-panel seat backs with three-quarter top mouldings; flat-topped and shaped and chamfered bench ends. Each side from pulpit end: 1): single block of seats of 3 seats depth, the front 2 seats with vertical-panel backs of 4-panel width and the rear with matchboarded dado as back. Numbered on SE. side: 2 (middle seat) & 3 (front) and numbered on NW.: 36 (front) & 37 (middle); rear seat numbers not visible; 2): paired block of seats of 2 seats depth, each seat with 5-panel back. Numbered on SE. side: 4 (front) & 5 at SW. end of block, and 6 (rear) & 7 at NE. end. Numbered on NW. side of chapel: 32 (front) & 33 on NE. side of block & 34 (rear) and 35 on SW.; 3): paired and triple block of 2 seats depth, the NE. seats curved round rear gallery intersections. SW. seats in block have 4-panel seat backs and are numbered 8 (fr.) and 9 on SE. side of chapel and 30 (r.) & 31 on NW. side. The curved NE. seats in the block (3)) are paired in the wider back seat and single at the front: numbered on SE. side of chapel: 10 & 13 at the back and 14 in the front; numbered on NW. side of chapel: 26 & 29 at the back and 25 at the front. 4): Curved aisle to rear of 3) above, with vertical panelling in front of a curved seat with 5-panel seat back, this seat numbered 12 on SE., and 27 on NW.; 5): rear corner seat with matchboarded dado back, numbered 11 in S. corner and 28 in N.; 6): paired block of seats behind gallery clock, 5-seats depth, 4-panel verical seat backs, the rear seats with matchboarded dado back. Numbered on SE. side: 15 (fr.) to 18 (rear) and on NW. side: 21 (rear) to 24 with unnumbered seat behind. Unattached benches also, e.g. against lateral walls and in front of 4. above.
Sedd Fawr & pulpit: 1 step up on NW. only to Sedd Fawr enclosure, the enclosure bounded by 2-tier varnished pine panelling, curved round the front corners and projecting in centre front for lectern; varnished pine plinth. Almost square moulded panels below middle string, 2 small oblong panels per lower panel width above; moulded top cornice below flat polished hardwood top rail; centre projection faced with 2 lower panels and 4 upper. To each side of hardwood lectern, a curved bench seat in form of quadrant, with red upholstered button backs and flat buttoned cushioned seats; at either end, moulded wood arm on support with ball finial.
Pulpit: by firm of Owen Morris Roberts & Son, Architects, Porthmadog? 5 steps up each side to pulpit: turned balusters and cut string; bulbous hardwood newels at bottom with shaft rings, octagonal caps and tiered finials; the top-of-the-stair newels are stopped and chamfered with caps and ball finials, the front newel incorporating the middle string and top cornice from the pulpit. The rear, top of stair newel connects with the pine-framed and crimson-upholstered sofa at the back of the pulpit. The varnished pine pulpit incorporates hardwood in some panels and in the handrail: it projects forward in the centre, and there is a further projection for the lectern: both the sides of the front projection and the front of the pulpit dais to each side of the projection, are faced with single vertical panels, both above and below the middle pulpit string; shallow strip of balustrading over, below crowning cornice. The centre front of the pulpit, of 2-panel width, is framed by fluted pilasters with acanthus leaf and scrolled-bracket caps, and is faced with 2 oblong panels below middle string and 2 round-arched panels above, the latter carved with reliefs of foliage and flower heads; shallow fretwork panel
under crowning dentil cornice.
In Sedd Fawr enclosure: communion table with hardwood top with single drop leaf; pine-turned legs; flanking chairs with ornated carved backs and side arms: crimson upholstered seats, seat back panels and arm pads.
Musical instruments: Viscount electronic organ,
model JUB 227.
Ty Capel: exterior: early-mid C19. 2-storey stone-built house with pebbledash cladding. Slate roof with stacks removed. Schoolroom built against its NW. elevation; blank SW. gable. In SE. elevation: 12-pane sash window both above and below on l.h., the ground-floor window with horns; 9-pane ground-floor sash window to r.h. under two 2-light 1st-floor windows.
Ty Capel: interior: staircase against rear gable of chapel; upper floor not seen (rented out); ground flooor modernized and serving as chapel kitchen on SW., with corridor on NE., leading to C20 toilet extension.
Schoolroom: exterior: this 1-storey, slate-roofed and later-C19 building is lower than Ty Capel and fenestrated in its NW. wall and SW. gable. The SW. gable is lit by 2 semi-circular window openings with grey-painted slate cills, and 6-pane sash windows with Y-tracery in their heads; louvred vents to each side; white bargeboard. NW. elevation: three 4-pane sash windows with horns and slate cills; the entrance lobby to the schoolroom is wrapped round the SW. end of the NW. elevation of the chapel and is entered via a stopped-chamfered doorway with red-painted wooden-boarded door.
Schoolroom: interior: NW. schoolroom lobby with slate-flagged floor. Schoolroom with panelled dado, perhaps largely comprising seating panelling from pre-1860 seating, and panelling from 1840 gallery front? 2 tiers of moulded panels as dado at rear of dais; 1-panel depth on S. dais return; along SE. side, sunk single-tier panel and 2-tier moulded panels. Along NW. side, square (3) and horizontal (5) panels with extruded ends, perhaps from former gallery front? Cream-painted plaster walls. Flat-headed window openings in NW. wall with matchboarded cills, splayed reveals and angle beads; wall vents each with a clasped fist handle. 3-bay ceiling - 2 plaster-cased trusses partly visible - with sloping sides and with flat ceiling at collar level; the flat ceiling carries 2 outer moulded plaster and circular roses with plain green & brown painted mouldings; larger circular centre vent with beige-painted intertwined metal work, and gilded flower head. Large late-C19 to early_C20 glazed bookcase-cum-cupboard at NE. end. 1 step up to SW. dais on which is an upright piano with "Challen" above keyboard, also a table-cum-cupboard with single dropleaf. Also on dais, 2 iron-framed wood bench seats with moveable backs, with 2 similar on NW. side of schoolroom and 3 on SE.. Other furniture includes later-C20 stacking chairs and folding tables with "formica" tops. 2 doors in SE. wall, both leading into the Ty Capel, the NE. door a later-C19? 4-panel door
OJ 16/6; visited 12/6/97
Welsh Office Provisional List of 1950 refers to the tradition that the chapel was formerly a theatre and that Sheridan's play "The Rivals" was performed in the building in 1808 (OMJ 23/09/1997).
- Front Columns: 1849 Source:RCAHMW
- Front Columns: 1849 Source:RCAHMW
- Gallery Extended: 1880 Source:RCAHMW
- End Gallery: 1840 Source:RCAHMW
- Repairs, Alterations: 1860 Source:RCAHMW
- Built: c.1807 Source:Welsh Office (1950)
- Built: 1820A Source:Welsh Office (1974)
- Opened: 1810 Source:RCAHMW
- Present Ceiling: 1908-1910 Source:RCAHMW
- Electric Light: 1953 Source:RCAHMW
- Gas Lighting: 1857 Source:RCAHMW
- Built: 1810 Source:
- Date Of Chapel: 1910 Source:
- Carpenter: 1849 John Williams, Tremadog
- Chapel: 12/06/1997 (Site visit)
- Chapel: 2010 (Denominational Yearbook)
- Welsh: 15/05/1998 (Site visit - N Hughes)
- Monument Type: CHAPEL
- Form: Building
- Storey: Two Storey
- Style: Classical
- Gallery: On Three Sides
- Plan: Gable Entry
- Pulpit Position: Rear Wall
- Window Glazing: Small Pane
- Windows: Flat-Headed
Key Details of this Chapel
Key Dates of this Chapel
Key People in this Chapel History
Changes of Status its History
The Languages of the Chapel during its History
Key Characteristics of this Chapel
Images from Coflein
- Grid Reference: SH56263989
- Address: CHURCH STREET, TREMADOC