Chapel appeal: Royal Commission needs for your help survey of Welsh chapels

Friday 9 December 2011, 15:55

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Nonconformist chapels in Wales form a key part of the Welsh landscape, whether rural or urban. During the last two centuries, over 6,500 chapels were built in Wales, and chapels have a strong cultural and social importance to the heritage of Wales.

Interior view of Ebenezer Chapel, Tumble

Interior view of Ebenezer Chapel, Tumble (Photo: Crown copyright)

Today chapels are one of the classes of building most at threat of closure in Wales. They are disappearing almost as quickly as they appeared in their heyday.

Over the last few years, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, in conjunction with Capel has been carrying out a systematic programme of collecting and analysing information about these building. One important aspect of the project is to record what is happening to chapel buildings today.

This survey aims to establish the status of each chapel, if it is still in active use, or whether it has been converted, demolished, is lying disused or derelict, or in another state.

Where a chapel conversion has taken place the Royal Commission are recording new uses, and are also noting any chapels which are in a transitional phase of being for sale or in the planning process.

Currently there is a variation in the data coverage of Wales that the Royal Commission survey has collected. In Anglesey, for example, the survey is only missing the status for three chapels, representing less than 2% of the original total.

Unfortunately, in the urbanised historic counties of Glamorgan and Monmouth, the picture is more complex and less than a half and a third respectively has been recorded.

Can you help the Royal Commission to record the present use of chapels? They are aiming to complete this element of the research by the end of December 2011.Lists of chapels for which they are looking for information are available from anne.harris@rcahmw.gov.uk or susan.fielding@rcahmw.gov.uk

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