Some Captured History of Glanamman and Garnant
Bethania Chapel, Glanamman, October 2007
Bethania Chapel is sited on Brynlloi Road at Glanamman and was built because Tabernacle, the original methodist chapel at Glanamman, was regarded as having insufficient capacity to cope with the growing number of methodists moving into the locality. It was designed to accomodate 750 people and included a large vestry. The building work commenced on the 10th of September 1905 and the following people were involved in the laying of the foundations stones in the following November:
Bethania Calvanistic Methodist Chapel was designed by architect David Williams of Swansea and is now a grade II listed building. The construction was carried out by the contractors Brown, Thomas and John of Llanelli and the total cost, including the organ was £3,410 9s 6d, which in more recent tterms (i.e.estimated value of the £ in 2013), would amount to approximately £340,000.
As was customary at that time, a pamphlet was published listing the Donors and Contributors towards the Building Fund.
The new chapel was incorporated at the monthly meeting
on 3rd December 1907 by the Rev. Rhystyd Davies of Brynamman and Mr
John John of Ammanford.
Images of the hymn booklet can be seen on a seperate webpage
Bethania Chapel started with 160 members. In the early days of the chapel, the officials were:
Rev John Oliver
Tthe following were elected as Chapel Elders in 1908:
In order to meet the financial requirements of the chapel, various concerts, cantatas, lectures, dramas and literary meetings were held in the vestry.
Between 1917 and 1918, the Band of Hope was started
under the care of Mr D. M. Jones with the assistance of Mr Ben Davies.
The meeting was held every Sunday afternoon at 5pm and there was honour
in being a member of such a group, which taught the importance of
temperance and the benefits of abstinance from alcohol.
Although its sides are rendered, Bethania Chapel is striking for its ornate facade, incorporating Baroque, Beaux-Arts and Palladian themes. Acanthus leaf and festoon decoration above its North facing windows and the great arch above the cornice draw the eye upwards, where the words "BETHEL METHODISTIAID CALFINAIDD" boldly announce the denomination of the proud building. At the highest point of Bethania's facade is a "torch finial".
The interior of the Chapel is also ornate; with mouldings, a deeply coved ceiling, seven cast iron columns supporting the three sided gallery and various other decorative features. The organ is situated behind the raised pulpit and bears the makers name: "Peter Conacher & Co. Huddersfield".
Bethania Chapel is a grade II listed building because
of its "unusually elaborate design which illustrates the final
flowering of chapel architecture in Wales". Its importance in
a historical context is due to its illustration of "the richness
of chapel architecture associated with prosperity in local coal mining
and tinplate industries before 1914." It became listed on 9th
Bethania, with Brynseion in Background, October 2007.
The vestry walls proudly displayed four photographs, three of which were of previous methodist ministers. These were, the Rev. Jenkyn Lewis, who served as Bethania's minister for 36 years from September 1926 to December 1964; Rev. E. Alun Thomas, who served from August 1965 to September 1982 and Rev. Meirion Morris who was Bethania's minister from 1985 to 1991.
Reverend Jenkyn Lewis
The above photograph was given pride of place next to the stage where the Reverend Lewis almost seemed to be maintaining a caring eye over his flock. The respect for which he was held by his congregation is evident by the memorial plaque which was displayed on the interior wall of the chapel.
Memorial Plaque for Rev. Jenkyn Lewis.
Also shown in the above photograph is a medal awarded to Mrs Jenny Joshua of Glanamman, for faithfulness to the chapel.
Sadly, with a declining congregation, the maintenance and running of the chapel became unsustainable and the last service was conducted on the 29th of December 2013 before its subsequent closure. The building was sold at a Cardiff auction in September 2014 to a private owner.
Thanks to CADW for the information on Bethania Chapel, which they
referenced from the following sources: