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Pen-rhiw chapel interior, Museum of Welsh LifeMuseum of Welsh Life. If you would like to see the original item, or require information regarding copyright, please contact the repository/contributor named above.
Pen-rhiw chapel originally stood in Dre-fach, Felindre, Carmarthenshire, but was re-erected at the Welsh Folk Museum (now the Museum of Welsh Life), St. Fagans in 1956.
Pen-rhiw Unitarian Chapel was opened in 1777 and is typical of early Welsh Nonconformist chapels. It is a simple, unadorned structure with entrances in one of the long walls; later chapels are much grander and have doorways in ornamental gable walls. In this instance an earlier building, very possibly a barn, was adapted in 1777 for the use of the Unitarians, a tolerant denomination with a long and interesting history in Wales.
The original chapel had a loft which was removed in the 19th century and the present gallery was added, greatly increasing the seating capacity. The pews downstairs are all slightly different, showing they were originally built for the families who then took responsibility for them. The chapel deacons sat in a pew to the side of the high pulpit, which was raised when the gallery was built. The floor of the building is of beaten earth except for the communion area which is boarded. The stone seats, which are to be seen in the bank outside, were used during preaching festivals.
Unitarians have always valued learning and the chapel housed both elementary and grammar schools during its history. It is still a consecrated building with worship taking place at regular intervals.
Description provided by the Museum of Welsh Life.