Bethel Community Church

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Architecture & Design

The Architects who designed the new chapel were W.G. Habershon & Fawkner of London, Newport and Cardiff. The Builder was Mr C. Miles of Newport. Following the laying of the foundation stone, construction proceeded quickly and the new chapel was opened on 26th June 1884, with Rev. George Osborn of London preaching from Isaiah 45:22-24. 


The Architect’s original description of the building:

The walls are to be faced with grey stone, and relieved with Bath stone dressings and tracery to windows. The building is designed in the Gothic style and is capable of accommodating on the ground floor 588 people and in the gallery 393, being a total of 981. The internal dimensions are 69’6” (21.2m) long and 52’ (15.9m) wide, the height to the wall plate being 25’ (7.6m) and to ceiling 46’6” (14.2m). 

The roof is to be formed by panels divided by moulded ribs, supported by arches resting upon ornamental iron pillars. The whole of the woodwork is to be in pitch pine, stained and varnished. The gallery front is to have iron panels of a very chaste design. The building will be well lighted throughout. 

The schoolroom is spacious, and contains five classrooms and a large classroom also for infants, which has a separate entrance. The main school is 52’6” (16.0m) wide and 44’6” (13.6m) long and has 3 entrances. The class rooms have fire-places so that they can be used for meetings without using the warming apparatus. The necessary conveniences are ample and suitably arranged. 

The tower and spire will rise to a height of 115’ (35.1m) from the road and will form a prominent landmark. 

The main entrance, which is a projecting portal is surmounted by an ornamental gable and carved finial. The side facing Stow Hill is relieved by transepts surmounted by gables, which break the roof line. The upper windows are to have ornamental tracery. 

The roofs are to be covered with slates, laid in alternate bands. The vestibules will be laid with tiles. The cost of the new chapel was estimated to be around £7,000 (over £500,000 at today’s costs).


References in the Monmouthshire Merlin & South Wales Advertiser refer to the chapel being “the handsomest ecclesiastical edifice in the town” and “the gracefully-proportioned spire points out the locality of the chapel from all parts of the neighbourhood and from Stow Hill the edifice looks remarkably well”.