Crescent Christian Centre, Newtown

PWMP logoCrescent Christian Centre, Newtown

This centre combines three former nonconformist chapels within a building erected in 1878-79. War memorials from all three chapels are displayed inside.

The building was originally Crescent English Presbyterian Church. It replaced the town’s first English-language Calvinist chapel, erected in Chapel Street in 1845. The Gothic-style church cost more than £3,500 to build and accommodated 350 people on the ground floor plus 100 along its gallery. It stands on a corner plot given by Lord Sudeley.

Edward Parry, the church’s pastor from 1878 to 1919, was known as the “Welsh Carnegie” because he founded Sunday School libraries in remote parts of Wales. (American industrialist Andrew Carnegie funded thousands of public libraries worldwide.) The Rev Parry died in a house fire at Aelybryn, Newtown, in 1919.

Electric light and a power supply for the organ were installed in 1937. In the Second World War, the church had to comply with blackout rules. Fitting blackout curtains to the large windows cost £8 (about £450 today).

In 2002 a storm destroyed the church’s roof. The church reopened in September 2009 as the Crescent Christian Centre, in which Crescent Presbyterian Chapel was joined by Welsh-language Bethel Presbyterian Chapel (formerly on New Road) and the Independents’ Capel Coffa (formerly on Milford Road). Separate English and Welsh services are held in the centre, which is also used almost daily for secular activities.

War memorials inside record members of all three chapels who served in the First World War. Among them was Wallace Humphreys, an air mechanic with the Royal Flying Corps and later the RAF. He was part of a major offensive in March 1918 to destroy German aerodromes. Having survived the war, he died of pneumonia in France in February 1919, aged 30.

With thanks to David Peate, Capel (the Chapels Heritage Society) and Newtown Local History Group

Postcode: SY16 2DZ    View Location Map