Former Trinity chapel, Abertillery

The foundation stone of the original Calvinisitic Methodist chapel here was laid in 1877 by Jane Jones, who was one of Abertillery’s earliest residents and a successful businesswoman. She was also a founder of Carmel chapel, where she laid the foundation stone. Trinity provided services in English, Carmel in Welsh.

Jane Hughes (1822-1903) grew up in the Six Bells area. She married Edward Jones and in 1848 they became the first sub-postmaster and sub-postmistress of Abertillery. The initial post office was on the railway station platform. Their son Samuel Nathan Jones also had a flair for business, and instigated construction of the Abertillery Arcade.

Jane was already a widow by the time she laid the foundation stones of Trinity chapel and promptly donated £20 to the construction fund. The press described her as a “kind and beneficent lady”.

The Christian revival which swept across Wales in 1904 and 1905 brought hundreds more people to the town’s Methodist chapels. The workmen’s institute was temporarily used for worship, and work began on a larger Trinity chapel – the building we see today. The chapel opened in February 1906 with capacity for 700 people. It also had a vestry and six classrooms for Sunday school. The classroom partitions could be moved to form a hall for lectures.

The annual Abertillery Eisteddfod was held under the auspices of Trinity chapel from 1900. The 1910 event included prizes for musical performances, recitation, drawing, essay writing and a speech on the subject: “Should women have votes?”.

In 1902 the Abertillery Anti-Vaccination League held a meeting here and passed a resolution stating that the UK’s Vaccination Acts were irrational and tyranical. Parliament had made vaccination against smallpox compulsory for all babies in 1853 and all children aged under 14 in 1867. It introduced an opt-out for conscientious objectors in 1898.

The chapel closed in 1949 and became a furniture showroom. Renovation work began in January 2024 to turn the building into a library and space for community, work and education activities.

With thanks to Graham Bennett

Postcode: NP13 1DH View Location Map

More Trinity Chapel history on Graham Bennett’s website