Former Capel Ebeneser, Caernarfon

Link to Welsh translationFormer Capel Ebeneser, Caernarfon

This Wesleyan chapel, erected in 1826, was designed by local architect John Lloyd, a devout Wesleyan. He is honoured by the Welsh name of Wesley Street (alongside the chapel) – Stryd John Llwyd.

Previously Wesleyans met at a smaller chapel, built in 1804 here in Tre’r Gôf. As membership increased, a larger chapel was needed. The gable end of the 1804 chapel still stands, at the back of the 1826 chapel. In 1834 a chapel was built behind the main chapel for English services, which moved to a new chapel (now the Freemasons’ Chapel) in Castle Street in 1877.

The present building was Wales’ largest Wesleyan chapel, designed to hold 900. The schoolroom could accommodate 400. Construction of the chapel cost £3,486. It’s one of few chapels in Wales to a Gothic design. John Lloyd’s original three doors were reduced to two when the existing porch was added, to the designs of Richard Davies.

The chapel has a stained glass window, depicting Saints Michael and Martin, in memory of Albert Victor Jones (1887-1914), youngest son of magistrate John Jones. Albert was a Cambridge graduate and worked as a solicitor before serving as a Private in the Honourable Artillery Company. He was killed in action in Belgium in November 1914. His mother Jane unveiled the window in 1918.

In 1912, a mission room was added to the chapel for the poor of the town. As was common in many chapels at the time, separate worship was provided for people who couldn’t afford a chapel subscription.

In 1921 Gwilym Lloyd George married Edna Jones here. Guests included his father, Prime Minister David Lloyd George, and mother, Dame Margaret. Gwilym was a Major in the First World War and later held various cabinet posts, being Minister of Fuel and Power for most of the Second World War. It fell to him to announce in 1955 that Cardiff was Wales’ official capital – and not its main rival Caernarfon! You can watch a news clip of the wedding party leaving the chapel on the Pathe website here.

Capel Ebeneser closed in 2018. Its 13 ministers included poet Gwilym R Tilsley.

With thanks to Rhiannon James, of Caernarfon Civic Society

Postcode: LL55 2PR    View Location Map