Capel Jerusalem, Bethesda

Capel Jerusalem, Bethesda

This Grade 1-listed Calvinistic Methodist chapel was built in 1842 and enlarged in the 1870s. The enlarged chapel could comfortably seat 900 worshippers, or 950 including the “passages”. Behind were a “parlour”, a schoolroom and a lecture room for over 150 people.

The interior was designed to help voices carry clearly. The shape was said to resemble an amphitheatre of college lecture hall. Unusually, a section of seating at the front was provided for a 34-strong choir. At the time, it was a novelty for a Methodist chapel top have an established choir.

The rooms behind the chapel were further expanded c.1900. A second-hand organ, previously at Huddersfield town hall, was installed in 1905.

In 1939 the chapel’s pastor, the Rev T Arthur Jones, resigned in protest at the chapel deacons’ refusal to allow wartime evacuees to be schooled in the rooms. Many children had been sent to Bethesda for safety from urban areas of England where air raids were expected. Local schools couldn’t accommodate the influx but the deacons at Jerusalem rejected three appeals against their decision. Mr Jones told the church authorities in his resignation letter that he considered the refusal to be “unworthy of the Christian church and its Founder”.

Postcode: LL57 3DD    View Location Map