Former Capel Pendref, Caernarfon

button-theme-slavesFormer Capel Pendref, Caernarfon

Capel Pendref was Caernarfon’s first purpose-built chapel. In 1722 a small number of residents began to meet as a community of Nonconformists (not conforming to the Church of England's confession of faith). By 1782 they were numerous enough to formalise as a church but the landowners of the town, as churchmen, refused them a building of their own.

Old photo of Capel Pendref in 1950
Capel Pendref in 1950,
courtesy of the RCAHMW and its Coflein website

Mrs Lloyd Edwards, of the Nanhoron family of Llŷn, obtained a lease for a plot of land on which Capel Pendref and a residential house were built. The Independent chapel opened in 1791, set back from the road. It was rebuilt and enlarged three times, ultimately accommodating a congregation of 500 people.

The old photo, courtesy of the Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Wales, shows the chapel in 1950. The neighbouring buildings, which included a cinema, were demolished and the chapel steps reshaped before the road was widened.

The chapel’s most famous minister was the poet Caledfryn, the Rev William Williams, between 1832 and 1848. Among the causes he supported were eisteddfodau, opposition to the Corn Laws, the Peace Society, disestablishment of the Anglican church from the state, and standard of the Welsh language.

ystradgynlais_moses_roperOn 29 October 1841 a talk was given here by the former American slave Moses Roper (pictured left). After torture and persecution, he had successfully fled on the 15th attempt to reach the legal security of Britain. His book 'Narrative of Roper's Escape from Slavery' was published in 1839, and 5,000 copies of the Welsh translation were printed.

Another Independent chapel, Salem, was opened Caernarfon in 1862 and over the next century Pendref's membership decreased. By 1972 the Pendref was without a minister. There was a period of ministerial sharing but due to falling numbers the chapel closed in 2012. It was bought by the Celtic Royal Hotel for the purpose of administrating weddings.

With thanks to Clive James, of Caernarfon Civic Society

Postcode: LL55 1AT    View Location Map

Copies of the old photo and other images are available from the RCAHMW. Contact: nmr.wales@rcahmw.gov.uk