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Churches & Chapels

The Welsh Language

Historically, the language of Beaufort was Welsh. The Reverend Peter Williams' monograph, 'The Story of Carmel', concerning Carmel Congregational Church (chapel) in Beaufort, published in 1965 is useful here. Williams reports that between 1904 and 1906, the change was made to conduct the morning Sunday service in English, whereas previously both the morning and evening services had been in Welsh. From the 1830s until the early 1900s, Beaufort was bilingual with both Welsh and English-language chapels: before the 1830s - and possibly much later - the community was primarily Welsh-speaking. Elements of a Welsh service continued (e.g. in Carmel Chapel) until the 1970s. Amongst its Nonconformist chapels, the Welsh Independent Congregational Chapel 'Carmel' was pre-eminent, rising to national fame under the leadership of Thomas Rees DD (author of History of Protestant Nonconformity in Wales, whose second edition was printed in 1883). According to the 2001 census, 440 residents, or 11.7% of the village's population aged 3 and over can now speak Welsh. This gives Beaufort the highest percentage of Welsh Speakers in Blaenau Gwent.

Carmel Chapel

Carmel Chapel is a Grade II listed building.  Built 1865, The architect was Rev. Thomas Thomas of Swansea, who designed several chapels for the Independents, many characterised by a bold Classical facade with a giant arch breaking into the pediment.

Exterior

Classical facade of rock-faced sandstone with grey ashlar limestone quoins also applied around openings. Slate roof. Pedimental gable broken by central giant arch; ashlar quoins. Within arch is round-arched entry, which has C20 doors. Tripartite ashlar window above with segmental head; round arched lights, very narrow to sides. Above is a large tablet inscribed :-‘Carmel Independent Chapel 1865’.

Outer bays each have a tall round-arched window with simple timber glazing. Ashlar sill-band. West side (facing road) is rendered with five tall round-arched windows set within round-arched recesses: glazing similar to the front. Single storey rear vestry.

Interior

Four-sided gallery with long panels set between pilasters: applied grained finish, typical of the 1860s. Gallery stepped down behind pulpit for organ. Gallery has thin iron posts with applied marbled finish. Box pews, some dismantled to rear of ground floor. Serpentine-fronted pulpit of mahogany, with turned balusters in outer bays, and sweeping side stairs. Flat painted ceiling, boarded and ribbed to centre with large central rose. Large pipe organ in gallery behind pulpit.

St John's Church
St David's Church
Carmel Chapel
Barham Chapel
Bethel Wesleyan  Chapel
Bethesda Chapel
Primitive Methodist Chapel
Soar Baptist Chapel
St Andrew's  Church
Whitsun Sunday School walks
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