The Original Presbyterian Chapel Six Bells.
The Presbyterian Forward Movement was started at Six Bells, Abertillery in 1893.
In June 1893 the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists under the auspices of the Forward Movement proposed to erect a chapel at Six Bells. Mr T. P. Price offered a site for nothing but they could not find a suitable piece of ground on his property. Rev J. E. Rhys of Abertillery agreed to give two cottages belonging to him. Later Mr Price renewed the lease on the land on the old terms.
Description of the Building.
The chapel was built on an east-west orientation upon elevated ground on the eastern side of Bridge Street Six Bells, opposite the Co-operative building (as seen centre of the featured image, just above the watermark. The new chapel can be seen in the background just behind the old chapel). The old chapel was single storey, of an iron structure with corrugated steel sheeting with a Bell Tower at the front. The building was completely fitted up to accommodate 250 people. Rev J. C. Rowlands was a minister in the early set-up of the chapel.
The Directors of the Movement.
The directors of the movement visited the centre at Six Bells in August 1894 to receive reports of progress made. The directors of the movement were as follows – Mr Davies of Llandinham; Mr Griffiths J.P. of Dolgelly; Mr T. Rowlands J.P., of Portmadoc; Mr W. Griffiths J.P. of Blackwood; Mr S. N. Jones J.P. of Abertillery; Rev W. James B.A. of Manchester; Mr J. M. Jones of Cardiff; Mr Lewis Ellis of Rhyl (Secretary); Mr John Pugh of Cardiff (Superintendent of the Movement); Mr B. Ceitho Davies and Evangelist Evans of Crosskeys:
New Chapel Proposal.
In 1903 a much larger building was proposed, it was needed as to accommodate the growing population.
In February 1905 it was reported the the revival in the valley’s had seen many changes towards peoples attitude to the church. There were 3,000 converts in Abertillery alone, placing it ahead of any other town.
On Sunday February 1905 Dr Pugh the general superintendent conducted services at the old Presbyterian Forward Movement Hall, Six Bells. Dr Pugh was reported to have baptised 106 believers and their children.
The New Presbyterian Chapel.
In December 1905 the new Presbyterian Chapel was erected a little further north by Hafod Van Terrace. When the new Presbyterian Chapel was built all services were transferred there, the old Forward Movement Hall was kept open and used for other purposes, including many political meetings etc.
Following is a Link to – The New Presbytarian Chapel.
Nothing more is known of the original building though it was on early images and maps of the area and it was used as a hall for the Forward Movement long after the new Presbyterian Chapel was built. It was featured on the 1920 maps still described as a chapel.
Point of interest – The featured image was taken from Cemetery Road looking north. In the foreground (right) can be seen the new Six Bells Hotel which was built in the early 1890’s by Mr N. Bagley of Oak Street, Abertillery. More on Mr Bagley can be found on the New Bon Marche building page on this website.