Dolygaer Chapel, Taf Fechan, Llanddeti, Breconshire
Built: circa 1905 (see notes below)
Photography: John Ball
Date: 1 May 1998
Camera: Sigma SA-300 35 mm SLR
1. Built circa 1905 as a chapel of ease for Capel Taf Fechan, which was demolished in 1926 to make way for the flooding (in 1927) of the Taf Fechan Valley, to form the new Pontsticill Reservoir. Dolygaer Chapel closed in the 1980s and is now (2007) a private residence.
[Sources: Glamorgan Records Office; Brecon Mountain Railway; and GENUKI websites]
2. In an e-mail dated 19 January 2009, Denis Murphy, present owner of the property, wrote:
I bought this property last year and have been researching its history which seems different from your sources as quoted above. I think the house is derived from the medieval Capel Taf Fechan – shown in maps from the 1580s but certainly much older and maybe 14th century.
The original medieval building was replaced in the early 1800s by a more modern structure, still called Capel Taf Fechan but now a district church and later a chapel of ease for Llanthetty parish church rather than an independent parish church in its own right. The Church Plans Online website includes a plan (right) of the rebuilt church dated 1869 – its dimensions are almost identical to my house. There is also a mention in the extract (below) from the National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868):
LLANTHETTY, a parish in the hundred of Pinkelly, county Brecon, 7 miles S.E. of Brecknock, its post town. It is situated on the Roman Via Julia Montana and the river Usk. The Brecon canal passes through the parish, which includes the townships of Dyffrin and Taf-Vechan. The living is a rectory in the diocese of St. David's, value £344. The parish church is dedicated to St. Detta. There is also the district church of Taf-Vechan, a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the rector. Here are several good residences, the principal being Llanthetty Hall.
I also provide (right) a picture of this church, now commonly known as Dolygaer Church, from the turn of the 1900s.
From the Leo Davies Collection
According to locals, Dolygaer Church (dating to early 1800s but partially rebuilt from a medieval structure) was dismantled (minus tower) and rebuilt in its present location a few hundred yards away on higher ground in 1926-7 to save it from being flooded by the new Pontsticill reservoir. The graveyard was moved to Pontsticill village (where it still remains) and the relocated church still functioned as a place of worship until the late 1970s when it fell into disuse as the population dwindled. It was then deconsecrated, sold off, and converted into a private residence. According to my deeds, the property is still referred to as Capel Taf Vechan mission church but, according to a covenant, it cannot be officially called this name as it is no longer a church.
Denis Murphy, Pinewood Lodge, Dolygaer