C a p e l B e t h e l


Capel Bethel is a new rural space for critical dialogue and contemporary art :

a jewel set between the steep slopes of the upper Rheidol Valley, surrounded by protected ancient sessile oak woodland in an area designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.












History



Capel Bethel was built in 1872 - a Congregational Chapel to service the communities of Cornish miners that came to work the lead mines peppering the Rheidol Valley during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many mining remains are still to be found in the valley. The plot for the chapel and its graveyard was purchased from the surrounding Troedrhiwsebon farmland in 1870. The chapel was well attended for many years, and was, together with three other chapels in the valley, the main social hub of every Sunday. Years after the mines had failed and the miners had left, new jobs and life were generated in the 1960s by the damming of the River Rheidol and establishment of a hydroelectric power station. Over the years, however, the valley population began to decline once again, and the chapel fell into disuse. The building was formally deconsecrated and sold off, and, after one or two abortive attempts to revive it, it remained gently crumbling, locked and abandoned for decades.


In December 2017, new owners of Troedrhiwsebon Farm, artists Louise Short & Alice Forward, managed to find the last registered proprietors after some considerable detective work, and with the help of private backing, brought the Capel Bethel back into the domain of Troedrhiwsebon. Short&Forward's plan was to breathe new life into Capel Bethel by making it a new rural site for critical debate and socially engaged contemporary art, as well as a space for local community events.


For the last two years they have worked together with the help of local people to bring it back from the brink of extinction, and the first art exhibition, Reconstructing Duccio, opened the day before Palm Sunday 2019. Local knowledge has it that the last religious service held in Capel Bethel was on Palm Sunday 1983.


It continues as a host space for local events, discussions, international arts residencies, exhibitions, making music and art in locus.



DUE TO COVID 19, THE CHAPEL IS PRESENTLY IN USE SIMPLY AS AN ARTISTS STUDIO UNTIL DOORS OPEN AGAIN SOME TIME IN 2021.


If you would like to make use of the chapel, it is occasionally available for hire as studio space in conjunction with the Airbnb at Troedrhiwsebon Longhouse.

Some further details at https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/17811301










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