The Original Capel Ebeneser, Cardiff

In 1826, Cardiff’s first congregation of Welsh Independents (Annibynwyr) was established.  Its nucleus was drawn from members of Trinity Church in Womanby Street and their first meeting place was the Old Coach House, which appears to have been a public house in what is now Westgate Street.  Within a year or so, they obtained a site on which to build their own chapel.  Opened on 3 December 1828, Capel Ebeneser stood in what subsequently became Ebenezer Street, running parallel to Queen Street, between Frederick Street and Paradise Place.  As originally built, the chapel was forty feet (twelve metres) long and thirty-three feet (ten metres) wide.

Growing congregations led to the building being extended and upgraded on several occasions, with worship sometimes transferring to the Town Hall while work was under way.  By the start of World War I, it looked very much as it does in Mary Traynor’s drawing.  In this form, the galleried chapel was on the first floor with a schoolroom below.

d1093-2- 017 The Original Capel Ebenezer_compressed

In the late 1970s, this was one of many buildings demolished to make way for St. David’s Centre.  Ebenezer Street ceased to exist and Debenhams’ store opened on the chapel’s former site.  Capel Ebeneser then moved to the former English Congregational Church in Charles Street, which had been vacated when its congregation merged with Presbyterians to form the City United Reformed Church.  In 2010, it was announced that Ebenezer was leaving Charles Street.  The congregation currently worships at Whitchurch Community Centre and the City Church, Windsor Place.

David Webb, Glamorgan Archives Volunteer

Sources consulted:

  • Mary Traynor Collection [D1093/2/13]
  • Cardiff Borough Building Regulation Plans, plan for extension to Ebenezer Welsh Congregational Chapel, 1892 [BC/S/1/8486]
  • Hughes, Y Parch H M, Hanes Ebenezer Caerdydd 1826 – 1926 (1926)
  • Williamson, John, History of Congregationalism in Cardiff and District (1920)
  • Lee, Brian: Central Cardiff, The Second Selection (‘Images of Wales’ series)
  • Hilling, John B & Traynor, Mary, Cardiff’s Temples of Faith (Cardiff Civic Society, 2000)
  • The Cardiff & Merthyr Guardian, 22 Oct 1853