Module Identifier AH32420  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Professor John Harvey  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Essay (5,000 words). Both assessed elements must be passed. Only the failed component need be resubmitted  50%
Semester Assessment Project Document. Both assessed elements must be passed. Only the failed component need be resubmitted.  50%

Brief description

The module combines a study of the historical development of the chapel from a humble vernacular building into, what some architectural historians consider, the 'national architecture' of Wales. The study combines a survey of the general development of chapel styles with an in-depth examination of particular regions, edifices, and architects in Wales. Students are, in this way, introduced to the most recent research on the subject. They also engage in the formation of that research through a hands-on experience of chapel conservation and recording in collaboration with staff from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. This practical and vocationally orientated method of study is allied to a historical, socio-economic, cultural, and theological investigation of the edifices. The module argues that the visual character of the Nonconformist meeting-house and chapel was influenced by a complex of interrelated factors besides vernacular building methods and materials, prevailing architectural styles and tastes, such as the congregations? visual sensibility, practical expedience, theological restrictions, liturgical requirements, economics, social structure, indigenous and prevailing culture, and national, geographical, and historical contexts.


The module aims to:
A. combine a general overview of the historical development of chapel buildings and architecture with a series of in-depth studies of the work of particular architects and chapels derived from new research in the field
B. study chapel building in the eighteenth and nineteenth century Wales, principally, within a visual, historical, socio-economic, and theological context
C. provide students knowledge of current practices and methods of chapel preservation through field-study experience in chapel recording, and in developing and accessing a data-base system for storing recorded information
D. mount an historiographic examination of key texts on chapel architecture written during the period of study
E. where relevant, address chapel building during this period to precedents in the seventeenth century and cognate building practices in Great Britain, Europe, and the United States of America


1. Lecture: The Protestant Reformation of Church Architecture (JH)
2. Lecture: 'After the Fire' 1: Secession, Revival, and the Roots of Nonconformity (JH)
3. Lecture: 'Between Magnificence and Meanness': The Theological Significance of the Meeting-House and Early Chapels (JH)
4. Lecture: 'After the Fire' 2: Wren's Parish Churches after 1675, and their Relation to Nonconformist Chapels   (JH)
5. Lecture: 'After the Pattern God had shown them': Biblical Connotations of the Classical-Styled Chapel (JH)
6. Lecture: Writing on the Walls 1: Word-orientated Elaborations of the Victorian Chapel Interior (JH)
Case Studies by Region
7. Lecture: Religious Buildings in Nineteenth Century Industrial Communities of Wales (SH)
8. Lecture: Chapels in Cardiganshire (DP)
9. Lecture: Chapels in Aberystwyth 1 (OJ)
10. Lecture: Chapels in Aberystwyth 2 (OJ)
Conservation, Representation, and Interpretation
11. Lecture/Seminar: Capel/Place: The Chapel as a Pictorial Subject, and a Motif in Welsh Landscape Art (JH)
12. Field Study: Visit to Capel Pen-Rhiw (rebuilt at St. Fagan's) and Examples of City and Urban Chapels in Cardiff and the Valleys (JH)
13. Lecture/Seminar: Writing on the Walls 2: The Historiography of Chapel Studies (JH)
14. Lecture/Field Study: Recording Chapels: An Introduction to the RCAHMW Chapel Project (DP) (Part 1)
15. Lecture/Field Study: Recording Chapels: An Introduction to the RCAHMW Chapel Project (DP) (Part 2)
16. Workshop: Creating and Using RCAHMW's Chapel Data-Base (PI)

Case studies by Architect
11. Lecture: Richard Owen and Richard Williams (DP)
12. Lecture: Thomas Thomas: The Buildings of the First National Chapel Architect in Wales (SH)
13. Lecture: John Pritchard: A Nineteenth Century Church Architect in Wales (OJ)
14. Lecture: John Humphrey: The Architect of the 'Cathedral of Nonconformity' (SH)
15. Lecture: Owen Morris Roberts: The Chapels of a Gwynedd Chapel Architect (OJ)

Transferable skills

The module will assist the development of the following academic and transferable skills:


This module is at CQFW Level 6