Welsh Chapel is a modest, carpenter Gothic church located in the centre of the rural hamlet of Cardigan, between Tay Mills and Hamtown Corner, York County.
Small and rectangular, the building’s gable-end faces the Royal Road on Route 620 that connects Cardigan, New Brunswick’s oldest Welsh settlement, with the provincial capital of Fredericton.
Welsh Chapel is designated a Provincial Historic Site for being a landmark reflecting the religious and cultural development of the Welsh community and for its architecture.
Constructed circa 1856, Welsh Chapel is associated with the first permanent Welsh settlement in New Brunswick. The original congregation dates from circa 1822 when Rev. Dafydd Phillips began conducting services in Welsh in settlers’ homes. Many of the original Welsh settlers are buried in the nearby churchyard.
Although the designers and the builders are unknown, the surviving architectural evidence suggests that this building was based on a Protestant country church model. The consistency of its composition is noteworthy, particularly in the design elements in local woods. Unpretentious in its vernacular style, the chapel is significant for its combination of Classical and Gothic influences typical of 19th century rural New Brunswick church construction. Reflecting a Welsh-Baptist religious building tradition, the church embodies distinctive features of a mid-Victorian picturesque church that served as a social and spiritual focal point nurturing the life of this Welsh farming community. In its simplicity, Welsh Chapel has no steeple or structural additions.
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