The original chapel on this site was called Hermon. Built in 1903 (and dedicated in 1904), it was demolished in 2007 to be replaced by the modern building that you can now see. It is now named Capel y Rhos as it replaced 3 Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapels – Nazareth in Mochdre, Bethlehem in Lawson Road, Colwyn Bay as well as Hermon here on the edge of Rhos on Sea.
The influence of the Calvinistic Methodists in the area stretches back to the close of the eighteenth century when humble pioneers started services in the surrounding hamlets. When Hermon was built at the beginning of the 20th Century the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist cause was flourishing, and was represented by 6 chapels in Colwyn Bay alone, with others in the surrounding villages such as Mochdre and Llanelian.
In Rhos on Sea the Calvinistic Methodist cause goes back as far as 1847, when a Sunday school was started in a small thatched cottage called “Aberhod Bach”on what is now the Cayley Promenade. As it grew it moved to larger premises, and eventually in 1884 a new chapel was built on site of the present café on the junction of Penrhyn Avenue and Rhos Promenade. However this was not a great success and the decision was taken to move to a more prominent position. The old site was sold at a profit, and Sir George Cayley made a gift of the current valuable corner site.
The 1903 chapel was constructed by a local builder, Thomas Parry, who was a friend of Major Parry, Sir George’s agent in North Wales. Its total cost, including the organ, was £4,136 6s 4d. On demolition of the building in 2007, the organ was preserved and this has now found a new home in Budapest, Hungary.
However with the passage of time, the chapel was no longer appropriate for the needs of the current congregation and so the new modern church was built to replace the chapel buildings of Hermon, Nazareth and Bethlehem.
The current building can accommodate 120 in the chapel, and 50 in the conference room, so is significantly smaller than the Hermon Chapel building it replaced (which could seat 380). Therefore there was sufficient space on the site to create an additional small complex of 8 flats, which can be seen to the side of the new chapel.
The current new building was designed by Tom Griffiths and built by Anwyl Construction. Local historian, Graham Roberts has said of the building, “Mr Griffiths has shown that architecture is about more than building trinkets for developers; it is about ennobling and enhancing human life. The chapel is a fine warm space: there is an ample vestry and lecture hall and the vestibule is a welcoming bright area where one of the original stained glass windows from Hermon Chapel has been incorporated into the wall. The windows of the hallway and the chapel itself stretch simply from the floor to the ceiling, flooding both areas with enormous light. Whereas Hermon was of its time, simple in structure, Capel y Rhos is also of its time – angular in outward appearance but exceptionally warm and welcoming within.”
It was sad to lose the old chapel building, but again to quote local historian Graham Roberts “It is good that this prominent corner on Llannerch Road East and Brompton Avenue has been transformed into an oasis of prayer and of living and that we have been given buildings of contemporary worth from an architect and from the elders of the original Hermon Chapel that it is hoped will last for at least another 100 years”.
The original chapel on the site, Hermon, was built in 1903 and was of an impressive and eye catching design, being built of bright red bricks with a terracotta tiled roof. It also had a very attractive interior lit by some impressive stained glass windows.
The new chapel, Capel Y Rhos, built in 2007, is of contemporary design – a mix of brick and rendered surfaces with a slate roof.
Externally only the limestone boundary walls of the earlier chapel remain – the original entrance now leads to the flats.
New stone walling which marks the entrance to the chapel has been skilfully executed to match the original.