Stained glass windows in St Andrew's Chapel:
Stained glass windows in St Andrew's Chapel:

Religion

General

Pembroke Dock developed in the nineteenth century, when churches and chapels were centres for Sunday services, Sunday schools, and a range of cultural and leisure activities. Chapels were, in the words of Prof. Anthony Jones, the "religious, social, educational and musical and entertainment centres of each community".  Church of England services were first held in the beached HMS Lapwing, and in a wooden building. The Dockyard Chapel was erected around 1831. St. John's was completed in 1848, and the smaller "mission" churches of St. Patrick's (Pennar) and St. Teilo's (Llanion) in 1896 and 1903. Chapel development followed a similar pattern. Congregations would often use a private house or a rented room until they could afford to build a chapel. Much of the building work would be voluntary, using the shipbuilders' skills in carpentry and joinery. Masonry and plastering tended to be left to paid specialists. Money for these chapel projects, and for rebuilding and improvements, was raised by collections, bazaars and concerts. In the late 1830s the Rev. John Davies of Gershom Chapel even "travelled the country far and near soliciting subscriptions...  To curtail his expenses he would walk through the streets of London munching a penny bun, and living on the most frugal fare". Grants could assist the Church of England - but fundraising and voluntary work were essential for the established church, too. George Mason catches the atmosphere inside the town's first chapel, Bethany, in the early days. "The choir was led by a band composed of violins, cello, double bass and flute. The lighting of the chapel consisted of dip tallow candles". The candle wicks needed frequent adjustment, "a disturbing operation to the elders of the congregation but a relieving diversion for the children, who watched the operator ascend the pulpit where the minister had to stand aside to allow the candles to be snuffed". As the town grew, congregations became larger Reported attendance figures at Wesley, for example, on a sample Sunday in 1851 were: morning, 389 + 191 scholars - evening, 545 + 80 scholars. Larger buildings replaced the some of the smaller early chapels. Wesley (1848-) and the Tabernacle, Albion Square (1867) could accommodate 1300 each. More ornate and imposing architecture replaced the simpler styles of early chapels. Gas lighting took over from candles. Harmoniums, then organs, replaced string and wind ensembles. By the end of the twentieth century, with many alternative activities, attendance had declined drastically.    
...
"Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet",
.
(Sources: Jones, Anthony, 46 - Jones, Ieuan 399 - Mason 148, 151, 166, 176, 204-5, 212-3, 187, Peters 100; ) Pictures by courtesy of St Andrew's Presbyterian Church.
Religion - Some clergymen      
Rev. R. C. Roberts of Bethel 1876-1913, affectionately remembered as "The Uncle of Pembroke Dock.
Rev. Lestyn Jenkins of St. Andrew's & Fr Ivor Daniel, two of the town's personalities in the 1920s, by Matt.
Pictures:  Rev. R.C. Roberts, Roberts, R.C. - Rev. Iestyn Jenkins  & Fr I. Daniel, Matt, Sunday Graphic
Religion- Churches & chapels - interior details.
Victorian stencil on panel in Bethel Chapel Pipes of Bethel chapel organ. The top cornice is inscribed †"praise ye the Lord". St Alban's Church was used by soldiers at† Bush Camp.†
Pictures by courtesy of: Bethel chapel, with photographs by Mrs Gwen Griffiths - St Alban's, private collection.
Religion - Outdoor services
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Some early clergymen were obliged to address their hearers in the open air, because indoor facilities were not ready. Father Lewis would regularly preach at the top of Pembroke Street, before St Mary's Roman Catholic Church was built . The Rev. Thomas Davies Mathias of Gilgal held outdoor baptisms in the 1860s. These were "striking events ... a sight to be remembered", with people "wending their way ... to the beach at Lower Pennar, until over a thousand would congregate to witness the impressive scene, much enhanced by the singing of those belonging to the little chapel assembled at the edge of the water". Gilgal chapel acquired an indoor baptistery in 1867. Later, some  services were held outdoors by choice. The Salvation Army conducted meetings in the streets and on the Barrack Hill, as well as indoors.
Chapel / church
 
Place
 
Denomination
 
Built / started service
 
Rebuilt
 
Notes
 
Dockyard Chapel Dockyard Church of England 1831-4 restored 2004-5  
St John's Bush Street Church of England 1848   schoolroom  opened 1883
St Patrick's

 

Pennar

 

Church of England

 

1894-6

 

  developed from "mission cottage" & wooden shed.
St Teilo's Llanion Church of England 1903-4    
St Alban's Bush Camp Church of England 1916 (?)   for soldiers: now demolished
Bethany

 
Bethany corner

 
Baptist

 
1818

 
1877

 

1877 "memorial stone" laid during "Hi Yei" launching celebrations. New schoolroom 1904-5.
Bethel

 

Meyrick / Bush Street


 
Baptist


 

1844-5
 

 

1873-5


 
 "started owing to
misunderstanding" (at Bethany). New chapel built after roof blew
off in gale, 1872.
Gilgal

 
Nelson St, Pennar

 
Baptist

 
1862
(in converted farm outbuilding)
1887
 (new building, on present site)
Schoolroom 1888 - Grew from mission started by minister & members of Bethel - Mason.
Ebenezer


 
North Row  or Wesley Row
(nr. junction of today's Fairways & Presely View)
 
Wesleyan Methodist


 
1820


 
Became too small; site needed by military to give clear field of fire for Defensible Barracks guns.
Wesley

 
Meyrick Street

 
Wesleyan Methodist

 
1848

 
additions 1865-7,  1882-5
 
Construction helped by £ 350 government grant, compensation for old chapel.
Wesley Nelson St, Pennar Wesleyan Methodist 1870 schoolroom 1893  
Wesley (Trinity) Pembroke Ferry Wesleyan Methodist 1879-80    
Tabernacle (1)

 

Albion Square

 

Congregationalist

 

1824

 

  public hall after 1867, Salvation Army HQ after 1883,  demolished 1904.
Tabernacle (2)

 

Albion Square

 

Congregationalist

 

1867

 

  Tabernacle (1) - next door - too small. Became "Albion Hall" in 1954, demolished 1989, today's Albion Court flats occupy site.
Trinity

 

Meyrick Street

 

Congregationalist

 

1852

 

1889

 
"In 1843 a dissension arose... at the Tabernacle" - Peters. Altered & renovated 1899.
Gershom Queen Street Calvinistic Methodist 1838   Used by Primitive Methodists 1866-
St Andrew's Bush Street Calvinistic Methodist 1866   Gershom too small
St Peter's Llanreath Calvinistic Methodist / Congregationalist 1883-5 Sold c. 1971. Chapel & Sunday school
Primitive Methodist chapel

 

 

Park Street

 

 

Primitive Methodist

 

 

1850

 

 

  Near top of steps to
Prospect Pl. Sold to Mr Samuel Sloggett, who
by 1874 was operating Temple Bar Hotel on the site..
Gershom Queen Street Primitive Methodist 1866   Primitive Methodists moved to chapel vacated by Calvinistic Methodists.
St Mary's Meyrick Street Roman Catholic 1847   enlarged & renovated in later 19th c.
Tabernacle (1) Albion Square Salvation Army     Meetings & services were held in & near hall after 1883.
Religion - Places of worship: building dates
Chapel buildings - simple (Trinity, Meyrick Street)
Chapel buildings - simple (Trinity, Meyrick Street)
 ... and more ambitious (Tabernacle, Albion Square)
Religion - Visitors
This angel adorns a headstone in Park Street cemetery.
Pembroke Dock's churches and chapels have welcomed many visitors, as well as natives of the town. In Dockyard, Army and RAF days, church parades were a part of civic life. In World War II, St Mary's Roman Catholic Church had congregations of allied servicemen, including free Poles. Vernon Scott recounts the story of "German and Italian prisoners of war attending regularly at St. Mary's .... during one Christmas midnight mass a choir - made up entirely of German POWs - sang Silent night in German" Notable preachers, as well as worshipers, visited the town. One of the most memorable was "Nar-Kar-Wa, (Flying Cloud), "a celebrated American Baptist preacher, formerly an Indian chief of the Mohawk tribe". In 1873, Flying Cloud attracted large congregations in Wesley and Albion Square. He also "delivered a lecture in full costume as an Indian chief. His dexterity in handling the club and tomahawk was remarkable" Notable in a more traditional way was General Booth, who in 1886 preached in Albion Square Chapel "to an immense congregation, when many could not get in". At earlier Salvation Army services "the platform teemed with ... unmistakably changed people, who were anxious to tell others of their new found happiness". (Sources: Scott, Catholic community .. ; Mason 204, 229 ) Pembroke Dock's churches and chapels have welcomed many visitors, as well as natives of the town. In Dockyard, Army and RAF days, church parades were a part of civic life. In World War II, St Mary's Roman Catholic Church had congregations of allied servicemen, including free Poles. Vernon Scott recounts the story of "German and Italian prisoners of war attending regularly at St. Mary's .... during one Christmas midnight mass a choir - made up entirely of German POWs - sang Silent night in German" Notable preachers, as well as worshipers, visited the town. One of the most memorable was "Nar-Kar-Wa, (Flying Cloud), "a celebrated American Baptist preacher, formerly an Indian chief of the Mohawk tribe". In 1873, Flying Cloud attracted large congregations in Wesley and Albion Square. He also "delivered a lecture in full costume as an Indian chief. His dexterity in handling the club and tomahawk was remarkable" Notable in a more traditional way was General Booth, who in 1886 preached in Albion Square Chapel "to an immense congregation, when many could not get in". At earlier Salvation Army services "the platform teemed with ... unmistakably changed people, who were anxious to tell others of their new found happiness". (Sources: Scott, Catholic community .. ; Mason 204, 229 )
The History of Pembroke Dock est.1814
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Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet God's messenger and the Prodigal Son. ,
(Amendment, updates and additions)    (AJ)  Anndra Johnstone
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