The Borough Welsh Chapel

London, United Kingdom | C.1870

Photo Credit: Raluca Acatincăi

Although its present building was constructed in 1870, The Borough Welsh Congregational Chapel (in Welsh, Capel-y-Boro) has a history that dates back to 1774. Located in London’s Southwark district known as “The Borough,” it is the mother chapel of the Welsh Congregational Church in London and holds bilingual services in both English and Welsh.

The Chapel’s story begins when Edward Jones, an exhorter/initial-level minister, began holding Welsh-language services on a London side street. Along with his religious aspirations, Jones was a pub owner and a spirit-merchant whose nickname was Ginshop Jones. Eventually, the services grew in size and Jones went on to establish a Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel London’s Clerkenwell district.

As an extension of the Wilderness Row congregation, a Welsh service began at nearby Gravel Lane. The two congregations soon split when Gravel Lane became completely Congregational and Wilderness Row remained Methodist. This separation established the origins of The Borough Welsh Chapel. In 1806, a small chapel for the Gravel Lane congregation was built on Little Guildford Street in Southwark.

Over half a century later, the new chapel was built. Samuel Morley, a famous Congregationalist, laid the foundation stone and the new Chapel was opened in 1872. The new Chapel is a well preserved example of a Welsh chapel that might be seen in the region of Wales known as the Valleys.

Today, the Chapel continues to hold bilingual services on almost every Sunday of the month. Members share a strong commitment to both the local and global community, and are involved in fundraising efforts for a wide range of charities.

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