Maesyronnen Chapel

Near Hay-on-Wye, Powys

Overview

The 18th-century cottage was built onto the end of one of Wales's shrines of Nonconformity, the Maesyronnen Chapel. In this peaceful location, perched on a high shelf above the Wye you can look out across the Black Mountains and sample a different and earlier kind of life.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Logs availableLogs available
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • Waitrose DeliveryWaitrose Delivery

Beds 1 Twin, 1 Double

Sleeps
4
4 nights from
£306 equivalent to £19.13 per person, per night

A Nonconformist past

This Landmark has an impressive history and is of particular signifance for the history of Noncoformism in Wales. The Chapel is the oldest example still existing today and predates other examples by nearly 80 years. Whilst it was officially founded just after the Act of Toleration in 1689, it is highly probable that the use of the building as a place of religious worship harks back to an era when any suitable building was used for secret meetings. The adjoining house was more than likely built in the first quarter of the 18th century and housed many tenants over the years, the last of whom, Mrs Annie Lewis who raised 15 children here left in 1979.

Stunning Welsh natural beauty

The cottage sleeps up to four people and boasts an open fire, perfect for warming those coming in from exploring the area. Those that stay here can sample the different and simpler way of life that is engrained in the local area and enjoy the views of the Black Mountains. With the spectactular Brecon Beacon National Park and the Wye Valley nearby, this Landmark offers the perfect opportunity to get close to some of Wales' most stunning naural scenery.

‘I want another week, no, a month, no – forever!’

‘All objectives achieved. 1: good walking; 2. peace and quiet; 3. cosy cottage; 4 escape rat race.’

From the logbook

Floor Plan

Map & local info

Maesyronnen Chapel stands perched on a high shelf above the Wye with far reaching views across the valley towards the Black Mountains.

The spectacular Brecon Beacon National Park is on your doorstep at Maesyronnen Chapel. You can explore the landscape up close with Wye Valley Canoes and at the Red Kite Feeding Station

Hay-on-Wye - "the town of books" - is just 10 minutes down the road by car. With nearly two dozen bookshops, it is home to the Hay Festival, one of the UK's most renowned literary festivals, which takes place over 10 days between May and June every year.

The Regimental Museum of the Royal Welsh is a well worth a visit to learn about it's 320 year history, including many significant events in British military history. 

The market town of Brecon is 30 minutes in the car, with its pretty Georgian and Jacobean shopfronts Brecon is the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring. 

While in Brecon, you might wish to visit the Brecknock Museum & Art Gallery. One of the finest and liveliest small museums in Wales, it charts the prehistory, history, natural history and art of the local area, including an original 19th-century Assize Court, Welsh love spoons and ceramics, and exhibition galleries. You can gain free entry to Brecknock with a National Art Pass, which enables its members to enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses throughout the UK as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions.

The pass is presented by one of Landmark's partners, the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, which has been supporting museums and galleries for over 110 years by helping them to buy and display great works of art for everyone to enjoy. Income raised through the National Art Pass goes straight back into their charitable programme. Find more about it at artfund.org/national-art-pass.

Please see our Pinterest Page for more information on things to see and do during your stay at Maesyronnen Chapel. 

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Maesyronnen Chapel
Near Hay-on-Wye, Powys
Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    Yes.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via a short driveway.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Abergavenny – 22 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes – there is one parking space adjacent to the property.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric night storage heaters and an open coal fire.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Coal may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a bath. 
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs are not particularly steep.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is an enclosed garden.
  • Is this a property for hardier visitors?

    Yes the property is difficult to heat in the winter.

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

A purpose-built Nonconformist chapel

This Chapel was registered at the Easter Quarter Session of the Assizes at Presteigne in 1697, thus making it the earliest purpose-built Nonconformist chapel surviving unaltered in Wales and predating other buildings by nearly 80 years. Minor alterations have in fact been carried out but none have altered the basic rural character of the building. The roof was renewed in the 18th century when the walls were found to be spreading and the present system of posts and tie-beams was inserted to prevent this.

The original earth floor was covered in flagstones in the early 19th century. The simple solid furniture, some dating back to the late 17th century, would have been added bit by bit as the congregation could afford it.

The little house adjoining the Chapel was probably built in its present form in the first quarter of the 18th century and was to house a caretaker. But neither the Chapel nor cottage were built from scratch - both were adapted from a building that had already existed and which had probably been used for clandestine meetings of Dissenters following the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 and his subsequent intolerance of anything outside the Established Church. Tradition has it a ‘Beudy’ or byre/cow house was used for worship in this area even during the Commonwealth.

Evidence for this earlier building stands in the wall between the Chapel and cottage, where there is a timber ‘cruck’ truss formed by splitting a curved oak trunk into two to form a pair. This timber-framed building may have been a ‘long house’, with a dwelling house and a byre built in a single continuous range, with a door leading through from one to the other. This house would have had no chimney, only a central fireplace. Around 1600 a chimney was added and the walls built up in stone. The ‘post and panel’ partition that can be seen between the kitchen and the store room may also date from this period but it is not in its original position and its finer side faces the store room. This Jacobean house may also have continued slightly further to the west than the present wall, which is of later masonry.

When the byre was rebuilt as the Chapel, the doorway (now under the stairs) between it and the house was blocked up. It is possible that a caretaker was already living there, looking after the secret meeting place and making sure that evidence of it was hidden from the authorities. One would certainly have been installed in 1697, and in a deed of 1720, a 'little house' is mentioned, which implies that the existing cottage was already in existence rather than the quite substantial house which preceded it.

The last caretaker to live in the cottage was Mrs Annie Lewis who looked after the Chapel for 52 years. She and her husband George, moved in a few years after their marriage and she gave birth to 15 children here. The house was obviously too small for all of them and so when a new baby arrived one of the older children would be sent away to live with relatives, a practice that was quite common in large families then. She had to carry water from a well in the wood until the arrival of a stand pipe at the bottom of the lane. As caretaker she kept the Chapel clean, lit the black stove and opened the door for members of the congregation and visitors.

Mr Lewis died in 1974 and in 1979 Mrs Lewis moved out to go and live with her sons, until her death in 1985 at the age of 88.

Experience the Chapel

For up to 4 people

The 18th-century cottage in which you stay was built on to the end of one of Wales's shrines of Nonconformity, the Maesyronnen Chapel. In this peaceful location, perched on a high shelf above the Wye you can look out across the Black Mountains and sample a different and earlier kind of life.

Book a stay
Restoration

Ensuring that both buildings had a future

Repairs were carried out on the Chapel in the 1960s but by 1980 further work was needed to it and the cottage and this was beyond the means of the Trustees and congregation. The Landmark Trust offered to help by taking on and repairing the cottage so that the future of both buildings would be ensured.

Work began in 1985. The first job was to clear away derelict corrugated iron sheds and lean-tos that had been built against the outer walls. One of these at the back was to be replaced with a new lean-to containing the bathroom. It is constructed of elm weather-boards. Some major structural repairs were also needed. The walls of the stable (now store room) were in danger of collapse and had to be completely rebuilt, with underpinning at the corners. The straight joint in the front wall between the stable and cottage was opening up and steel ties were inserted to hold the two together. All walls were then repointed with traditional lime mortar.

The roof was stripped of its stone slates and the underlying rafters required strengthening . Steel brackets and ends were used to give necessary support to the purlins and the main tie beam. A dormer on the front of the cottage was taken down and two new ones added at the back to light the bedrooms. The slope was slightly altered to take in the new bathroom. Finally the slates were put back with second-hand ones to match and the ridge tile reused. Several of the doors and windows needed new lintels and the frames, windows and ironmongery were all repaired or remade in green oak as necessary.

Inside the cottage a partition was removed, to make the kitchen/dining room, and a new door opening was made between this and the sitting room. The post and panel partition, which had rotted badly at its base, was repaired. The flagstones in both downstairs rooms were lifted and relaid on a damp proof membrane. Upstairs a new partition was put in to divide the landing from the small bedroom and the doorway into the larger bedroom was moved. The roof repairs had all been carefully done so as not to damage the ceilings which, with their laths and lime plaster, were left intact. The walls have also been lime plastered as this allows any moisture to evaporate gradually - it is not practical or desirable to insert damp proof courses into such thick stone walls. Similarly both the limewash on the walls and the special porous paint on the woodwork allow the materials to ‘breath ‘ naturally.

In both bedrooms the floors were taken up and a new ‘sandwich’ floor laid; new boards were laid first on top of the joists then a sheet of thin lead to prevent drafts and to provide sound insulation. Lastly the old boards were relaid crossways, with a few second-hand ones to make up any gaps.

When the Landmark Trust took on the cottage it still had no running water and only very elementary electrical wiring and so all pipes ands wires are new, together with the bathroom, kitchen and heating system. New paving stones were laid and a new boundary wall built. The cottage is available to rent for holidays for up to four people all year round.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.