The Seion Welsh Calvinistic Chapel recently celebrated its 150th anniversary since its opening. Hidden Oswestry brings to you, our readers, the history of this little church in Park Avenue.

The Welsh Calvinistic Church of Wales in Oswestry goes back to the start of the 19th century, when a very poor but courageous lady, by the name of Miss Susanna Evans (or ‘Auntie Susan’ as she was affectionately referred to by her friends), was instrumental in ensuring that Welsh services were conducted in the town.

She originally held these services in her home, for which, she was evicted on five different occasions.

In 1813, a small chapel with a small adjoining house were built in Castle Street, so that the services could be held at the chapel and Auntie Susan could live the rest of her days in relative peace. However, the building was found to be too small to accommodate the congregation, so the chapel moved to a new location, somewhere in the Welsh Walls. AOn July 6, 1836, four years after Auntie Susan’s death, a new chapel was opened in Gatacre Place. The building was described as being of a “substantial stone structure, built of brick with a stuccoed front with an imposing appearance”. However, this building was found also to be too small to accommodate the congregation, so the same year one and a quarter acres was purchased on the outskirts of the town to building a larger chapel and to accommodate a small cemetery.

The chapel was built and opened in 1837 to the cost of £1,417; in fact, the support was such that upon opening of the chapel, the outstanding balance required to be found was only £300. The Chapel had a congregation of 108 members upon opening, but by 1851, the number grew to 242, with attending morning services being 103 and attending evening services being 139; the number of children attending Sunday school being 73.

The chapel stood until 1869 when it was demolished and rebuilt, this time to the sum of only £1,400. In 1893, an adjoining school room, a vestry and a chapel house were built, the architect and builder of which being Thomas James of Oswestry; unusually, there is no commemorative stone to mark this. In 1902, a pipe organ was fitted.

As the Town grew in the early 1900s, many of the congregation felt that the position of the Chapel was too far from the Town Centre, so a second chapel and a third chapel were built in Albert Road and Oswald Road, respectively; the second chapel is now the Albert Road Church, but the third chapel is no longer in use. This, in turn, created a circuit within the town, with Seion acting as the mother church. This circuit would also extend to the rural parishes, where many Sunday schools and satellite chapels would also begin.

The circuit was officiated by a series of deacons until 1865, when a minister was finally appointed. There have been eight ministers serving the chapel since then. The longest-serving minister was the Reverend H. E. Griffiths, who officiated for 45 years.

During the First and Second World Wars, the chapel served as the place of worship for the soldiers stationed at Park Hall Camp, as well as for many staff who worked at the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital and for other people who travelled to work and may have been unable to go home at weekends.

In the late-1900s, the Horeb Welsh Weslyan Methodist Chapel in Victoria Road was added to the circuit, and as of 2019, services alternate between Seion and Horeb every other Sunday. The incumbent Minister is the Reverend Gwilym O. Jones.


- Mr. Gwyndaf Lloyd;

- Mr. & Mrs. Lloyd;

- Seion Welsh Calvinistic Chapel, Park Avenue, Oswestry; and

- Shropshire Nonconformist Chapels