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CRICCIETH – CAPEL MAWR’S GRANITE BALL.

Capel Mawr is located on Criccieth High Street. Registers show that a chapel existed on the site as early as 1813, with the present building built in 1822. A Sunday school was added in 1889-1900 and the front gable was re-designed at this time. The chapel has a Neo-Classical style gable, and is now Grade 2 listed. The chapel has an association with the Lloyd George family; David Lloyd George's wife, Margaret Owen’s father was a deacon at the chapel.

One day in mid-Winter a big storm hit Criccieth with tremendous winds and lashing rain like no-one had ever witnessed. High Street shops closed and the residents escaped to shelter in their houses; no-one dared to venture outdoors. Roof slates were scattered along the High Street, and tree branches blocked the roads. The force of the wind came from the sea and Capel Mawr faced the brunt of the storm. Such was the strength of the wind that day it had managed to dislodge the granite ball located on the top gable end of the chapel which was a 100 feet from street level although it had miraculously survived without a scratch. The late Mr J.R. Jones was a boy at the time and remembered the storm and the exciting event that followed. Some weeks later, an advert was placed in the local newspaper, The Cambrian News, asking for volunteers to help with the re-positioning of this iconic feature. The prize for the one who was willing to venture was £ 5. The day came to announce who had been chosen climb the 100 feet to replace the fallen stone. The brave man in question was Richard Roberts of Parciau Bach. The date was set and he arrived with the necessary tools, some mortar and the heavy granite ball. The chapel elders had bought a new long ladder. Crowds of supporters gathered on the High Street to see the spectacle and to wish him luck. He arrived apprehensive but determined, removed his shoes and socks and started the journey barefoot up the ladder carrying the ball. The crowd cheered and shouted words of encouragement, hearing Richard’s laboured breathing as he approached the top of the ladder. As he passed the Geometric rose window he paused to take a breath then continued precariously to the top of the gable and with a final effort he placed and secured the ball on the finial. On his return to ground level he was congratulated for his efforts and was handed his prize of £5 for courage and bravery. The beautiful granite ball is still firmly in its place today on the magnificent Capel Mawr on Criccieth High Street.

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