TABERNACL Chapel, a towering presence in the centre of Cardigan for the past two centuries, will hold its final service tomorrow afternoon (Saturday, October 29).

The iconic Calvinistic Methodist place of worship was put up for sale in November with its dwindling congregation unable to raise funds for maintenance and repairs.

The current chapel dates back to 1832, although its predecessor was built on the Pendre site in 1760.

“Tomorrow will be a very sad day,” chapel deacon John Adams-Lewis told the Tivy-Side. “We are all broken-hearted.

“But it’s a sign of the times. We are now down to just 24 members and most of those are aged over eighty.

“We are also in debt so the only option open to us was to sell.”

Mr Adams-Lewis, a former town mayor who married his wife, Morina, at the chapel in August 1967, said the building was ‘in dire need’ of refurbishment.

“If we didn’t close now we would have to have taken that decision another two or three years down the line,” he added.

“I’m afraid that Cardigan’s remaining chapels may soon find themselves in a similar position.”

Question marks hang over the fate of the Grade II-listed building.

While some townspeople have speculated Tabernacl may be taken over by pub giants J D Wetherpoon, a covenant prohibits the making or selling of alcohol on the premises. Ceredigion County Council officers have expressed an interest in ensuring the historic chapel pews are retained for posterity.

“At the time of our wedding, Tabernacl had over a hundred members,” recalled Mr Adams-Lewis.

“Back in 1825 the number was 236 and in the early years of the last century some of the best choirs in Wales performed there.

“As tomorrow is our last day we are hoping for a good turnout for our 2pm service and while it’s always difficult to predict these things I am confident that we’ll get over sixty.”

Back in the summer Cymdeithas Aberteifi Society put in a bid for the chapel with the view of retaining it as a poetry centre/community hub, only to reveal this week that those plans were currently on hold.