Developing Bethsaida B&B
Bethsaida B&B is the impressive business and beautiful home of husband and wife team Tony Dyer and Jo Pitt. In 2009, having decided on a family holiday they landed in St Dogmaels. Staying in a holiday home just around the corner they did what they had always done and looked in estate agents windows. This time they found a listing for a former chapel that hadn’t been open for some years and asked for a viewing. It was on a beautiful July day, with the sun streaming through the stained glass windows that Jo and Tony viewed this amazing place. They fell in love with the building and found a new future for themselves and their family.
It took a year to buy the building. Then began the work of agreeing a design with Kinver Kreations of Goodwick, obtaining planning permission, followed by short-listing builders. A St Dogmaels firm of Matthew Greenland Builders started work in early 2012. With three phases of works; making the roof water tight, renovating and restoring The Vestry and lastly the chapel receiving its own facelift. The dream of moving into Bethsaida didn’t come true until late April 2015. Tony and Jo were delighted to open their door to guests of Bethsaida Bed and Breakfast on 1 June 2015.
This is just a small gallery of pictures which include images of the building as it was and then the journey towards today’s splendour.
The journey for Jo and Tony feels epic, but it is just a drop in the ocean compared to the wealth of history that Bethsaida holds. Here are some of the key milestones of the building. If you speak with the residents of the village they can tell you SO much more.
Bethsaida Chapel (Adelaidwyd 1837/Built 1837)
Bethsaida has been on a journey of social history from when it first opened in 1838 having cost £309 13s 3d to build.
- From 1838 to 2006 there were only 10 Reverends or Ministers serving the community in St Dogmaels and the surrounding area.
- The longest serving minister was Rev John Thomas from 1926 – 1957.
- Not all Ministers were successful in their role and in 1882 Rev Seth Jones was removed from his role as pastor in disgrace.
Bethsaida in development
- In 1909 tenders were sought for renovating the building and façade with a further request for tenders in 1912 to build a new vestry.
- 1915 Bethsaida became the first local chapel to have gas lighting.
- Further tenders were sought for building a vestry in 1925. The Vestry being built on the site of the old Rose & Crown Inn and was opened on 30 June 1926.
- During further renovations in 1932/3 there was an installation of a new organ and the chapel reopened its doors on 5 March 1933.
Bethsaida’s changing fortunes
- With the reducing congregation in 2001 there were plans to sell the chapel and the chapel doors finally closed in 2006.
- The organ was removed and sent to St Thomas Church, Neath in 2007.
- The Bethsaida Chapel was put up for sale and failed to sell in a public auction in 2007.
- In 2009 Jo and Tony holiday in St Dogmaels…..
Bethsaida in the Bible
Bethsaida in Biblical Greek ; Βηθσαιδα
Bethsaida is known as the birthplace of three of the Apostles – Peter, Andrew and Philip. Jesus himself visited Bethsaida and performed several miracles there. (Mark 8:22-26; Luke 9:10)
Et-Tel, the mound identified as ancient Bethsaida, is located on a basaltic spur north of the Sea of Galilee, near the inflow of the Jordan River into the Sea of Galilee. The tel covers some 20 acres and rises 30 meters above a fertile valley. Geological and geomorphological studies show that in the past this valley was part of the Sea of Galilee. A series of earthquakes caused silt to accumulate, thus creating the valley and causing the north shore of the Sea of Galilee to recede. The result of this process, which continued until the Hellenistic period, was that Bethsaida, which had originally been built on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, came to be situated some 1.5 km. north of the shore.
The name Bethsaida means “house of the hunt” in Hebrew. Identification of Et-Tel with the site mentioned in the New Testament was proposed as early as 1838 by Robinson, but was not accepted by most contemporary researchers; yet excavations conducted since 1987 have confirmed the identification.
The town of Bethsaida is referenced by all of the gospels. Bethsaida was a fishing village situated somewhere on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. John says that it was the home town of Peter, Andrew and Philip (John 1:44, 12:21).
Mark and Matthew connect Bethsaida to the scene in which Jesus walks on water. After the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus sent the disciples ahead of Him to Bethsaida while He went up a mountain to pray (Mark 6:45). When He too decided He wanted to go to Bethsaida, he famously walked on the water with the intention of overtaking the disciples, who were struggling to stay afloat in a storm. When the disciples take Him for a ghost, He calms them down and steps into the boat with them. Then the wind dies down as well.
Mark alone tells the story of the blind man at Bethsaida who Jesus healed in stages. The man started out blind, then saw men like trees and then saw a wholly well. When he is finally all healed, Jesus urges him to not enter the village (Mark 8:22-26).
Only Luke mentions Bethsaida as the place to where Jesus and the disciples withdrew after they returned from their first apostolic journey, which he places before the feeding of the 5,000 (Luke 9:10).
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