St John’s was founded as a guild chapel for the tradesmen of Hay in about 1254.
It also served as chapel to Hay castle, as the parish church was outside the town walls.
It was probably also known during its history as: Church Ifon or Church Evan, the Anglicised version of Ioan, the Welsh for John.
It is one of the earliest religious foundations in Wales, the oldest known reference to it being in a Survey of Chantry Chapels commissioned by Henry Vlll in 1545.
The chapel was ‘dissolved’ by Edward Vl in 1547 and transferred to a private family.
It was used as a school, in 1684, but was a ruin when John Wesley preached there in 1774.
Later years and basic restorations saw it used as the town lock-up, the fire station, a piggery, various shops and a house.
It was restored in the 1930s and presented to the parish.
Now, part of the building is a restaurant, the award-winning ‘Chapters’, while the recently refurbished chapel is a place of weekly worship.
The illustration is from the ‘Official Progress of His Grace the Duke of Beaufort Through Wales’. Dated 1684, it shows St John’s when it was serving as a school.
For times and days of services, see ‘Calendar of Services’ on this website.