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Chapels and Churches

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This is a database of chapels and churches in the general area covered by the main site, here is a  places index to the material 
Commenced in March 2004 it is intended to be as complete as possible within the resources available to me - but as always I am grateful for any contributions/corrections offered by others, particularly as to whether places are still open.
It is in place name alphabetical order, chapels being grouped together whatever their denomination.

Here are some extracts from the article    THE INDUSTRIALIZATION OF A GLAMORGAN PARISH (Llangiwg); By Hugh Thomas, National Library of Wales journal Winter, 1975, Vol XIX/2

Sources/references
Some books are referred to using abbreviations, please note that these books usually have more extensive data than I have summarised here and several of these are listed in the Books section of the main site;

 

 

 


Places Index

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Alltwen/Danygraig/Gellinudd

Ammanford

Baran

Betws

Brynamman

Cilybebyll

Clydach

Craig-cefn-parc

Cwmgors

Cwmllynfell

Cwmtwrch

Garnant/Glanamman

Gellionnen

Godre'rgraig

Gwauncaegurwen

Gwrhyd

Llangiwg

Pontardawe

Rhos

Rhydyfro

Tairgwaith

Trebanos

Ynysmeudwy

Ystalyfera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alltwen/Danygraig/Gellinudd

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Alltwen Independent Chapel    (OS SN72650331)

The Independents started in the parish of Cilybebyll about 1750, early preachers included the Rev Henry Thomas and the Rev William Evans, Cwmllynfell who came as minister in 1757.
Henry Thomas of Lacharn had a school in Godre'r-rhos in 1753, and in the same year an Independent Chapel was established there and he became the pastor. He preached occasionally in Bryncarnau and Brynasgallog farms (the latter on Plas land) but the mistress at the Plas, a strong churchwoman, prohibited Lewis Richard from having preaching meetings at his house which caused him to move to Alltwen.
Near where the chapel stands a small building with a fern roof had been built by the inhabitants for a day school, and here the Independents had the Alltwen Chapel incorporated in 1757.
In 1760 William Evans (Cwmllynfell) became the minister there, later taking on Bethel/Cwmllynfell as well.
The second minister was the Rev John Davies who came in 1770, membership increased so much during his ministry that a new chapel was built near the old one in 1801; requiring yet further expansion in 1814 due to this minister's popularity.
John Davies died in 1814, aged 84, after 51 years as minister at Alltwen.
The Rev Philip Griffiths took over both Alltwen and Pant-teg in 1822, membership again increased requiring yet further extension of the building. In 1831 a new chapel was started and the debt of £500 was cleared in 6 years.
A piece of land was obtained as a cemetery, Margaret Hopkin, Fforest-goch, was the first to be buried there.
The old chapel was converted into three houses and a stable, in 1846 the first little chapel was rebuilt as a house, both buildings still stand today near the present chapel.
In 1858 a vestry was built for the Sunday School, increased membership required a further extension in 1861 costing £300.
Philip Griffiths died in 1882, aged 89, after 59 years service, at that time Alltwen's membership was 650.
The Rev Rees Rees came in 1881, he became  known generally throughout Wales as Rees Rees, Alltwen.
When Tabernacle, Pontardawe opened in 1881, 28 members from Alltwen transferred.
In 1883, 500 members belonged to Alltwen Sunday School requiring a larger vestry, a new large one was built in 1893 with the ground floor being used as a reading room.
Several branches grew from the mother church of Alltwen ---  Ebenezer/Rhos, Bryn Seion/Gellinudd, Danygraig.
Membership at Alltwen after the Revival stood at 850 in 1905.
The period 1909/10 saw the gallery extended, and an organ room built.
The Rev Rees Rees died suddenly in 1910, aged 59, after 35 years as minister here.
In 1915, the Rev W J Rees commenced his pastorage at Alltwen, he served for 38 years, retiring in 1952.
( HPD - p126/9)

The book The History of Pontardawe by J E Morgan (Hirfryn), 1911 has a substantial section re the history of this chapel

The NRW has details of extant records for this chapel;
Christenings 1760-1837, Burials 1760-9 at the PRO, London.
Records held at W Glamorgan Archives; 
Christenings (copy) 1760-1837

Erected before 1800     Average general congregation over 12 months = 545 plus 150 scholars         Informant; Rd Hopkins, Deacon, Alltwen Uchaf, Pontardawe     ( 1851 Religious Census)

In the book Around Pontardawe  by the Pontardawe Historians,1997, it has a photograph of Alltwen Chapel c 1910.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (Coflein) - Alltwen Independent chapel, Alltwen Hill. SN72650332.   Built in 1757, modified, altered or rebuilt in 1801, 1814, 1831, 1861, 1886-7 and in 1909, still used as a chapel in 2005.

There is a book by S G Morgan, 1957, Crynodeb o Hanes yr Achos yn Alltwen gan yr Ysgrifennydd.

There is the book by Thomas, S.   Cofiant Phylip Griffiths, Alltwen. Treffynnon,1902   

A booklet was produced in April 2007 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Alltwen cause in c1757.
This contains a history of the chapel, largely as described in HPD above, but here are some additional facts;

Rees, Thomas & John Thomas. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). Here is the ( Welsh) extract from this book relating to Alltwen Independent Chapel  (extracted by Gareth Hicks) - with translation

See John Ball's site Welsh Churches and Chapels Collection for a photograph/data

 

Danygraig Independent Chapel

Celebrated its Golden Jubilee in October 1959.
In 1893, periodical services held in the Cilybebyll Infant School were in the charge of Robert Roberts, a deacon at Alltwen.
The Rev Rees Rees paid monthly visits to the school.
In 1909, 120 members from Alltwen were granted letters to transfer to Danygraig and a new chapel was built to seat 600 plus a vestry to hold 400 on land obtained from John Davies, ironmonger, Pontardawe.
The officers included James Hinkin, W D Mainwaring, W R Morgan, Evan Thomas and John William Thomas.
In 1912 the Rev Llewelyn Bowyer was inducted pastor, he left in 1927 and they were without a pastor for 6 years until 1934 when the Rev W Morgan Jones followed and later the Rev W Henry Jones.
( HPD- p130/1)

The book The History of Pontardawe by J E Morgan (Hirfryn), 1911 has a section re the history of this chapel, and a photograph

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of Danygraig Chapel in 1909. The caption says that it cost £2600 to build and opened on 18 October 1910. Also that it was still open (1999) although without a resident minister, the last being E Cadfan Philips in 1984. There is also a photograph of the deacons in 1912

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Danygraig chapel, Cilybebyll.  SN7404 .  Built c 1909

Records held at W Glamorgan Archives;
Marriage registers, 1949-1995

Closed in 2002
Planning Application; Conversion to form 4 x 2 bedroomed flats and 4 bedroomed house on adjacent land.        From  Capeli(2004 list of chapels under threat)

 

Bryn Seion Independent Chapel, Gellinudd

Sited about a mile from Pontardawe, a branch of Alltwen it opened in 1897, but long before this services were held in the Board School.
After the death of the Rev Rees Rees, Alltwen in 1910, it was without a pastor for 5 years until the Rev W J Rees came to Alltwen in 1915, he served them well until 1952. During this time a small vestry was built for the children.
Two world wars and older members passing away led to a decline in membership/activity here.
( HPD - p131)

The book The History of Pontardawe by J E Morgan (Hirfryn), 1911 has a section re the history of this chapel

In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of a Sunday school class in the grounds of Whitland House in front of Bryn Seion, c1905, the teacher is Rachel Lewis (nee Davies).

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of Bryn Seion, undated but looks relatively modern. It adds that the last service was held in November 1993, the place was subsequently sold and is now a residential property. 

There is an extract from Old Characters of Gellinudd by John Morgan on my home page in the context of John (Shon) Hicks, where the very early origins of this dissenting congregation are referred to.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -    Bryn-Seion, Gelli-Nudd   SN73550415   

 

St John's Church, Alltwen  (Church in Wales)   (OS SN727034)

This church is in the see of Llandaff and under the rector of Cilybebyll.
Howell Gwyn Esq had it built in 1886 and in the following year a pipe organ was installed by subscription.
It has a seating capacity for 300 persons.
In 1893, Mrs Howell Gwyn built a school for Sunday school and other meetings.
( HPD - p126)

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of  'the combined choirs of St John the Evangelist, Cilybebyll and St John the Baptist, Alltwen in 1969'.

Also in Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of St John the Baptist, Alltwen c 1909. It is said to overlook Dyffryn Rd on the Gwyn estate, and is the daughter church of St John's Cilybebyll. Built in the Victorian style. The Rev D J Davies was the first curate.The building built by Mrs Gwyn in 1893, Gwyn Hall, is shown in the same picture as Alltwen Independent Chapel c 1910 (see above)

I can't find any reference to separate extant records for this church, or indeed any mention of it on the Church in Wales site.

There used to be a parish of Cilybebyll site which had several photographs of this church and also the statement;
"Sadly due to health and safety regulations we are no longer able to use St John's Church for services. All service will be held at the same time but in the Gwyn Hall until further notice. (24-03-03)"


Ammanford

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See under Chapter 16, Ammanford, for lists of Ammanford names copied from  Hanes Methodistiaeth Sir Gaerfyrddin (The History of the Methodists in Carmarthenshire). By Rev James Morris. Published 1911  Translated by Ivor Griffiths, 1994.

There are photographs of various local churches/chapels on Dave Michael's site

Apostolic church, Iscennen Rd/Talbot Rd, Ammanford

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Apostolic church, Iscennen Rd/Talbot Rd, Ammanford.  SN62731244.  Probably built c 1910-15, still in use 2000

 

Bethany Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, Wind St

Cause began in 1881, chapel built same year.
Branch of Sion, Betws parish.
In 1908 it had 310 members.
Extant records unknown
(PCNCW) 

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Bethany Welsh CM chapel, Wind St, Ammanford  SN62811214 First chapel built in 1880-1, vestry completed in 1927 and new chapel built in 1928-9, in use in 2000

See Terry Norman's site for an extensive history

 

English Congregational church (Mission Hall), Iscennen Rd/Talbot Rd, Ammanford

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - English Congregational church (Mission Hall), Iscennen Rd/Talbot Rd, Ammanford. SN62761244.  Built in 1913, still used in 1997

 

English Wesleyan Methodist Chapel

In The History of the Parish of Llandybie by Gomer Roberts, 1939 it says;
The Wesleyans started an English cause in Ammanford in 1886, and by today they have a small church and congregation in the place.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - English Wesleyan Methodist chapel, Wind St, Ammanford     SN62881221 .   Built c 1875 , not in use in 1997

 

Ebenezer Baptist Chapel, Baptist Lane

The cause began c 1848, embodied c 1850.
The chapel was built in 1850.
Those who formed the nucleus of the cause came from Saron and Soar. The minister of Penrhiwgoch, Llanarthney had charge of this cause as well as Saron, Llandybie until 1858 - it was then joined with Saron from 1867-1907.
In 1851 there were c 50/60 members.
Extant records unknown.
(PCNCW)

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Ebeneser Welsh Baptist church, Lloyd St, Ammanford    SN62941217   Formed 1849 and built in 1849-50, rebuilt in 1877 and windows and interior remodelled in 1924, in use in 1998

See Terry Norman's site for an extensive history and photograph

 

Evangelical Church

In Betws Mas o'r Byd by the Betws History Group, 2000 it has a reference to a number of members of Capel Newydd, Betws in 1911 joining the Evangelical Church at Ammanford.

In The History of the Parish of Llandybie by Gomer Roberts, 1939 it has a reference to this cause being established in Ammanford in 1906, and that they later joined with the Apostolic Church, and today have branches in the district.

 

Gellimanwydd Congregational Chapel

Originally called Cross Inn Chapel.
Preaching occurred in this area for years before the chapel was built (see Argoed under Betws), but it did not begin on a regular basis until Mr Davies, Tynewydd, Llanedi started coming here after 1775.
Chapel buildings were erected  here in 1795, 1836 and 1865.
It was a branch of Tynewydd, Llanedi, members came mainly from Tynewydd but some also came from Gellionnen Chapel and Cwmllynfell Chapel, both the latter in Glamorgan.
This church was under the direction of John Davies of Llansamlet, he was pastor here and the Methodist Chapel at Morriston from the 1770s until 1821.
A period of growth was during the ministry of Rees Powell, 1811-59.
Extant records unknown.
(PCNCW) 

In the book The Amman Valley Long Ago by David Evans & Huw Walters is a photograph showing this chapel before its renovation in 1910. The first chapel was built in 1782 (then called Cross Inn Chapel) and re-erected in 1836 and 1865 when its name was changed to 'Christian Temple' by the Rev John Davies who didn't think that Welsh had a future as a spoken language in this area.
There is another photograph in the same book showing members of this chapel following a performance of a cantata, the Rev D Tegfan Davies is included, undated.
Also a photograph of the Rev John Davies, 'The silver trumpet of Cwmamman', who was minister at Old Bethel from 1835 until he left for the Christian Temple in 1859

See also Christian Temple. Eglwys Annibynnol Gellimanwydd. Rhydaman. 1782-1982.
A commemorative booklet by Rachel L Thomas.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Gellimanwydd Welsh Independent chapel, (Christian Temple), Hall St/College St, Ammanford.  SN63151228.    Built in 1782, rebuilt in 1836, enlarged in 1865, restored in 1910. Still used in 2000

See also Terry Norman's site for an extensive history and photograph

 

Gospel Hall (English Pentecostal), Lloyd St, Ammanford

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Gospel Hall (English Pentecostal), Lloyd St, Ammanford. SN63121207   Built c1920, in use in 1998

 

Gwynfryn Welsh Independent chapel, College St, Ammanford

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Gwynfryn Welsh Independent chapel, College St, Ammanford  SN62711265   Built in 1902/3, in use in 1998

 

Hen Gapel (Calvinistic Methodist, Sunday School; Seion; Sion), Pontamman

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW)  - Hen Gapel (Calvinistic Methodist, Sunday School; Seion; Sion), Pontamman    SN64231240    First chapel built before 1800; later alterations & rebuilding in 1829 and 1895, survived until c1940-5, demolished by 1997

 

Tirydail Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (OS  SN 62651285)

Preaching occurred here before 1881
Chapels were erected in 1892 and 1905.
It was a branch of Waenllan, Llandybie, part of the Llandilo fawr circuit.
In 1910 it had 75 members.
(PCNCW)  

Extant records shown in NCW;
Christenings 1814-63 at the NLW; and Christenings 1863-1975 at W Glamorgan Archives

Held at West Glamorgan Archive Service;
Capel Wesley, Tirydail, Ammanford: minutes, 1913-1960; accounts, 1946-1973

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Wesleyan Methodist, Harold St/Station Rd/Dyffryn Rd, Tirydail. SN62561277

 

Elim Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Llandybie Rd, Tirydail

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Elim Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Llandybie Rd, Tirydail  SN62611293   Built in 1906, still in use 2000

 

Ysgol-y-Gwynfryn English Baptist church, Brynmawr Ave, Ammanford

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Ysgol-y-Gwynfryn English Baptist church, Brynmawr Ave, Ammanford    SN62861265   Originally a barn, Ysgol y Gwynfryn (also known as Hope Academy) was founded in 1880 as a preparatory school for Theological and other colleges, in use in 1998

Hope Chapel, Ammanford;
English Baptist Church, opposite side of the road to Brynmawr Farm. Barn converted in 1880 as an educational religious centre by Rev Watcyn H Williams ('Watcyn Wyn') to be called the Hope Academy. He built his home an adjoining land which became to be known as 'Gwynfryn School'.
The premises 'Hope Academy', used as a place of worship, being dedicated by the Bishop of St. David's on the 24th July 1882 for Divine Service and Celebrations of Holy Sacraments. With the completion of All Saints Church in 1915, the Hope Academy became surplus to requirements, became a school room then as English Baptist Church.
[Contributed Jan 2002 by Graham Jones/Betws History Society]

 

Zion Welsh Baptist chapel (Seion), Llandybie Rd, Ammanford

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Zion Welsh Baptist chapel (Seion), Llandybie Rd, Ammanford. SN62581305.  This was a branch of Ebenezer Welsh Baptist Church, Ammanford, and was known locally as the iron chapel, or as Zion zinc, demolished by 1997

 

All Saints Church (Church in Wales)

See Terry Norman's site for an extensive church history and photograph

See Betws for details of the Church in Wales site entry

See the Genuki page for details of extant records

 

St Michael's and All Angels (Church in Wales)

In the book The Amman Valley Long Ago by David Evans & Huw Walters is a photograph showing this church; the foundation stone was laid by Lady Dynevor in 1884 and the church was consecrated by the Bishop of St David's on 2 October 1885.

See Terry Norman's site for an extensive church history and photograph

The ecclesiastical parish of Ammanford/Rhydaman, St Michael was formed out of Llandybie and Betws parishes in 1903 but see Betws for details of the current Church in Wales site entry/description

See the Genuki page for details of extant records


Betws

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See under Chapter 15, Ammanford, for lists of Betws names copied from  Hanes Methodistiaeth Sir Gaerfyrddin (The History of the Methodists in Carmarthenshire). By Rev James Morris. Published 1911  Translated by Ivor Griffiths, 1994.

 

Argoed

In the source books The History of the Parish of Llandybie by Gomer Roberts, 1939 and   Betws Mas o'r Byd by the Betws History Group, 2000 it has a brief history of nonconformism in this area which refers to early C18th worshipping at a house called Argoed in Betws parish. This history is summarised on Terry Norman's site  under Gellimanwydd Congregational Chapel

 

Capel Newydd Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Betws Rd, Betws

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -    Capel Newydd Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Betws Rd, Betws   SN63281185    Built in 1898 in use in 2000

 

Capel Seion Calvinistic Methodist Chapel   (OS SN63081136)

Cause begun in the 1740s by early Methodist leaders.
Chapels were built in 1795 and 1829  (and as Capel Newydd in 1899 - see below).
Early members were connected with Y Gopa, Llandeilo Talybont, Gla.
(PCNCW)

Details of extant records ;
Births and baptisms, 1812-37 at PRO (RG4/3831) & ( LDS 828108, IGI)
(PCNCW) 

In the book The Amman Valley Long Ago by David Evans & Huw Walters is a photograph showing this chapel which was originally built in 1795 and re-erected in 1829. They continued to worship here until 1899 when the new chapel (Capel Newydd) was opened. The 'old' chapel was demolished some years ago.

In PCNCW there are pictures of both old and new Sion chapels

In Betws Mas o'r Byd by the Betws History Group, 2000 it says;
Capel Sion was situated on Betws Rd.
Capel Newydd....... built during 1888/9...... on land that was owned by Lord Dinefwr .... the original name for the plot was Caefadog....

In Old Characters of Bettws by D Trumor Thomas, 1883/96 it says;
At the beginning of this century the Methodists started a cause in the lower part of the parish, and among the elders can be named William Evans, weaver, John Morris of Abercathan, Rees Rees of Ty'nycwm, and John Morgan of Tycoch.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Sion chapel, Welsh CM, Betws Rd, Betws.  SN63091135 .  Built in 1795 and rebuilt in 1829, demolished by 1998 (?)

Although I thought Capel Newydd was still open (2005)

 

Bethesda Baptist Chapel

In Old Characters of Bettws by D Trumor Thomas, 1883/96 it says;
Afterwards (follows above Capel Seion quote) the Baptists started a cause in the upper part of the parish when William Morgan, Ynysceffyl, gave them a piece of land at Ynystomlyd where they built Bethesda in 1843. William Morgan and his wife Gwenllian were a great strength to the cause, were exceptional with their generosity and hospitality especially in those early times to itinerant preachers etc................ John Thomas,Trumyrch led the singing at Bethesda for many years and was one of the good deacons of the place

I have not yet found any other reference to this chapel.

 

Pontaman Wesleyan Methodist Chapel

A society was formed a few years before the chapel was built, exact date unknown
The chapel was built c 1840
Connected with Carmarthen Circuit initially, uncertain after 1860.
In 1851 there were 35 members.
Extant records unknown.
(PCNCW)

 

Siloam Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Maesquarre Rd

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Siloam Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Maesquarre Rd. Built in 1905, disused by 1997     SN64151170

 

St David's Church (Church in Wales)

In Old Characters of Bettws by D Trumor Thomas, 1883/96   there is this list of priests of Bettws Church from 1706 to the present;
1730 Jonathan Griffiths; 1779 Wm Lloyd; 1813 John Williams; 1848 Watkin Herbert; 1850; J Rowlands; 1850 Rd Bowcott; 1854 J Richards; 1859; Lewis Morgan; 1862 Wm Rees; 1865 Morgan Hughes; 1882 Evan Lloyd.

See Terry Norman's site for an extensive church history and photograph

See the Genuki page for details of extant records

The Church in Wales site shows St David's as one of 4 churches(St David, St Michael, All Saints & St Thomas) currently in the parish of Betws St David with Ammanford in the benefice of the same name in the deanery of Dyffryn Aman........... The parish has a PCC, its status is historic and the preferment is Vicar..........the Vicar (Incumbent) is the Rev D Bowen and the Curate is the Rev P H Davies

 

St Thomas, Pontaman (Church in Wales)

The book Betws Mas o'r Byd by the Betws History Group, 2000 says;
In 1890 a Mrs Morris of Wernolau donated a plot of land and a prefabricated type building to the church for use as a Sunday school for the children of Hopkinstown. This Sunday school was  popular with the children of Hopkinstown and its surrounding farms and also served Pontaman. It was dedicated to St Thomas and is situated near Wernolau Rd, in recent years St Thomas' was completely refurbished , throughout its history it has remained popular with children.

See above for details of the Church in Wales site entry

 

Sunday Schools

In Betws Mas o'r Byd by the Betws History Group, 2000 it has sections on Penllech Sunday School, 1904-1994 which ultimately met in a building on land donated by Mrs Mary Jones of Cwm Cathan Isaf;  and also Ysgol Sul Siloam, 1905-1949 and 1949-1999, the latter met in Heol Maesyquarre.


Brynamman

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See under Chapter 15, Ammanford, for lists of Brynamman names copied from  Hanes Methodistiaeth Sir Gaerfyrddin (The History of the Methodists in Carmarthenshire). By Rev James Morris. Published 1911  Translated by Ivor Griffiths, 1994.

There are photographs of various local churches/chapels on Dave Michael's site

Bethania Welsh Independent Sunday School, Rhosaman

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Bethania Welsh Independent Sunday School, Rhosaman, Upper Brynaman   SN72941406    Built 1905, still in use in 1997

There is a group photograph of members of the chapel congregation on  Picture Gallery . under Brynamman 2.

 Bethania Ind chapel, Rhosaman - Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

 

Ebenezer Independent Chapel (Lower Brynamman)

As the population increased in Lower Brynamman a branch of Gibea was started on the Banwen in 1882 under the Rev W D Thomas of Gibea.
A chapel was incorporated in 1896 at the building now known as the Vestry when membership stood at 147.
In 1898 the new chapel was built at a cost of £2200.
In 1902, Mr H O Jones was ordained as its first minister, he left in 1914.
Mr Johnny Lewis, ordained at Ebenezer, acted as minister for 3 years.
In 1920, Mr W D Roberts was ordained there, he left in 1926.
In 1929, the Rev D H Davies was inducted there, those who followed were; the Rev J J Evans; the Rev Dafydd Rowlands; and the current one, the Rev Walford Jones.
In 1930 the church acquired land for a cemetery not far from the chapel.
Membership had increased to 303 by 1936.
( HPD - p178)

Up to date information (4/2004);
The Rev Walford Jones left in the early 70s and was eventually replaced by Cyril Rees . He left for Penclawdd in about 1982/3 and since 1986/87 the chapel has shared the Rev Richard Jones with Tabernacle, Cwmgors. 
There are currently about 100 members. 

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

I have not found reference to extant records at any Archives.

There is a book by  Lucy Owen: Eglwys Annibynnol Ebeneser, Brynaman: canmlwyddiant yr achos, 1882-1982, (Brynaman, 1982), 12tt

See Picture Gallery for photograph

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Ebenezer Independent chapel, Park St, Banwen   SN70891356 Built in 1882, modified, altered or rebuilt in 1897-8

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

 

English Congregational chapel, Lower Station Rd, Brynaman

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  English Congregational chapel, Lower Station Rd, Brynaman   SN71181386  A corrugated-zinc chapel built in 1910, closed in 1996, disused by 1996

 

Gibea Independent Chapel (Upper Brynamman)

The Rev Rhys Pryce (Cwmllynfell) was here with the first chapel (the original Gibea).
Another notable in local religious life was Hopkin Herbert who died aged 90 in 1878 having been a deacon at Gibea for most of his life. Others were David Williams, Caeglas, deacon, died aged 81 in 1877; and  Owen Williams, Cwmgarw, choirmaster, died aged 64 in 1881.
Also Thomas Isaac and William Herbert were significant as prime movers in, firstly, in 1841, opening a Sunday School in Cwmgarw-ganol, the home of Hezekiah Williams, then followed by the building of a chapel (Old Gibea) in 1842, but  1844 was the year that communion was first held here.
Membership at the beginning was 56, and the Rev Rhys Pryce became the minister.
The first to be buried in the graveyard (of Old Gibea), in 1844, was the daughter of John Hicks, the brother of William Hicks, Rhosaman.
In 1856, New Gibea, as it was called, was built, and the number of members at its opening was c 300.
Membership in 1875-77 was c 700.
After the new chapel was opened, the old chapel was turned into a day school.
The Rev J Morlais Jones was a successful minister at Gibea for many years until he moved over to the Anglican Church in 1879.
The source book implies further building works here in 1889.
The minister in charge in 1895 was the Rev W D Thomas.
The first to be buried in the new graveyard of Gibea was the child of Jenkin Thomas, cobbler, date not given.
( HB - various pages)

I have not found reference to extant records at any Archives.
Memorial Inscriptions have been published by Dyfed FHS

In the book The Amman Valley Long Ago by David Evans & Huw Walters is a photograph showing the Rev W D Thomas in the pulpit at Gibea, this is before the organ was installed in 1899.
And another showing the children of Gibea chapel and members of the church's Band of Hope, c 1890.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Gibea Welsh Independent chapel, Mountain Rd/Quarry Rd, Upper Brynaman       SN71381430    Built in 1842 or 1843, rebuilt in 1856- 7 and modified in 1889-90, still in use in 1998

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

Rees, Thomas & John Thomas. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). Here is the ( Welsh) extract from this book relating to Gibea Independent Chapel, Upper Brynamman  (extracted by Gareth Hicks) - with translation

Eglwys Gibea Brynaman 1842 - 1992. (Welsh) This history of Gibea Chapel was compiled for the chapel to mark the occasion of its third jubilee by Miss Mair Thomas.

 

Hermon Independent chapel, Brynaman Rd

There is a book by T. Leslie Walters: Hermon, Brynaman, 1909-1984, (Rhydaman, 1984), 8tt.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Hermon Independent chapel, Brynaman Rd.     SN70351271  
Built in 1905

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

 

Moriah Calvinistic Methodist Chapel (Upper Brynamman)

Recorded as starting in 1871, with 12 members initially, about 100 in 1883.
The current (1883) shepherd is the Rev D F Jones.
There is an extensive graveyard attached to the chapel, part of Cwmgarw land, on the edge of Heol Cwmgarw.
The first to be buried there was the son of John Jones of this place.
The minister in charge in 1895 was the Rev Rhystyd Davies
( HB - p10)
Under Jerusalem, Ystalyfera it mentions that Brynllynfell joined Moriah, Brynamman, in sharing a minister, due to the scarcity of ministers. (mid 1950s ?)
( HPD - p167)

I have not found reference to extant records at any Archives.

In the book The Amman Valley Long Ago by David Evans & Huw Walters is a photograph showing the cast of Agatha, a cantata performed by the children of Moriah Chapel, Brynamman in 1925.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Moreia Welsh CM chapel, (Moriah), Cwmgarw Rd, Upper Brynaman   SN71831428    Built in 1871, still in use in 2000

 

Siloam Baptist Chapel

Branches came to the Amman Valley from the Baptist Chapel, Soar, Llandyfan, particularly Bethesda, Glanamman in 1842 and services commenced in Brynamman in 1868.
These were under the care of the  Rev David Edwards, aided by the Rev Charles Williams (Ystalyfera).
Meetings took place at the Long Room of the Farmers Arms initially.
A chapel was built on the Banwen, opening in 1872 with a capacity of 480 sittings, there were c 120 members in 1873.
The rapid rise was due to a tinworks being opened in Brynamman.
In 1875 the chapel was registered for marriages.
The Rev John Roberts looked after the flock from 1874, followed by the Rev Charles Williams who continued until 1892, increased membership requiring a larger vestry to be  built in 1882 at a cost of £250.
Joseph Lee Davies came from college to be  ordained at Siloam, his most successful ministry increased membership to some 430 by the time he died in 1922.
The Rev S J Leeke was inducted in 1925, membership had increased to c 600 by the time he left in 1932.
The Rev G Tudor Morris followed, left after 3 years on health grounds.
The Rev W Mon Williams came in 1939, and was still there in 1967.
Membership peaked c 1932 but following closure of Glynbeudy Tinplate Works and coal mines in 1949, reduced to 500.
( HPD, p175/6 - the book also lists deacons, secretaries and treasurers by name).

It is recorded in 1869 that the Rev D Edwards carried out baptisms in the river near the bridge, and crowds came to see the ceremony on Sunday afternoons.
At the start in 1870 their numbers were 11, there is an extensive graveyard next to the chapel; the first to be buried there was Soloman James, son of George James, a puddler of the place.
( HB - p9/10)

I have not found reference to extant records at any Archives.

See Picture Gallery for photograph.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Siloam Baptist chapel, Park St, Lower Brynaman.  SN70961361 Built in 1871 and altered in 1895

 

St Catherine's (Church in Wales)

It is recorded in 1869 that there was a small chapel here (related to the Anglican Church in Cwmamman) - called  'Capel Bach'.
Again, in 1878, they started holding services at the school, and the number of members on the first Sunday was 13.
The Rev J Morlais Jones joined them in 1879, members then 37, apart from those he brought with him from Gibea.
In 1883 the membership was 200, it is implied that the church was built around this year too, perhaps 1882.
In 1895 Vicar J Morlais Jones was still the incumbent and that year the foundation stone was laid for a fine hall connected to St Catherine's church - [which is the first time this name is used in this book source].
The first to be buried in the graveyard of St Catherine's was the child of Jacob Morgan, engineer.
(HB - various pages) 

For details of extant church records see Genuki

On the Church in Wales site (2004) it says;
Church Lane, Brynaman.
In the parish of Brynaman, in the benefice of Brynaman with Cwmllynfell........in the deanery of Dyffryn Aman ....... The parish has a PCC, its status is historic, and the preferment is Vicar......The incumbent is  the Rev A Teale

In the book The Amman Valley Long Ago by David Evans & Huw Walters is a photograph showing the damage to St Catherine's church when it was bombed in 1940.

 

Roman Catholic Church, Station Rd, Brynaman               

 


Cilybebyll

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See also under Alltwen/Danygraig/Gellinudd   and Rhos

 

Cilybebyll Church (Church in Wales)   (OS SN744047)

Cilybebyll belonged to Richard de Glanville who erected Neath Abbey in 1130 ......... he gave Cilybebyll Church and tithes to the Abbey.
It was a Catholic Church until Henry VIII's time when the Herberts took it over.
The present building was built in 1869, the old tower was left, sittings for 130.
It is in the see of Llandaff.
Has several memorial stones on the inside walls to the Herberts, Smiths and Lloyds.
( HPD - p125/6)

For details of extant church records see Genuki There was a more detailed history and photographs on the church's own site which also had this statement re the registers;
"The registers are not in very good condition, although they have recently been rebound.The first entries in the registers are as follows; First Baptism 1776; first marriage 1814; first burial recorded 1813"

The Church in Wales site states;
St John Evangelist Church, in the parish and benefice of Cilybebyll.....in the deanery of Neath......... the parish has a PCC, its status is historic, and the preferment is Rector......The incumbent is the Rev M Perry

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, it has a photograph of  'the combined choirs of St John the Evangelist, Cilybebyll and St John the Baptist, Alltwen in 1969'.

In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of Cilybebyll Church c 1950. Also one of a group including the Rector, David Walter Jones, outside the Rectory c 1903.
The caption says; .................. the registers date from 1776 and there have been 21 rectors since 1755.


Clydach

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Bethania Chapel (Particular Baptists)   (OS SN68620150)

A branch of Salem, built by the Particular Baptists in 1841, but not established until 1844 when numbers were 25.
membership increased and Bethania became too small so and another chapel was built centrally in the village - it is implied that this was Calfaria, see below.
Bethania is now only used for burial services.
( HPD - p152) See Calfaria for ministers

Records held at W Glamorgan Archives;
Memorial Inscriptions

Also at the NLW;
Christenings  1807,1812, 1839-71; Burials 1839-71

See also on Genuki

 

Calfaria Baptist Chapel

See also Bethania.
Opened in 1869, a small vestry and house for the pastor had also been built, total cost £2000.
In 1890 a larger vestry was built, cost £400.
A pipe organ and a gallery were built at great cost, later a substantial manse was erected.

Ministers of Bethania and Calfaria Chapels;
Morgan Lewis worked hard in connection with the building of Bethania, and he served Salem and Bethania. He left in 1844.
David Davies was ordained at Bethania in 1844, he left in 1866.
In 1868 H C Howells came and was inducted on the day that Calfaria's foundation stone was laid in 1868, he retired in 1880 and was followed by B D Jones in that year, he left in 1881.
The Rev T V Evans came in 1882, he retired in 1927.
The Rev D Hopkin Morgan ministered at Calfaria from 1930 to 1936.
David Hugh Morgan was ordained at Calfaria in 1938, during his time they celebrated their centenary in 1944.
( HPD-p152/4)

 

Capel Bethel (Welsh Wesleyan Methodist)

Records held at W Glamorgan Archives;
Stock records, 1889-1943

 

Capel y Cwar (Arminian)

The chapel, sited in Bethania Rd, erected c 1795, was a branch of Salem, but services were held at Clydach before this by the Rev D Williams who preached in 1791. Members of Capel y Cwar in 1794 numbered 41.
When the Arminian tide flooded the chapels, it came to Clydach perhaps because of the iron trade links between Clydach and Llandyfan, where the Arminian views were preached by the Rev Moses Williams.
Two movements dominated the chapel, one wanted new methods of singing and preaching, another wanted freedom to express views and were against 'the old order'. Some advocated Arminianism, others Arianism, if not Unitarianism. On the crest of this wave, David Jones preached at Foxhole, Clydach, and monthly at Morriston, and sometimes at Pontardawe.
The ministers were Moses Williams and David Jones, who adopted the Arminian faith.
Members gradually left for Bethania, and,, in 1854, all joined to sink their differences of theology, and the terms Particular and General Baptists vanished from circulation.
( HPD-p151/2)

There is the book ; Capel y Cwar 1794-95 : first Baptist Chapel in Clydach ; Bethania 1844-1994 : (incorporated as a church).[Eglwys Calfaria, Clydach], [1994]

See also on Genuki

 

Carmel Independent Chapel

About 1890 it was felt that a schoolroom was required for members of Hebron, who lived at the other end of the village. The School opened in 1892 and the church was formed that year too. It became necessary to build a larger chapel and the current chapel was built in 1902, cost £4000. The manse was built in 1906.
The ministers were the Revs ; Thomas Davies (1893-94), John Evans (1894-96), Ben Morris (1897-1904), J Oldfield Davies (1905-10), J M Williams (1911-14), Albert Jones (1919-28), D H Lloyd (1930-41), J D W Richards (1943-45), and the present pastor since 1947, the Rev J T Williams .
( HPD-p155)

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

See also on Genuki

 

Hebron Independent Chapel   (OS SN68800107)

When Gellionnen Chapel turned Unitarian, members from Mynydd Bach took a dwelling house at Pentremalwod, Clydach, for holding religious services.
About 1805, a church was formed there, the first minister was Daniel Evans.
The first Hebron, built on the site later occupied by the Cloth Hall, was opened in 1821.
The second pastor, William Thomas, came in 1830 and left in 1834 with a number of members to form a new church in Glais. In the same year, David Jones became minister at Hebron and remained until his death in 1845.
He was followed by Thomas Thomas in 1846, during his time a larger chapel was built (old Hebron), opened in 1849.
The next minister was David Evans, ordained in 1853, left in 1859.
Then came Esay Owen, 1861 - 1903, in his time the old Hebron was demolished and the present building replaced it in 1882.
In 1905 D Eiddig Jones came, he left in 1921, he was followed by J J Roberts in 1923, he retired in 1953.
The present minister, the Rev E Stanley John, came in 1954.
( HPD - p154)

Records held at W Glamorgan Archives;
Baptisms, 1808-1837 (PRO copy)
Memorial Inscriptions 

See also on Genuki

See Welsh Chapels and Churches for a photograph

Rees, Thomas & Thomas, John. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru.   (History of the Welsh Independent Churches),volume 2, 1872. Here is the (Welsh) extract from this book relating to this chapel

Although shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site in Dec 2006, it is known to have been up for sale from at least April 2009 - see photographs on the Picture Gallery

 

Salem Baptist Chapel

The Baptist cause may have started at Fagwyr as a branch from Swansea about 1657 to 1677.
They built Bryn Salem in 1777, later to become known as Salem.
In 1789, the Gymanfa accepted Salem, where Morgan Rees and Jonathan Francis alteratively administered the communion.
J Francis became pastor here, and Jonathan Davies took charge from 1808 to 1823.
In 1815 the chapel was rebuilt and enlarged.
David Thomas followed J Davies in 1824. Morgan Lewis came then in 1840, left in 1845.
( HPD- p150/1)

 

Salem Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Clydach

This may be; Salem Fardre Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, Lone Rd, Fardre, Clydach. SN69010187     Built in 1871, modified, altered or rebuilt 1891 

See also on Genuki

 

Wesleyan (Swansea [English] Circuit), Clydach  

See  on Genuki

 

Clydach Methodist church, Clydach, Rhyndwyglydach             S N6801

See also on Genuki

 

Sundry

See also on Genuki for various references to other unidentified chapels in the Clydach area - under Other

 

Jehovah Witnesses

Jehovah Witnesses congregated at the Kingdom Hall, Capel Rd, Clydach.
Their present head is Pryce Hughes.
They were also called Russellites , after Charles Russell who spoke at Cardiff in 1910.
In 1964, the twenty five Pontardawe members worshipped at Clydach where there were seventy members.
( HPD - p156/7)

 

Roman Catholic Church

Roman Catholics were comparatively few in the Pontardawe district, but at Clydach many Irishmen came to work at the Mond Nickel Works at the beginning of the C20th and established a cause.
They built a chapel on Pontardawe Rd, Clydach.
Father O'Donovan is the present priest.
Mass is celebrated on Sunday mornings at the Working Men's Club and Institute, Pontardawe. The room is given free of charge.
( HPD - p157)

 

Saint John's Church (Church in Wales)  (OS SN694014)

Opened in 1847 when the ecclesiastical parish of Clydach was formed,  built in the shape of a cross, seats 300 people.
It has a cemetery.
The ministers were; The Revs Enoch Rees (1847-68), Evan Davies (1868-1895), David Williams (1895), the latter was followed by James Jones.
Welsh and English services were held alternatively in the Church and Schoolroom.
( HPD - p157)

The Church in Wales site shows; ..... St John Baptist, High St, Clydach ...... in the parish of Clydach ..... in the benefice of Clydach....... which is in the deanery of Cwmtawe ...... the parish has a PCC, its status is historic, and the preferment is Vicar ......The incumbent is the Rev T J Hewitt
Places of worship listed are ; St John Baptist, St Mary, St Michael (Trebannws)

See Genuki for extant records details

See Welsh Chapels and Churches for a photograph

See John Ball's site Welsh Churches and Chapels Collection for a photograph/data

Book;
Anon. Canmlwyddiant Eglwys Sant Ioan, Fedyddiwr, Clydach. Also the centenary of the formation of the parish of Clydach. Morriston, 1947.

 

St Mary's Church (Church in Wales)

The building of the new St Mary's Church provided better facilities; the population of Clydach grew rapidly with the opening of coal mines, tinworks and the nickel refinery at the beginning of the C20th. The total cost of the new church was £12,500 of which more than £9500 had been raised by direct subscription.
The vicars were Canon Thomas Morris (1904-34), Canon T Harries Williams) for 13 years), and the Rev Gwyn Lewis was the seventh vicar of the parish of Clydach. The Rev J W Jones followed in 1952.
The Church Hall was built in 1914, cost £4000.
( HPD - p157/8)

See St John for Church in Wales site details

There is a jubilee handbook by Miss K M Horrocks.

See Genuki for extant records details


Craig-cefn-parc

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Pant-y-Crwys Independent Chapel

In 1846, non-denominational Sunday school started in the Mount, a dwelling house, and Baran Chapel presented the school with bibles.
In 1862 the Independents opened a new building, their first place of worship at Craigcefnparc.
In 1868 the first Holy Communion took place here making it no longer necessary for members to walk to Baran, Rhydyfro and Clydach.
The Rev T Davies of Horeb, Morriston, and of Baran was the first minister, until 1870. By 1872 membership had risen to 50.
Pantycrwys joined with Nebo to give a call to the Rev Onllwyn Brace who came in 1872 and stayed for 6 years.
In 1873 Craig-cefn-parc had 119 houses occupied by 657 persons, chiefly colliers and families.
In 1880, Joseph Henry was ordained and became minister for the two chapels, stayed for 3 years.
Membership increased to 110 so they decided to have a minister of their own, in 1885 the Rev Llewelyn E Jenkins came and stayed until 1893.
The Rev Evan H Jenkins followed in 1896, during his time the present chapel, built on the lower part of the cemetery, opened in 1897, seating for 550.
The Rev T G Owen came in 1912, left in 1923.
During the 1926 strike, they demolished the old chapel and built a new vestry which opened in 1927.
The Rev E S Roberts ministered from 1928 to 1931.
In 1933 the chapel/vestry were lit by electricity, three years later central heating was installed.
The Rev T George Phillips was ordained here in 1939, left in 1948, followed by the Rev Robin J Williams in 1950, he left in 1964.
The walls of the chapel cracked due to subsidence caused by the working of coal seams in the vicinity.
A manse was built at a cost of £4000.
( HPD - p155/6)

There is a book by Robin J. Williams: Pant-y-Crwys, Craig-Cefn-Parc, 1862-1962, (Abertawe, 1962), 24tt.

And another,  by J.T. Evans: Braslun o hanes eglwys Annibynnol Pantycrwys, Craigcefnparc o 1847-1947, (Treforus, 1947), 55tt

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

See also on Genuki

 

Baptist, Craig-cefn-parc 

See also on Genuki

 


Cwmgors

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Tabernacl Independent Chapel.

Started in 1887 [215 members of Carmel had letters of release] with a Sunday school in long room of New Star Inn initially, vestry built in 1894, present day building opened in 1912, cost £4,321, with membership of 320.
The Rev T M Roderick cared for the chapel from 1913 until his death in 1944. Likewise the Rev Irfon Samuel from 1950 to at least 1964. ( HPD p174/5)

It has no cemetery of its own, the one at Hen Garmel(GCG) being generally used.
There are no extant registers lodged at W.Glamorgan Archives.

See the Picture Gallery for photographs of both chapels and the cemetery.
See Genuki for a translation and index of Annibynwyr Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen by L C Huws, 1942
The photographs from the book have been copied and can be viewed here 

It is still open in 2004, since about 86/87 the chapel has shared the Rev Richard Jones with Ebenezer, Brynamman

The book The Amman Valley Long Ago by David Evans & Huw Walters contains a photograph of the cast of the cantata Giant's Castle performed under the direction of William J Jones by the children and young people of Tabernacl, Cwmgors in Feb 1913. The choir was assisted by an orchestra conducted by D J Evans.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Tabernacle Welsh Independent chapel, Cwmgors   SN70451082 Built between 1890 and 1905. Still in use in 2005

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

 

Seion Baptist Chapel

Started by members from Siloam, Brynamman in 1894.
Cared for from that date by the Rev John E Thomas until his death in 1919.
Membership in 1945 was 165. ( HPD - p177)

There is this book;
Hanes canmlwyddiant Seion, Cwmgors, 1891-1991 by David James Jones, 1991. 28p

 

English Wesleyan Methodist

Records at W Glamorgan Archives ;
Marriage register, 1959-1968

The Ordnance Survey reference quoted in NRW is SN70371137 which seems to place it somewhere behind the old Co-op shop building.

 

Llanfair (Church in Wales)

In the diocese of St David's, ecclesiastical parish of Cwmamman.
Opened in 1886, services partly English, partly Welsh. In the period 1909 to 1924 the place flourished and a Church Hall was built together with a branch at Tairgwaith. A cemetery surrounded the church. ( HPD - p177/8)

For details of extant church records see Genuki

The Church in Wales site states (2004);
Llanfair Church, Heol y Gors, Cwmgors, Gwauncaegurwen, AMMANFORD in the parish of Gwaun-cae-Gurwen in the benefice of Gwaun-cae-Gurwen...... which is in the deanery of Dyffryn Aman. The parish has a PCC, its status is historic, and the preferment is Vicar......The incumbent is the Rev. J G M Ladd.  

See a photograph of Llanfair Church on the Picture Gallery

See also Tai'rgwaith


Cwmllynfell

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Old Cemetery, Cwmllynfell

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Old Cemetery, Cwmllynfell    SN74551270  Denomination not given  

 

Baptist chapel, Cwmllynfell

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Baptist chapel, Cwmllynfell    SN74491301

 

Bryn Gwilym Baptist Chapel

From the entry below for Bryn Seion, Cwmtwrch
"
In 1902, ..... it was decided to form a church at Bryn Gwilym, Cwmllynfell and 33 members left to form the new church. Beula's minister, the Rev B James, took care of these churches."

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -   Bryn Gwilym chapel, Cwmllynfell   SN7412  Denomination not given  

 

Brynllynfell Welsh CM chapel , Cwmllynfell

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Brynllynfell chapel , Cwmllynfell    SN7412  Denomination not given    Built in 1897

Brynllynfell Welsh CM chapel; Cae Du Road, , Cwmllynfell, Abertawe SA9 2FQ - still open in 2006

 

Cwmllynfell Independent Chapel

It appears that Cwmllynfell came under the influence of Huw Edwards, puritan pastor at Llanddeusant and Llangadog, as early as 1648. Llewelyn Bevan was the first minister at Cwmllynfell  -  in the period 1701-1724; followed by Roger Howell, 1712-1742(?); Joseph Simons, 1724-1758; Evan Williams, 1757-59; Lewis Rees (Tirdoncyn) as acting pastor, 1760-64.  
Towards the end of Llewelyn Bevan's ministry, Arminianism and Calvinism caused strife at both Cwmllynfell and Gellionnen.
William Evans was inducted there in 1767 but died in 1770, John Davies (Alltwen) followed him and it was during his ministry that it was decided to build a chapel at Cwmllynfell; there is a lease of the land dated 1754, plus others in 1786, 1813 and 1814.
The foundation of the Meeting House was laid in 1814, John Davies died in 1821.
The Rev John Rowlands(of Cwmamman too) followed him, he died in 1834.
Other ministers at Cwmllynfell were; Rees Price (in 1835 after Rowlands); John Rees (1870-); D Jeremy Jones (1910- ); T Eurig Davies (1919- ); Edwin Jones (1929- ); J Roberts; and T G Thomas(there in 1967).
( HPD - p169-171)

The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. By Jones, I.G. & Williams, D. Cardiff, 1976.

Extract for Cwmllynfell chapel, Caegurwen District, Llanguicke (Independent Dissenters---or Congregationalists --- crossed out); John Herbert. Deacon, (R. Pryce, Independent Minister--- crossed out)

  • Erected before 1800
  • Space: free 65; standing 30.
  • Present: morning 425 + 398 scholars; evening 300
  • Average (6 months): general congregation 600; scholars 447

The IGI includes the following records;
Cwmllynfell Independent - Christenings, 1751-1836

See the Book section for an index of   Hanes Eglwys Cwmllynfell by The Reverends J Dyfnallt Owen M.A , J D Jones and Ben Davies. 1935

Possibly also known as Hen Gapel, Cwmllynfell

Rees, Thomas & Thomas, John. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru.   (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4volumes, 1871+. Here is the (Welsh) extract from this book relating to Carmel  - with translation by Eleri Rowlands

See Welsh Chapels and Churches for a photograph of both New and Old chapels

Capel Newydd Ind, Cwmllynfell - Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

NB.  See also Seion Independent Chapel   (OS SN74681240)

NRW has details of records for this chapel

At the PRO, London are;
Baptisms, 1760-1835 and Burials 1760-1769.

Records held at W Glamorgan Archives;
Baptisms, 1751, 1760-1835; list of persons admitted to communion, 1767-1772; petitions, 1760-1769 (PRO copy)

The Ordnance Survey reference given in NRW is SN74681240 which doesn't seem to quite match any of the chapels shown on the modern OS map.

The  following entries  confirm it is the same chapel as Cwmllynfell Independent chapel above

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Cwmllynfell Welsh Independent chapel (Seion)   SN74671256 Built in 1786, modified, altered or rebuilt in 1814, 1823, 1860, 1905 and 1912.  Still in use in 1997

See John Ball's site Welsh Churches and Chapels Collection for a photograph/data of Seion Independent Chapel, Cwmllynfell (which says " The present chapel is located about 300 metres south of the site of the original chapel. The earlier chapel, together with its graveyard, continue to exist as a derelict ruin")

 

Methodist chapel, Cwmllynfell

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Methodist chapel, Cwmllynfell    SN74801274

 

Rehoboth (Apostolic) chapel, Gwilym Rd, Cwmllynfell

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Rehoboth (Apostolic) chapel, Gwilym Rd, Cwmllynfell SN74361309   

 

Rhiwfawr Independent Chapel

During the ministry of John Rees at Cwmllynfell (see above), he saw branches established at Rhiwfawr and Ebenezer, Cwmtwrch.
( HPD - p171)
As the population increased at Rhiwfawr, prayer meetings were held in houses, and a Sunday School prepared the way for a cause of its own. In 1891, 62 members left the mother church of Cwmllynfell to form a church here.
In 1905 the building was enlarged at a cost of £281 and opened in 1905 when the Rev John Rees(Cwmllynfell) preached there.
Gwrhyd and Rhiwfawr united to give a call to the Rev Edward James, Canaan, Swansea and he was the first minister at Rhiwfawr, arriving in 1892 leaving for Ebbw Vale in 1903.
The Rev William D Roderick ministered at Gwhryd and Rhiwfawr for nearly 40 years from 1906, with membership increasing from 93 in 1906 to 215 in 1931.
( HPD - p172)

On the modern map there is a chapel marked in the middle of Pen-rhiw-fawr village, just west of Cwmtwrch.

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Rhiwfawr Independent chapel, Penrhiw Fawr   SN74771093 Built in 1876, modified, altered or rebuilt in 1905, still in use 1999


Cwmtwrch

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Bethania Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Lower-Cwmtwrch

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Bethania Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Lower-Cwmtwrch  SN77021010  Built in 1851, still in use in 2000

Bethania Cwmtwrch Welsh CM chapel; 118 Cwmphil Road, Lower Cwmtwrch, Abertawe, Abertawe SA9 2PX - still open in 2006

See John Ball's site Welsh Churches and Chapels Collection for a photograph/data

 

Beula Baptist Chapel    (OS SN76681030)

Beula, issued from Nantyffin, was formed in 1831 despite 1834 being carved on the stone work.
It was extended in 1860, and the present Beula was built in 1903, has c 900 sittings.
A vestry was erected opposite in 1893.
It celebrated its centenary in July 1932.
The source book lists the 14 ministers who have occupied the pulpit, the first was the Rev D Moses Williams from 1831 to 1834. One of the longest serving was Benjamin James from 1894 to 1910. W P Thomas came there in 1933, implied still there in 1967.
In 1948 the members numbered 204.
( HPD - p165)

The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. By Jones, I.G. & Williams, D. Cardiff, 1976.

Extract for Bula chapel, Cwmtwrch (Calvinistic Baptist);  Lewis Rees. Deacon, Cwmtwrch

  • Erected 1833
  • Space: free 250; other 168; standing 20
  • Present: morning 200 + 60 scholars; evening 240 + 80 scholars

The NRW has details of extant records for this chapel;
Christenings 1899-1928 and Burials 1899-1928 are at the NLW

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Beulah Baptist chapel, Lower Cwm-twrch   SN76691030   Built in 1834, modified, altered or rebuilt in 1860 and in 1903

 

Bryn Seion Baptist Chapel

It was built in 1877 by the Baptists in Upper Cwmtwrch for holding a Sunday School and was first known as Yr Ysgoldy.
In 1889 Sunday night services were held three times a month, and on the other Sunday, communion service was held at Beula.
On Sunday March 1st 1896, 43 members partook of communion at Bryn Seion, when the Rev William Rees started looking after the place in 1879 there were only 13. He left in 1886.
Bryn Seion was incorporated as a separate church in 1897, Beula gave the building and released 57 of its members to join.
In 1902, membership stood at its maximum of 174, in that year it was decided to form a church at Bryn Gwilym, Cwmllynfell and 33 members left to form the new church. Beula's minister, the Rev B James, took care of these churches.
In 1905 it was decided to have separate pastors for the two places and the Rev G R Davies received a call. he left in 1919.
The evangelist Miss Rosina Davies took charge for two years and the place celebrated its 50th year during her stay.
( HPD - p165) 

I have not found reference to extant records at any Archives.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Bryn Seion, Cwmllynfell     SN7511    Built in 1877

 

Capel Newydd Baptist Chapel   (OS SN76541040)

NRW has a reference to this chapel which has extant records;
Marriages 1953-78 at the NLW

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Capel Newydd, Cwm-twrch      SN7510  

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Newydd Baptist chapel, Lower Cwm-twrch   SN76541039

 

Ebenezer Independent Chapel

In the source book under Cwmllynfell it mentions that during the Rev John Rees's ministry there he saw branches established at Rhiwfawr and Ebenezer, Cwmtwrch. He was the pastor at both Cwmllynfell and Cwmtwrch until the end of his ministry. He came in 1870, implied he left in c 1908.
( HPD - p171)

Held at W Glamorgan Archives;
Ebeneser Chapel, Cwmtwrch: chapel history, 1992 

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

There is a book by Magdalen Jones, Hywel Gwyn Evans: Hanes Ebenezer, eglwys yr Annibynwyr, Cwmtwrch, (Cwmtwrch, 1993), 83tt.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -   Ebeneser (Ebenezer) Welsh Independent chapel, Upper Cwmtwrch      SN75681129    Built 1858,  still in use in 2001

See John Ball's site Welsh Churches and Chapels Collection for a photograph/data

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

 

Bethel Independent chapel, Glantwrch (Lower Cwmtwrch)

In Bethel Rd, Lower Cwmtwrch - on the north bank of the Twrch which appears to be the county line at this point - thus in  Breconshire

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -    SN77030993         Built in 1861

Rees, Thomas & Thomas, John    Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru.   (History of the Welsh Independent Churches),4 volumes, 1871+.  There is an entry for this chapel in this book (under Glamorgan) and here is the opening section;

"Mae y capel hwn o fewn terfynau plwyf Llanguwg, yn Morganwg, ond o fewn ychydig latheni i blwyf Ystradgynlais yn Mrycheiniog. Saif ar lan yr afon Twrch, tua haner milldir uwchlaw capel y Gurnos. Dechreuwyd yr achos yma tua'r flwyddyn 1850, mewn anedd-dy o'r enw y Felinganol, preswylfod William John Thomas, un o ddiaconiaid yr eglwys yn Nghwmllynfell, a bu ef a William Llewellyn yn ei flaenori a'i fagu am flynyddau fel cangen o Gwmllynfell. Pregethai Mr. Pryse, Cwmllynfell yn achlysurol i'r gangen hon, a bu Mr. B. Thomas, Gurnos yn pregethu yn fisol iddi am rai blynyddau. Yn y flwyddyn 1861, cyn fod y capel wedi ei gwbl orphen, corpholwyd y gangen hon yn eglwys annibynol ar y fam-eglwys yn Nghwmllynfell, pryd y gweinyddwyd yr ordinhad o Swper yr Arglwydd gan Mr. Pryse, yn cael ei gynorthwyo gan amryw o ddiaconiaid ei eglwys. Mr. Thomas Griffiths, masnachydd, Ystalyfera, a Mr. H. Rees, o'r Ystrad fu a'r llaw flaenaf gydag adeiladu y capel. Bu Mr. Rees hefyd yn gofalu am yr eglwys fel ei gweinidog am rai misoedd, ond o herwydd helaethrwydd cylch ei lafur, bu raid iddo roddi ei ofal yma  i fyny yn dra buan. Mae llafur a ffyddlondeb William Thomas, Isaac Williams, John Jones, Owen John, Owen Owen, David Owen, ac eraill, gydag adeiladaeth y capel hefyd yn teilyngu coffad...................................."

There are photographs of this chapel on the Picture Gallery - taken from selling agent's online details in December 2010 (for sale from at least August 2010)

 See also Welsh Chapels and Churches for a photograph

See John Ball's site Welsh Churches and Chapels Collection for a photograph/data

 

Pentecostal church, Cwm-twrch

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Pentecostal church, Cwm-twrch    SN7510

 

Temperance Hall, Upper Cwm-twrch

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Temperance Hall, Upper Cwm-twrch  SN75761126

There are photographs of this chapel copied from the selling agent's site on Picture Gallery


Garnant and Glanamman

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See under Chapter 15/16, Ammanford, for lists of Glanamman names copied from  Hanes Methodistiaeth Sir Gaerfyrddin (The History of the Methodists in Carmarthenshire). By Rev James Morris. Published 1911  Translated by Ivor Griffiths, 1994.

There are photographs of various local churches/chapels on Dave Michael's site

 

Bethesda Baptist Chapel, Glanamman

Branches came to the Amman Valley from the Baptist Chapel, Soar, Llandyfan, particularly Bethesda, Glanamman in 1842.
( HPD - p175)

Taken from a message board dated 2001;
Bethesda Glanaman is still open - with a respectable membership. A Welsh speaking Baptist congregation

See Picture Gallery

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Bethesda Welsh Baptist church, Cwmaman Rd, Glanaman SN67741362        Built in 1843- 4, rebuilt in 1882, still in use in 1998

 

Bethania Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, Glanamman

In The Amman Valley & District by Brian Lewis is a photograph of the Rev Jenkin Lewis in the pulpit of Bethania Chapel, Glanamman in 1953, he was minister there between 1928 and 1964.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Bethania Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Brynlloi Rd/Bethania Rd, Glanaman    SN67481358   Built 1906-7, the schoolroom/vestry is dated 1941, still in use in 1998

 

Bethel Independent Chapel, Glanamman

The cause began about mid 18th century, the Independents worshipped with the Methodists until Bethel was built c 1773.
The building was enlarged in 1825.
Initially a branch of Cwmllynfell Chapel (see above).
The records available are in the combined records of Cwmllynfell and Alltwen ;
Births and Baptisms, 1760-1835. Held at the PRO, London.(RG4/3900 and IGI GS813545)
Details of deaths 1836 -71 are at the  NLW (MS21887)
( PCNCW)

Hen Fethel has a graveyard.

In the book The Amman Valley Long Ago by David Evans & Huw Walters is a photograph of the Rev John Davies, 'The silver trumpet of Cwmamman', who was minister at Old Bethel from 1835 until he left for the Christian Temple in 1859

In the book Old Characters of Bettws by D Trumor Thomas, 1883/96 it says;
It was also said about the carpentry of Jonathan Morgan, Brynlloi  -  he was a carpenter by trade although he was a coalmaster at one time  -  that he was good and dependable, as old Bethel chapel, Cwmamman proved when they renewed the roof about 15 years ago. The work of this well known carpenter, which he carried out in 1826 during rebuilding, stood firm under the roof, and received approval without any need to touch it when placing new tiles on it. Also the same could be said of the windows etc.

Also from Old Characters of Bettws by D Trumor Thomas, 1883/96;
The nonconformists began to worship at Brynlloi as early as 1727....... in 1773 old Bethel was built so the meeting place moved from Bettws to the parish of Llandeilo.

See Picture Gallery

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - HenFethel (Old Bethel) Welsh Independent chapel, Garnant  SN68151440     Built 1773; largely rebuilt 1825/6, associated with Methodist Minister, Rev. Peter Williams, still use in 1998

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Bethel Newydd Welsh Independent chapel, Glanamman Rd, Glanamman    SN68181347    Chapel first built 1773, enlarged 1825 and rebuilt or modified in 1875/6, the present building dates from 1876, still in use in 1997

Bethel Newydd Ind chapel, Garnant -  Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

Cambrian Index entries  
- 11 September 1874  FOUNDATION STONE FOR NEW BETHEL CHAPEL AT CWMAMMAN (TURNPIKE ROAD LEADING FROM LLANDILO TO NEATH) LAID BY MRS.DANIEL. P5
- 11 September 1874 NEW BETHEL CHAPEL CWMAMMAN (LEFT SIDE OF TURNPIKE ROAD FROM LLANDILO TO NEATH) PLOT GRANTED BY EVAN DANIEL, SWANSEA. P5
- 11 September 1874 NEW BETHEL CHAPEL CWMAMMAN: T.THOMAS, LLANELLY, BUILDER; JOHN HUMPHREYS, MORRISTON ARCHITECT (COST £2040:11S:6D) P5

 Dyfed FHS have produced the MIs for Old Bethel's graveyard (part of?) on fiche (Sept/07)

Rees, Thomas & Thomas, John. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru.   (History of the Welsh Independent Churches),volume 2, 1872. Here is the ( Welsh) extracts from this book relating to Bethel, Cwmaman  - with translation

 

Bryn Seion Independent Chapel, Glanamman

In The Amman Valley & District by Brian Lewis is a photograph of 'laying memorial stones' at Brynseion chapel on 26 May 1910 with the Rev G Pemar Griffiths presiding. The photograph shows a partly completed chapel building which is said cost £4,784, the builder was William Evans, Ammanford. It was dressed in stones from the Forest of Dean and built in the Gothic style.

Another reference for this chapel is this book below which implies the place started up about 1907;
John Jenkyn Morgan ( Glan Berach): Hanner canrif o hanes eglwys Annibynnol Bryn Seion, Glanaman, Sir Gaerfyrddin, (Abertawe, 1957), 43tt.

In the book The Amman Valley Long Ago by David Evans & Huw Walters is a photograph showing the interior of this chapel soon after its completion in 1912.

See Picture Gallery

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Bryn Seion Welsh Independent chapel, High St, Glanaman  SN67551358     Built in 1909-10, the Norman & Beard organ and pipes were added in 1911, still in use in 1998

 

Brynlloi Independent Sunday School, Glanaman

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -   Brynlloi Independent Sunday School, Glanaman    SN683134 Built in 1864

 

Calfaria Welsh Baptist church, Dynevor Rd, Garnant

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Calfaria Welsh Baptist church, Dynevor Rd, Garnant   SN69031304   Built in 1843- 4, rebuilt in 1882, still in use in 1998

 

Mynydd-du Welsh Independent Sunday School, Twyn-mynydd, Glanaman

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Mynydd-du Welsh Independent Sunday School, Twyn-mynydd, Glanaman      SN66631460      Sunday School built in 1900 , still in use in 1999

 

Ramah Apostolic church (English), Dynevor Rd, Garnant

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Ramah Apostolic church (English), Dynevor Rd, Garnant SN68981302    Built in 1923, not in use in 1997

 

Stepney Hall Welsh Independent chapel, Cwmamman Rd, Garnant

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Stepney Hall Welsh Independent chapel, Cwmamman Rd, Garnant SN69091309         Sunday School built before 1901, disused by 1997

 

Tabernacle Calvinistic Methodist Chapel, Glanamman

The cause began about mid 18th century, they worshipped with the Independents until Bethel was built c 1773.
The Methodists then worshipped in their homes until Tabernacle was built in 1842.
A branch of Sion in Betws parish.
In 1770 it had 14 members, in 1842 had 21 and in 1908  had 70.
See Bethel for records, also Sion, Betws, the latter's Births and Baptisms 1812-37 are at the PRO, London (RG4/3831 and in IGI (GS828108)
( PCNCW)

Records held at Carmarthen Archives;
Burials: 1898-1982 
( NRW)

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Tabernacle Welsh Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Tabernacle Rd, Glanaman      SN67081377    Built in 1840-41, still in use in 1997

 

Twyn Welsh Independent chapel, Highfield rd, Garnant

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Twyn Welsh Independent chapel, Highfield rd, Garnant SN69181369   Not in use in 1997

 

Cwmamman (Church in Wales)

The Church in Wales site states (2004);
The parish of Cwmaman is in the benefice of Cwmaman which is in the deanery of Dyffryn Aman ...... The parish has a PCC, its status is historic, and the preferment is Vicar...... [no vicar named] places of worship in the benefice are;
Christ Church which is in Vicarage Rd, Twyn, Garnant
St Margaret, Glanaman which is in Tirycoed Rd, Glanaman.

For details of extant church records see Genuki

See Photograph of Christ Church, Garnant in Picture Gallery

In the book The Amman Valley Long Ago by David Evans & Huw Walters is a photograph of W A Hay with the Rev W A Jones cutting the first sod for the erection of Saint Margaret's church in 1932.


Gellionnen  

(OS SN70070415)

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Gellionnen is the oldest nonconformist chapel in the area.

On Gellionnen Mountain there is on the wall of the Unitarian Chapel a record stating that;

"This place of worship for the use of Protestant Dissenters was first erected 1692, under the patronage of Hon Bussy Mansel Esq, and rebuilt 1801 under the direction of the pastor for the time being, the Rev Josiah Rees, in the 38th year of his ministry hereat."

The first pastor was Robert Thomas, he died in 1692.
Llewelyn Bevan, Cwmllynfell, was ordained here in 1697, he ministered at both Cwmllynfell and Gellionnen from 1701 to 1723. Roger Howell, a smith by trade, was co-minister with Llewelyn Bevan , because the area was so large there were two ministers here right up until 1724. Joseph Simonds, a Calvinist, helped Roger Howell in 1724 but after Howell's death (in 1742 ?) there was no regular minister for 16 years except for the occasional services of Simonds.
During this period Calvinism and Nonconformity increased at Cwmllynfell while Arminianism and Unitarianism were favoured at Gellionnen.
In 1764, Josiah Rees came here to preach monthly, in 1767 Cwmllynfell and Gellionnen parted company.
Josiah Rees died in 1804 after 40 years of service here, he was the prime mover in the rebuilding of the chapel in 1801.
Both Josiah Rees and his son Thomas were both strong Unitarians.
When Gellionnen became Unitarian, the Independents left and for a year worshipped in Llwyn Ifan Farm, moved to Nantymoel Uchaf when numbers increased, eventually establishing the Independent chapel at the Baran in 1805.
David Oliver who followed in 1806 was a successful Baptist minister, not so successful with the Unitarians, he lasted until 1814, and followed in 1815 by John James who ministered here until he died in 1862.
The Rev John Evans became co-minister with James in 1862 and minister in 1863, he also kept a school at Trebannws, he died in 1888.
The source book lists 6 other ministers who followed right up to the current (1967) minister, the Rev Elwyn Davies.
The chapel was renovated in 1873.
As the population concentrated in the valley, members deemed it advisable to build near the main road at Trebannws and Capel-y-Graig was opened in 1894. (See under Trebanos)
( HPD -p131/5)

The book The History of Pontardawe by J E Morgan (Hirfryn), 1911 has several pages about the history of this chapel

In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of Gellionen Chapel c 1910.
Caption says that the location that now seems  remote would then have been the focal point of considerable traffic as several roads converge near this point. There was a large stable at the chapel where Josiah Rees is reputed to have kept a school. There have been some 22 ministers since 1692.

Extant records at Archives;
Christenings 1763-1814 at PRO; Marriages 1880-6 at NLW; Burials 1786 at PRO; Burials 1862-87 at NLW.
( NRW)

There is the book by Davies, D E. Capel Gellionnen, 1692-1992.

There is a book A Short History of Gellionen Chapel and Baran Chapel by Haydn Morgan, Trebanos

See Picture Gallery for photograph

See John Ball's site Welsh Churches and Chapels Collection for a photograph/data

See also on Genuki


Godre'rgraig

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Godre'rgraig Independent Chapel

A branch from  Pant-teg began by erecting a school room c 1864 when weekly prayer meetings and Sunday School were held.This continued until 1905 when prayer meetings were held on Sunday evenings, and in that year the first sermon was delivered there by the Rev Ben Davies (Pant-teg).
By the first Sunday of 1906, 58 members formed the cause which was incorporated under the guidance of the minister from Pant-teg. The school room was renovated and opened in October 1909.
In 1913 Mr Ellis Parry accepted the call, he left in 1918.
After over 6 years without a minister here, in 1924 the Rev David T Rees came, but he died in 1925.
There followed yet another 6 years without a pastor, in 1931 the Rev James Davies came, he left in 1843 and was followed by the Rev B Llewelyn Evans.
( HPD - p167/8)

No known extant records in Archives.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Ysgoldy Panteg,(Godr'ergraig)    SN7608   Built in 1863-4

See John Ball's site Welsh Churches and Chapels Collection for a photograph/data

See under Ystalyfera for the Church of St James in Godre'rgraig


Gwauncaegurwen

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Carmel Independent Chapel  

( Hen Gapel OS SN71011134)

At the end of the C18th, the only road at Gwauncaegurwen was Hewel hir from the Glwyd farm to Penlle'rfedwen; traders from Llangadog to Neath had to find their way along rugged mountain paths.
At the side of this road was built Old Carmel Chapel, initially in 1762 as a schoolroom built on Cwmbach Farm land which was used for sermons.
The chapel proper, on the same site,  was opened in 1822 with 50 members transferring from Cwmllynfell.
The place was jointly looked after initially by Roger Howells (Baran), P Griffiths (Alltwen and Panteg) and J Rowlands (Cwmllynfell).
In 1829 a gallery was added with Philip Griffiths continuing to minister until 1845.
In 1874 'Hen Garmel' had 75 members.
In 1877 'New Carmel' on the Pontardawe Rd was opened, by the Revival of 1904 the membership had risen to 755.
[The date in the chapel stonework is 1877]
Two long serving ministers were the Rev T Selby Jones , from 1884 to 1896, and Rev B D Davies, from 1897 to 1926. The latter was followed by Rev Llewelyn C Huws in 1928 and under his care membership stood at 805 in 1939.
( HPD - p173/4)

The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. By Jones, I.G. & Williams, D. Cardiff, 1976.

Extract for Carmel chapel, Hamlet of Caegurwen, Llanguick (Independent); David (Jones?)  Deacon, Farmer, Llwynhen, Llanguick

  • Erected 1771; rebuilt 1830
  • Space; free 192; other 140
  • Present: morn 190 + 105 scholars; afternoon 160; even 230
  • Remark: The seats are all free. There are down 28 seats which will afford an average of 6 in each to sit and five which will 12 in each. The gallery will contane about 140 so sit

Extant registers held at the PRO, London;
Hen Gapel, Congregational; Baptisms 1822-1837

The place is still open
The old chapel was renovated in 1927 but was destroyed by fire many years ago.

See the Picture Gallery for photographs of both chapels and the cemetery.
See Genuki for a translation and index of Annibynwyr Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen  by L C Huws, 1942
The photographs from the book have been copied and can be viewed here 

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -   Carmel Welsh Independent chapel, Carmel St, Gwaun-cae-gurwen     SN70311191   Built in 1821, modified in 1829. The present building dates from 1879, still in use in 2005

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Carmel Independent chapel (Mortuary chapel), GCG   SN71011133     Built in 1762, modified, altered or rebuilt 1821 and 1829, now derelict.  This is Hen Gapel which has the graveyard

Cambrian Index entry - Carmel & Panteg Chapels, Llanguicke registered to solemnize marriages 10th Feb. 1838

Here is a transcription of some of the data from the headstones in part of Hen Garmel graveyard

Rees, Thomas & Thomas, John. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru.   (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4volumes, 1871+. Here is the (Welsh) extract from this book relating to Carmel  - with translation by Eleri Rowlands

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

Old Carmel chapel reopening in 1927 - photograph on the Jonah Evans page

Hanes Eglwys Annibynnol Carmel, Gwancaegurwen (Welsh). Covers the chapel's 250 year history - compiled by Myrddin Morgan for the chapel in 2012.    As an aside I understand that the last communion service will be held at the chapel on 8th December 2014 as there are extensive problems with the building's structural condition. (GH)

 

Siloh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel

Sited on the corner of Upper Colbren Rd and the main village road, it was opened around 1908.
At its height said to have had 139 members.

It has been closed for some years (early 2004) and the recent photograph in the Picture Gallery is a sad sight. In fact I now have two photographs taken in June 2004, also in the Picture Gallery, showing the place being knocked down.

No known extant records in Archives.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Shiloh Welsh CM chapel (Siloh), Upper Colbren St/Gale St, GCG   SN70421168    Built in 1896

 

Seion, Church St

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Seion, Church St, GCG    Denomination not given.   SN70521126 - which puts it on the same side of Church St as Derwydd Avenue  

 

Moriah Methodist Chapel

In The Amman Valley & District by Brian Lewis is a photograph of 'laying memorial stones' at the New Methodist Chapel, called Moriah, Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen in 1907. The photograph shows a building site as if something had been demolished, the builder's sign says "New Methodist Chapel, Builder T. Edwards, GCG, Architect A S Williams, Llandilo ".
The builder was undoubtedly Tom Edwards, my great grandfather's nephew who was adjudicated bankrupt in 1912 without completing the work on the chapel, see  Does misfortune run in threes ....?

I have no other information on this place currently

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Methodist chapel, GCG     SN70371137 which shows it in Church Lane nearly opposite Derwydd Avenue and before getting to Ger-yr-afon. May not be Moriah at all


Gwrhyd

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Gwrhyd Independent Chapel   ( OS SN735094)

Capel y Gwrhyd, now a solitary chapel on Mynydd y Gwrhyd; once central for people who came on horseback or walked long distances. Next to the chapel building was a dry walled building for keeping the horses in.
There is a plaque on the wall saying it was built in 1856, before that most inhabitants worshipped at Cwmllynfell, Pant-teg(Ystalyfera) or Carmel (GCG).
( HPD - p172)
Gwrhyd and Rhiwfawr united to give a call to the Rev Edward James, Canaan, Swansea and he was the first minister at Rhiwfawr, arriving in 1892 leaving for Ebbw Vale in 1903.
The Rev William D Roderick ministered at Gwhryd and Rhiwfawr for nearly 40 years from 1906, with membership increasing from 93 in 1906 to 215 in 1931.
( HPD - p172)

Gwrhyd chapel was built in the most central spot with regards to the upper and lower districts. Many complain these days that it was not built in a more sheltered spot, away from wind and rain. But that was not the main difficulty felt by the old folk, but the distance they had to walk so often in their lives to a place of worship where they could listen to the 'old, old story' being told so sweetly.
Since the need for the little chapel of Fforchegel passed, the people still wished to be Nonconformists, and they went to worship at Cwmllynfell, Gellionen, Alltwen until Pant-teg was built. In 1856 Gwrhyd  chapel was built and began with 35 members from Carmel (GCG). Their numbers were soon increased from Pant-teg and Cwmllynfell so that there were about one  hundred. It was incorporated on 28th June 1857. The cost of the chapel and the wall around it was £350, but £300 was paid by the opening, and it was not long before the rest was paid.
The deacons at the beginning were; Hezeciah Evans, Gwrhyd Isaf; W Evans, Cwmnantlici; Llewellyn Rees, Gwrhyd Uchaf; David Williams, Llwyncelyn; Thomas Griffiths, Pistyll Gwyn; and Thomas Rees, Ynyswen.
After the death of Mr Pryce (Cwmllynfell), Rhydyfro,Carmel and Gwrhyd were united; In 1865 Mr Jones came here and after his  departure in 1883, Rhydyfro and Gwrhyd were under one minister until 1890. Gwrhyd was joined with Rhiwfawr when the Rev D Walters (who came in 1886) left in 1892. The Rev E James had the call  and he is the present minister (1897).
The first to be buried here was John, the son of Thomas Rees, Ynyswen, who died in 1856.
( HG - various pages)

There are no extant records held at W Glamorgan archives or the PRO.

Glamorgan FHS have published a Memorial Inscriptions index

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

See photographs in Picture Gallery, and the Book section for an index of   History of Y Gwrhyd by Joshua Lewis c 1897

See John Ball's site Welsh Churches and Chapels Collection for a photograph/data

See also Welsh Chapels and Churches for a photograph

In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of Gwrhyd Chapel.

Rees, Thomas & Thomas, John. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru.   (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4volumes, 1871+. Here is the ( Welsh) extract from this book relating to Gwrhyd - with translation

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Gwrhyd Welsh Independent chapel    SN73590936   Built in 1856, still in use 2005

 

Blaenegel (Independent Chapel ?)

On the page relating to Cwmllynfell in HPD(p169 ) it says;
"A chapel had been built in 1776 at Blaenegel, and a strong branch existed there before 1741. "

In the History of the Gwrhyd it says;
"There was a cemetery by the little chapel at Fforchegel. In 1724, the first one to be buried was the wife of of the Rev Llewellyn Bevan, and the gravestone can still be seen in front of the house. It is said that the old one-time chapel is the present house, and the posts of the gallery can be seen in the building. They say that many gravestones used to be there, but they have been scattered and broken up with the passing of the years. "
"When the members of Cwmllynfell and Gellionen were under one ministry they had a little chapel at Fforchegel, about halfway between the two places, where services were held on Sunday afternoons, but a church was not established there. "

Footnote; the river Egel  runs south-west off Mynydd y Gwrhyd and there are adjacent farms called Blaenegel and Fforchegel on its western edges.


Llangiwg   (Church in Wales)  

(OS SN723056)

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Ciwg, the Confessor, considered to be the founder of Llangiwg, came to the area c 542-568, he brought the new Christian religion which fought against the old Druidism.
During the first four centuries, probably no stone church had been built, and the first church was possibly made of wattle and daub.
Before the industrial revolution the parish church of Llangiwg was in a central position, it is situated at a height of 688 feet above sea level in the hundred of Llangyfelach and diocese of Swansea and Brecon.
The source book has extensive further background history and also a list of incumbents from 1740 onwards.
( HPD - p122+ - )

Llangiwg Church site

See Genuki for details of extant church records and various extracts with descriptions of the parish and church.

See Picture Gallery for photographs

See John Ball's site Welsh Churches and Chapels Collection for a photograph/data

In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of Llangiwg Church c 1905.
The caption says; ............. stands ......  in a hollow on Barley Hill which was a central location before industrialisation took root in the valley below ...... the present building dates from 1812 but parts of the tower are of C13th origin .... the leper window in the east was constructed so that 'unclean lepers' could view communion. The ruins of Maendy Inn (formerly the Cilybebyll Arms) remain nearby.

The Church in Wales site (2004) states;
St Ciwg, Rhydyfro, Pontardawe..... in the parish of Llangiwg......in the benefice of Llangiwg (Pontardawe) ...... which is in the deanery of Cwmtawe ...... the parish is also known as Pontardawe ........... the parish has a PCC, its status is historic, and the preferment is Vicar......The incumbent is the Rev G H Green....... places of worship; St Ciwg, St Peter and St Mary, Ynysmeudwy.

The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. By Jones, I.G. & Williams, D. Cardiff, 1976.

Extract for The Parish Church; Wm Thomas Perpetual Curate, Pontardawe (assumed to be this one since St Peter's wasn't yet built)

  • Endowed: land £32: tithe £10; permanent endowment £15; fees £3.15s
  • Space; free 240; other 9
  • Present: afternoon 191 + 55 scholars
  • Average: afternoon 216 + 45 scholars

 


Pontardawe

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Adulum Baptist Chapel

Before Adulum chapel was built, the Baptists held services every other Sunday with the Wesleyans at Cae'r Doc school.
The first chapel was built in 1845, the cause was incorporated in 1848.
The first minister was the Rev Philip Morgan who left after a short period, and membership fell.
Under the Rev Charles Williams, the cause flourished the second time, he left in 1853.
He was followed by several ministers; D Davies, J Jones, John Pugh, D Davies, Isaiah Davies, J P Williams.
From 1862-64 the Rev J Pugh looked after Adulum.
The Rev D Edwards was inducted here in 1865, continued until 1874, followed by the Rev D H Jones in 1874, he looked after Nantyffin too.
In 1880, the Rev J T Morgan came and stayed for 7 years, a branch, Mount Elim, was established at Ynysmeudwy in his time here.
When the Rev E R Evans came here in 1888, membership was 45, by the time he left in 1915 it was over 200.
The Rev L G Lewis came in 1917, left in 1930.
Then followed the Rev Vernon Rees for a short time before the Rev J Rowland Jones who came in 1943 and left in 1960.
( HPD - p142/3)

From the 1851 Religious Census (Llangyfelach parish and Rhyndwy-Clydach hamlet section);-
Adulam of Pontardawe, Particular Baptist     Erected in 1844        Charles Williams, Minister; Thomas John, Deacon  

The book The History of Pontardawe by J E Morgan (Hirfryn), 1911 has a section re the history of this chapel

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of Adulum Baptist Chapel.
The caption says; ...the first chapel was built on Ynysderw Farm land....the 1851 Religious Census revealed that the chapel had a capacity of 96 ....... the chapel was rebuilt in 1889 .... by 1915 there were over 200 members ... the chapel holds a weekly service but has been without a resident minister since J Rowland Jones' time (1843-60)

 

English Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (OS SN72440405)

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of the English Wesleyan Chapel, Holly St.
The caption says;..... the cause started in 1903 in the Rechabites Hall ........... the church cost £600 ..... opened in 1906. It closed in 1992, the (small) congregation moved to the Horeb Welsh Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in James St ...... the denomination finally ended in Pontardawe in 1995.

The book The History of Pontardawe by J E Morgan (Hirfryn), 1911 has a section re the history of this chapel

Records at W Glamorgan Archives;
Marriage registers, 1924-1977 

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - English Wesleyan Methodist chapel, Holly St  SN72450405   

The site of this chapel (no buildings remain) is shown in the map detailing the site of the Pontardawe Foundry which  is known to have been up for sale from at least April 2009 - see map on the Picture Gallery

 

Gosen Apostolic church, Holly St

The Rev S P Bridgens is the resident minister.
( HPD - p145)  

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of the elders of Gosen Apostolic church, Holly St in 1934.
The caption says; ..... Gosen was built in 1921.....although there had been an Apostolic congregation in Pontardawe since at least 1911 ...... William James (1880-1954), the first overseer and pastor, emigrated to New Zealand in the early 1950s. 

 

Horeb Welsh Wesleyan Methodist Chapel   (OS SN72030415)

In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of Horeb c 1890.
The caption says; ...... opened in 1845 alongside what is now Glanrhyd Rd ..... it and the adjoining vestry were built on Glynmeirch Farm land. It was demolished and superseded by the new Horeb opened in 1905 in James St.

The book The History of Pontardawe by J E Morgan (Hirfryn), 1911 has a section re the history of the Wesleyans in Pontardawe

In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of Pontardawe Cross, looking towards Horeb Chapel c 1910.
The caption says; .................. There was accommodation for 500 when the new Horeb opened in 1905.

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of Horeb Welsh Wesleyan Methodist Chapel c 1905
The caption says; ...... opened in 1845, sixty years later superseded by the new Horeb built on Maes Iago land....three old thatched cottages (Llydiarty Fagwr) were pulled down to make room for it.... the last minister was the Rev Pamela Cramme.... the chapel closed in 1997 and is currently for sale.

From the 1851 Religious Census (Llangyfelach parish and Rhyndwy-Clydach hamlet section);-
Horeb Wesleyan Methodist           Erected in 1845              Isaac Jones, Steward (Informant)    

Records held at W Glamorgan Archives;
Minutes, 1920-1963; contribution books, 1883-1926; correspondence, 1888-1976; rules for burial, 1916 and 1925

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Horeb Welsh Wesleyan Methodist chapel, James St  SN72030416  Built in 1854, modified, altered or rebuilt in 1862 and in 1903

 

Jehovah Witnesses

See under Clydach

 

Roman Catholic Church

See under Clydach

 

Soar Calvinistic Methodist Chapel

Out of Ebenezer Chapel, Llansamlet, the first branch of Methodists came to Pontardawe.
The first meeting house was established in a thatched cottage in James St., this house was built by Thomas Williams, owner of Brynheulog. As membership increased it was decided (in 1842) to build a chapel in a more central position - in Trebannws, (see Tabernacle, Trebannws).
Later Soar Chapel was built in 1866, the third in Pontardawe, had 40 members when it opened but over 300 by 1911.
The ministers in chronological order were; John Edwards, William Morgan, Isaac Morgan and D G Jones. The latter served for over 40 years.
The present minister, the Rev Gareth Davies, also looks after Soar, Gwauncaegurwen.
( HPD - p 144/5)

The book The History of Pontardawe by J E Morgan (Hirfryn), 1911 has a section re the history of this chapel

In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of  Soar Chapel in Holly St c 1913.
The caption says; ................opened in 1886 on Cae Pandy, part of Ynysygelynen Farm land................ 

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Zoar CM (Soar), Holly St    SN72290401    Built in 1866, modified, altered or rebuilt in 1902

Soar Pontardawe Welsh CM chapel ; Holly Street, Pontardawe, Abertawe, Abertawe SA8 4ET - still open in 2006

 

Tabernacle Independent Chapel

Methodists, Baptists, Wesleyans and Church of England all preceded the Independents at Pontardawe, the latter worshipped at Alltwen, Trebannws, Rhydyfro and Ynysmeudwy.
When the Rev J T Davies became minister of both Gosen and Bethesda in 1879, he brought together some of the most influential and prominent Independents of Pontardawe, and formed a committee of 12 who held meetings at the Three Compasses and later at the Dynevor Arms. Despite local reservations, the committee decided to build a chapel before any kind of church was formed, so this church differed from other churches in Wales.
The foundation stone was laid by Sir John Jones Jenkins, later Lord Glantawe, in 1880 and it was opened in August 1881 when the Revs J T Davies (Gosen/Bethesda) and Rees Rees (Alltwen) preached. Members brought letters from Alltwen, Gosen and Bethesda as well as Saron, Rhydyfro. At this meeting a hundred members formed the church of Tabernacle.
The Rev J T Davies guided the church from 1881 to 1889, he was followed by the Rev H Seiriol Williams (see Picture Gallery) who remained for 41 years. In 1890 a manse was built, and two years after a vestry.
In 1911, there were 360 members, and in 1963 there were 400.
The Rev W T Owen came in 1942, stayed for 6 years, followed by the Rev T Elfyn Jones who ministered there for 14 years until 1964. The Rev Trevor Burgess Jones followed .
Tabernacle has been a fine cultural centre, which encouraged lectures, dramas, and music.
( HPD - p140/2)

The book The History of Pontardawe by J E Morgan (Hirfryn), 1911 has a section re the history of this chapel

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of the interior of Tabernacle Independent Chapel.
The caption says that the Rev Rev T Burgess Jones left in 1976 and was followed by the Rev Gareth Morgan Jones from 1977 to the present day.

In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of a Tabernacle Sunday school in 1903

There are these publications; one by W Davies, 1931, ' History of Tabernacle in Report'; another by Gwyn Davies, ' History of Tabernacle Chapel in Report'

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Tabernacle Independent chapel, Thomas St    SN72390422   Built in 1881, enlarged in 1904

From the 1851 Religious Census (Llangyfelach parish and Rhyndwy-Clydach hamlet section);-
Tabernacle, Pontardawe (but described as a  Calvinistic Methodist chapel)     Erected in 1842  ?   John Walters, Minister, Ystradgynlais (Informant) 

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

Tabernacle Independent Chapel site

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

 

All Saints Church ( Church in Wales)

Arthur Gilbertson built it as a private church in 1886 (as a memorial to his father William); his officials and many workmen left St Peter's for All Saints.
It was originally in the parish of St John's, Clydach, transferred to the parish of Llangiwg in 1903.
( HPD - p138/9)

In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of All Saints Church c 1950.
The caption says; it cost £2,440, with the land donated by Herbert Lloyd of Plas Cilybebyll (it lay on what had been Ynysderw Farm land). Owing to geological difficulties it was built in a north-east direction.

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of the choir of all Saints Church in 1943.
The caption says; ..... the final service at All Saints was in 1997 and the church has recently been sold.

 

St Peter's Church ( Church in Wales)   (OS SN694014)

The church of St. Peter (a chapel of ease to the parish church) is a very handsome Gothic building, erected in 1862 at a cost of about £10,000; it is of Welsh sandstone, with Bath dressings, and consists of nave, aisles, chancel, and embattled tower, 180 feet in height, and is an object of notice for many miles: there are two rounded columns at the outside corners of the tower, which are most elaborately sculptured, and were erected at the expense of the late W. Parsons, esq., of Pontardawe.
St Peter's is endowed with £70 per annum by Mrs. J. S. Davies, late Miss Parsons;
English morning and Welsh evening services are held here.
There is also a reading room, licensed for Divine service, at which an English service is held every Sunday evening; this was built at the expense of the firm of W. Gilbertson and Co., who pay for the services of the officiating clergyman; Arthur Gilbertson esq., has also given a handsome organ.
(Extracted from Slaters Commercial Directory, 1871)

On July 31 1862 the Bishop of St David's opened and consecrated for divine service the Pontardawe Church, membership rose steadily during the periods 1862-1900, and from 1900 to 1920. membership reduced when Arthur Gilbertson built a private church (as a memorial to his father), All Saints Church, see above, in 1886; his officials and many workmen left St Peter's for All Saints.
(HPD - 136/8)

In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of St Peter's.
The caption says; St Peter's Church with its 197 ft spire, built in 1858/60, consecrated in 1862, erected on Tir y Bont land donated by Francis Edwardes Lloyd of Plas Cilybebyll. William Parsons donated £5,557 towards the building costs.....There have been twelve vicars since its foundation.

See the Picture Gallery for a photograph of St Peter's. 

From the Church in Wales site ..... the church is dedicated to St. Peter, in the parish of Llangiwg (also known as Pontardawe) is in the benefice of Llangiwg (Pontardawe), and deanery of Cwmtawe..... the parish has a PCC........ its status is historic and preferment is Vicar....... the incumbent vicar is the Rev G H Green.

Details of extant records can be seen on the Genuki page

There is a book by Caryl D Hughes, 1963, ' The History of St Peter's' Centenary Booklet


Rhos

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In Cilybebyll parish.

 

Rhos Independent Chapel (Ebenezer)

Eighty years ago Rhos had a hundred households and surrounding farms. Most men worked in the coal mines such as the old Primrose, Bryncoch and Cefn Celfi as well as on farms.
The Independents, after holdings services in dwelling houses, decided to buy land on Rhos Brynhir, on Cefn Celfi farm.
Sunday School opened in 1884 in the little chapel, now the vestry, average attendance of 80.
The Rev Rees Rees tested them every Quarterly Meeting on their work, reciting psalms, hymns etc.
When the new colliery, the New Primrose, opened Alltwen agreed to allow Rhos to go on its own, with 120 members transferring -  Ebenezer, Rhos was officially incorporated in 1896.
In 1897 the Rev David Jenkins, Alltwen, was ordained minister of Ebenezer.
Membership increased so a new chapel was built in 1905 on Cefn Celfi land.
David Jenkins served his flock for 50 years until 1947 when he died, aged 80.
The Rev Edward Mornant Jones came there in 1949, membership increased to 320 in his ministry.
Renovations took place in 1954.
( HPD - p129/30

Branched from Alltwen in 1896, cause existed in various dwelling houses from early in century.
Held Sunday school in Plasywaun schoolhouse in period 1819-1840, after that in back room of The Fountain Inn
In 1883 the Alltwen chapel built a schoolhouse to hold 250 on Waun Rhos Bryn Hir for holding a Sunday school and weekly services with a full church being incorporated in 1896 - looked after by the Rev Rees Rees, Alltwen for the first 6 months.
In 1897 gave call to David Jenkins (Urbanus).
The flock expanded and they a built new chapel building to hold 600 and cost over £2000 -  opened in 1904.
Some local collieries closed which weakened membership and strained the building debt repayment - David Jenkins still their shepherd at time of writing in 1911.
( THP p49/50)

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of Ebenezer c 1910.

There are no extant records held at W Glamorgan Archives or the PRO.

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

John R. Davies: Ebenezer, capel yr Annibynwyr Cilybebyll: cyfarfodydd dathlu canmlwyddiant sefydlu'r achos, dydd Iau, Ebrill 21ain, 1983, (Clydach, 1983), 6tt.

There exists an unpublished manuscript by L J Williams, Pennod o Hanes Eglwys y Rhos, 1889-1949.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Ebenezer, Rhos   SN7404   Built in 1860, modified, altered or rebuilt 1883 and in 1904


Rhydyfro and Baran

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Saron Congregational Chapel, Rhydyfro

Before 1828, apart from some occasional sermons in houses, no religious services were held at Rhydyfro.
Later students from Howell's School, Baran, preached at Rhydyfro.
About 1832, Dafydd Jones, Gelligron Mill, started  a Sunday School in the village, which led to the building of a Sunday School-room.
The main services were held at Baran Chapel, and people from Rhydyfro walked up the mountain to worship.
As the population at Rhydyfro grew it was decided to erect a Chapel, it cost £320 and 40 members from Baran left for Rhydyfro in 1844.
The Rev Rhys Price (Cwmllynfell) took charge and continued until his death in 1869, membership increased to over 100.
He was succeeded by the Rev John Jones, who also looked after the Gwrhyd, he retired in 1884.
Next came the Rev D D Walters (Gwallter Ddu), from 1886 until 1890.
With a two year gap next came the Rev J Jeffrey Evans who emigrated to the USA in 1894.
Next was the Rev J R Price, from 1897 until he died after 37 years there in 1934. (see Picture gallery)
The Rev Idwal Jones took over in 1936, until about 1944.
The Rev R Lloyd Davies came there in 1946, left in 1953.
The Rev J Caradog Williams came in 1955, left in 1960.
New Saron was opened in 1905, built at a cost of £2700. (see Picture gallery)
( HPD - p146/7) 

The book The History of Pontardawe by J E Morgan (Hirfryn), 1911 has a section re the history of this chapel

The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. By Jones, I.G. & Williams, D. Cardiff, 1976.

Extract for Saron chapel, Rhydyfro ; William Hopkin  Deacon, Gotregarth

  • Erected 1843
  • Space: free 130; standing 70
  • Present: morning 160; afternoon 105 scholars; evening 102 scholars
  • Remark; Generally from 140 to 180 attend on Sunday Morning; Evening from 80 to 120; a prayer Meeting on Monday night. Society on Thursday night. Prayer meeting on Saturday Night in the neighbourhood:- weekly sermons occasionally duly attended.

There are no extant records at W Glamorgan Archives or the PRO

See  Rhydyfro 4 for photographs of pages showing contributions made in response to the church's 1902 appeal
for funds towards the building of a new and larger chapel.

See the Picture Gallery for a modern photograph of the original 1844 chapel
There is a photograph of the much larger 'new' Saron in Around Pontardawe,the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999.

In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of the original Saron Chapel c 1930.
The caption says; .........both chapels were seemingly erected on Rhyd-y-fro Mill land

In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of Evan Williams's Sunday school class in the early 1930s, the group of 18 are named.

Rees, Thomas & Thomas, John. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru.   (History of the Welsh Independent Churches),volume 2, 1872. Here is the (Welsh) extracts from this book relating to Rhydyfro - with translation by Eleri Rowlands

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Saron Independent chapel, Rhyd-y-fro    SN71240601    Built in 1815, modified, altered or rebuilt in 1843, 1857 and 1904

Records of Saron Independent Chapel, Rhydyfro, Pontardawe detailed as extant on Archives Network Wales    

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

 

Baran Independent Chapel   (OS SN687077)

When Gellionnen became Unitarian, the Independents left and for a year worshipped in Llwyn Ifan Farm, moved to Nantymoel Uchaf when numbers increased.
Roger Howell kept a school at the latter place for many years.
In 1805, John and Roger Howell leased land to build a chapel, which became Baran.
Roger Howell was ordained as minister there in 1805, he was born in 1774, the son of John Howell Roger of Nantmoel Uchaf and Rebecca Jones of Baglan. He died of "disease of the brain" in 1843. It is interesting to wonder whether he was descended from the earlier Roger Howell of Gellionnen ?
There is a plaque under the gallery which reads;
"Ty Cwrdd Baran ar Nantymoel; Flwyddyn Arglwydd 1805".
People came  on foot and horseback to the lonely little chapel.
The walls of the old stable can still be seen.
50 members emigrated to Pennsylvania, America.
Daniel Jones, Tresgyrch, was ordained at Baran before he went to Carmel Chapel, America.
In a period of 150 years the following served at Baran; Roger Howell, 38 years; Rhys Pryce, 3 years; Davies Cwmamman, 12 years; Davies Morriston, 30 years; J M Davies Alltwen, 26 years and the last minister, J T James, who died recently (said in  1967).
In the last 100 years, Saron Rhydyfro, and  Pantycryws Craigcefnparc branched off from Baran.
( HPD - p145)

There are no extant records at W Glamorgan Archives or the PRO
Glamorgan FHS have published a Memorial Inscriptions index

From the 1851 Religious Census (Llangyfelach parish and Rhyndwy-Clydach hamlet section);-
Baran Independent         Erected in 1805                John Howell, Deacon, Nantmole, Pontardawe (Informant)

See the Picture Gallery for a modern photograph of this chapel and surrounding mountain area

Here is a plan of the layout of the chapel graveyard - compiled by Roy Davies

See also Welsh Chapels and Churches for a photograph

See John Ball's site Welsh Churches and Chapels Collection for a photograph/data

In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of Baran Chapel c 1977.
The caption says; Formerly the Trinitarian branch of Gellionnen Chapel .........................the chapel was served by 8 ministers up to 1974.

There is a book A Short History of Gellionen Chapel and Baran Chapel by Haydn Morgan, Trebanos

See also The Baran Chapel - an article by Islwyn Davies, 1999/2000

The History of Baran Chapel 1805-2005.     Written and contributed by Eugena Hopkin

See also Roger Howell on the Local People of Note section of this site

Here is a full transcription of the booklet  Capel y Baran 1805 -2005 produced for the chapel's 200th  anniversary in 2005

Baran Chapel members on April 4th 1841 - on Rina Callingham's site - also the Baran/Pennsylvania connection

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

On Rina Callingham's site is a biography of the Rev. John Davies who ministered here from 1844-59

Rees, Thomas & Thomas, John. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru.   (History of the Welsh Independent Churches),volume 2, 1872. Here is the (Welsh) extract from this book relating to this chapel - with translation

See also on Genuki


Tairgwaith

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St David's (Church in Wales)

In a section relating to Llanfair, Cwmgors, it says that during the Rev Evan Davies's period at Cwmgors (1909-24) - a branch at Tairgwaith was built.
( HPD - p178)

On the Church in Wales site (2004) it shows St David's, Tai'rgwaith as a place of worship in the benefice of Gwauncaegurwen under the Vicar, the Rev JGM Ladd. [See above under Cwmgors]

Still open


Trebanos

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Capel-y-Graig (Unitarian)

In the section of the source book relating to Gellionnen it says;
As the population concentrated in the valley, members deemed it advisable to build near the main road at Trebannws and Capel-y-Graig was opened in 1894, cost over £1000.
In 1904 they built a large vestry beside the chapel. A spacious new hall was opened in 1938.
When the Rev Alfa Richards started his ministry, members decided to convert the old school of John Evans into a manse. In 1932 they sold the manse and built a new one at 211 Swansea Rd, Trebannws.
( HPD - p134)

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of Capel-y-Graig Unitarian Chapel.
The caption says; ........it was opened in 1894, the temporary building, Bron y Wawr, on Graig Rd, being converted into a vestry for Sunday school and cultural activities...... in 1974, because of subsidence, the rear of the chapel, including the vestry, was demolished.

See also on Genuki

 

Gosen Independent Chapel

The Independent cause was started at Trebannws in 1862 by members from Alltwen and Glais, initially on a small scale holding services in local houses, but in 1865 a building named Gosen was built.
Two neighbouring ministers, the Rev Phillip Griffiths, Alltwen, and the Rev Esau Owen, Hebron, Clydach, supervised Gosen until 1879.
In 1869, the church was incorporated with 48 members; 24 from Alltwen and 24 from Glais.
As membership increased they joined with Bethesda to give a call to Mr J T Davies who continued until he took over Tabernacle, Pontardawe.
A larger chapel was built in 1892, ten years later the Rev D Gower Richards was inducted and in his time the old chapel was replaced by a new vestry, built in 1912 for £900. The Rev Richards died in 1918.
In 1920 the Rev Daniel John came and ministered here for 31 years in which time membership doubled. He died suddenly in 1951.
The Rev Leslie Morgan was inducted in 1955, membership in 1956 was 325.
The present minister, the Rev Haydn Davies, began here in 1960.
( HPD -p143)

The book The History of Pontardawe by J E Morgan (Hirfryn), 1911 has a section re the history of this chapel

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of Gosen Independent Chapel.
The caption says; .... built in 1865 on former Graig Trebanos farmland......... the old chapel situated below the Colliers Arms was later demolished to make room for a new vestry (Gosen Fach) in 1912, the community centre today.

There is a book by J E Jones, 1956, ' Gosen Trebannws, Llawlyfr Cyfarfodydd Pontardawe a'r Cylch'. Undeb yr Annibynwyr Cymraeg.

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

See also on Genuki

Rees, Thomas & John Thomas. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). Here is the entry from this book for this chapel (in Welsh) - with translation by Maureen Saycell (March 2008)

 

Tabernacle Calvinistic Methodist Chapel

The Calvinistic Methodists in Pontardawe decided to build a chapel in a more central position and obtained a site in Trebannws for a chapel and cemetery on a 999 lease, Tabernacle Chapel and a house under the same roof were built in 1842.
( HPD - p144)  

In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of Tabernacle Chapel c 1965.
The caption says; It was built in 1842 on Graig Trebanos land at a cost of over £1000, seating 250. The prime mover behind it was the Rev John Walters. William Ivander Griffiths was later appointed the choirmaster here. The chapel closed in c 1971 and was demolished in c 1973.

See also on Genuki

 

Saint Michael & All Angels Church (Church in Wales)

Is in the ecclesiastical parish of Clydach.
It was built in 1912 during the vicariate of Canon Thomas Morris.
Before that no spiritual provision was made for English speaking inhabitants of Trebannws, and there was no Church Sunday school.
The Jubilee of the consecration was celebrated in 1962.
(HPD - p158

See Clydach, St John Baptist for Church in Wales site details

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of Saint Michael & All Angels Church.
The caption says; .............. the foundation stone was laid in 1912 by Mrs H N Miers, wife of Henry Nathaniel Miers of Ynyspenllwch who had given the land.....the stone for the building was quarried from Ynystawe..........like St Mary's, Clydach, St Michael's is a daughter church of St John's, Clydach, and is served today by Rev Timothy Hewitt.

 See Genuki for extant records details


Ynysmeudwy

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Bethesda Independent Chapel

Before Bethesda Chapel was built in 1861/2, many religious services and Sunday Schools were held in dwelling houses but monthly communion took place at Alltwen.
Land for building was given at a rent by Griffith Griffiths, Ynysmeudwy Arms.
The Rev Phillip Griffiths, Alltwen, looked after the congregation until he retired.
In 1879 the Rev J T Davies came there, looking after Bethesda and Gosen for 18 years.
A larger chapel was built and opened in 1893 in Curtis Row, a stone at the front of the chapel commemorates the tercentenary of the martyrdom of John Penry (the famous Welsh Puritan).
In 1901 the Rev Joseph Evans came from Bethel, Cwmtwrch, left in 1905.
The Rev T Emrys Jones was inducted in 1907, he left in 1912.
In 1913 Rowland Evans was ordained, he left in 1916, the land under the chapel was bought in his time here.
In 1918, the Rev Richard Owen Hughes came here, he retired in 1923.
In 1925 Mr John Derlwyn Evans came, and stayed until 1943.
Mr D Benjamin Jones was ordained here in 1950, during his time a modern vestry was built.
At present there is no minister (1956)
( HPD-p148/9)

The book The History of Pontardawe by J E Morgan (Hirfryn), 1911 has a section re the history of this chapel

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of the second Bethesda Chapel c 1925. The caption says that services are today undertaken by Gareth Morgan Jones of Tabernacle.
In Around Pontardawe by the Pontardawe Historians, 1997, there is a photograph of the old Bethesda Chapel. The caption says that the old chapel was demolished in 1955.

Rees, Thomas & Thomas, John. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru.   (History of the Welsh Independent Churches),volume 2, pages 181-82, 1872. Here is the (Welsh) extract from this book relating to Ynysmudw - with translation by Eleri Rowlands

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Bethesda Independent chapel, Ynysmeudwy Rd   SN73580544  Built in 1863, and in 1892

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

 

Capel Bach, Ynysmeudwy

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Capel Bach, Ynysmeudwy     SN7305   Denomination not given

 

Mount Elim Baptist Chapel

Formed from Adulum, Pontardawe, first met at the Grosvenor, Herbert Street and in 1886 the new small chapel, Mount Elim, Brecon Rd, was opened.
The first pastor is believed to be Mr Mathias, in 1890 the Rev Daniel Davies came and stayed for 20 years.
In 1924 the Rev William Davies came and stayed for 23 years.
As industries declined locally so did membership, down to 25 (1967).
Currently,(1964) the Rev W R Evans, Caersalem, Ystalyfera, gives voluntary services in a caretaker capacity.
( HPD-p143)

The book The History of Pontardawe by J E Morgan (Hirfryn), 1911 has a section re the history of this chapel

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of Mount Elim Baptist Chapel c 1980. The caption notes say it was built on Ynysmeudwy Isaf land, membership being 35 under Mr Mathias.  This increased to almost 100 under Daniel Davies. The last Baptist minister was J Rowland Jones. It has been an evangelical church since 1982, the first minister being David Sercombe, present minister Ian J Parry.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Mount Elim Baptist chapel, Brecon Rd    SN72670460  Built in 1886

 

New Church Temple   (Sweedenborgian)

The New Church doctrines were based on the revelations of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), a Swedish scholar, scientist etc.
The Society at Ynysmeudwy is the only one in Wales and owed its existence to 7 members being excluded from worship at Bethesda Independent Chapel.They were John Mainwaring, Hopkin Bevan, William Isaac Jones (Isaac o'r Felin), Llewelylyn Michael, John Harries, Thomas James, and William James.
These were influenced by the preachings of the Rev William Rees of Llechryd, Cardiganshire, a champion of temperance, the latter was the issue causing the schism. In 1885, after considerable disagreement, they were excommunicated. They were also persecuted and had obstacles put in the way of their founding a new church. They persevered, met at Hopkin Bevan's home, later at the Board School, Llangiwg.
They eventually succeeded and built New Church Temple in 1890, the Rev William Rees being a frequent visitor, also ministers from the New Church Conference of Great Britain.
The church remained essentially Welsh, services being conducted by the deacons.
( HPD-p149)

The book The History of Pontardawe by J E Morgan (Hirfryn), 1911 has a section re the history of this chapel

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of New Church Temple. The caption says the church closed in 1997 and has been recently sold.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - New Church Temple (Sweedenborgian), Pontardawe  SN73200507    Built in 1890

 

St Mary's Church (Church in Wales)   (OS SN739058)

Is in the Benefice of Llangiwg (Pontardawe), and the diocese of Swansea and Brecon.

There are extant records held at W Glamorgan Archives;
Christenings 1913-79; Marriages 1927-88; Burials 1917-83

In the book Around Pontardawe, the Second Selection by the Pontardawe Historians, 1999, it has a photograph of St Mary's Church. The caption says that it was built to fill a gap between St Peter's and Holy Trinity, Ystalyfera.
It opened in 1913, cost £3200 under the sponsorship of Mrs Illtyd Thomas of Glanmor, and her daugter Mrs F W Gilbertson.


Ystalyfera

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Caersalem Baptist Chapel

Caersalem, a branch of Soar, was formed in 1854 with 40 members.
When the Rev Rhys Evans left the numbers stood at 152.
It was officially opened in 1858, in 1861 the Rev David Edwards took over, until 1865.
Followed in that year by the Rev John Evans who stayed until his death in 1896. During his time the chapel was rebuilt, in 1877.
From 1904 to 1904 the Rev David Rees took charge, the Rev E D Lewis came in 1905, retired in 1945 after 38 years here.
The Rev Vincent N E Evans was the first to be ordained in this chapel.
( HPD - p164/5)

From Slaters Commercial Directory, 1871;
Cashalam (Welsh Baptist), Ystalyfera, Rev. John Evans, minister

Records held at W Glamorgan Archives;
Marriage registers, 1954-1988

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Caersalem Baptist chapel, Cyfyng, Gough Rd, Ystalyfera SN76310846   Built in 1855, modified, altered or rebuilt in 1877

 Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

Book;
Rhys, W. J. Braslun o hanes eglwys Caersalem, Ystalyfera, 1855-1955 [A short history of Caersalem church, Ystalyfera, 1855-1955]. Swansea, 1955.

 

Capel, Gurnos Rd, Ystalyfera

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Capel, Gurnos Rd, Ystalyfera   SN77180911  Denomination not given

 

Capel Seion Wesleyan Methodist (OS SN76850904)

See under Gurnos re chapel sharing c 1850s 

According to NRW these records are held at W Glamorgan Archives;
Christenings 1810-17, 1837-56, 1885-1930.
Capel Seion, Ystalyfera: correspondence, 1933-1985

Also Christenings 1929-65 are at the NLW.

From Slaters Commercial Directory, 1871;
Zion (Weslyan), Ystalyfera, Rev. Henry Pritchard 

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Seion, Ystalyfera    SN7608    Denomination not given    Built in 1862  (which date conflicts with its extant records date range)

 

Congregational chapel, Gough Rd

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Congregational chapel, Gough Rd     SN76790896  (This may relate to one of the other congregational chapels listed here)

 

English Congregational Church

English Independents held their services at Wern Chapel until they built the English Congregational Church at a cost of £1200, opened in 1869.
In 1872 it had 30 members and a flourishing Sunday School.
In 1869 Joseph Johns was ordained here. The Rev Melville Phillips was a successful minister here and Robert Taylor was precentor.
As Ystalyfera was predominantly Welsh the number of communicants was small.
( HPD - p169)

From Slaters Commercial Directory, 1871;
(English Independent), Ystalyfera, Rev. Joseph Johns, minister

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - English, Ystalyfera  SN7608  Denomination not given.  Built in 1869

Rees, Thomas & John Thomas. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). Here is the entry from this book for this chapel (in Welsh)

 

Gurnos Independent Chapel

The Wesleyans and Independents worshipped together at Gurnos for 17 years, but in 1856 the Wesleyans, see below, sold the chapel to the Independents for £194.
The Rev Benjamin Thomas was the first pastor here, by 1859 membership was 200. When the chapel was rebuilt they worshipped with the Wesleyans in Seion Chapel. The Rev B Thomas resigned in 1884 after 26 years of service on health grounds.
The Rev John Thomas came next in 1886. When the chapel was being extended in 1913, services were held in the Coliseum. By 1922 membership had risen to 232.
The Rev J Thomas was followed by the Rev D J Moses in 1923, left in 1926 having seen membership increase to 341.
In 1927 the Rev E Aman Jones was inducted here.
A building on Ynysydarren Rd was bought in 1929 to use as a Sunday school.
( HPD - p163) 

There is a book; Timothy Lewis: Camre canrif: sef hanes eglwys y Gurnos, Ystalyfera, 1857-1957, (Abertawe, 1956), 41tt

From Slaters Commercial Directory, 1871;
Gurnos (Welsh Independent), Ystalyfera, Rev. Benj. Thomas, minister

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -   SN7609  Built in 1839, modified, altered or rebuilt in 1859 and in 1864

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006) but offered for sale in Dec 2010  - photographs on the  Picture Gallery

See Welsh Chapels and Churches for a photograph

Rees, Thomas & John Thomas. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). Here is the entry from this book for this chapel (in Welsh) - with translation (March 2008)

 

Gurnos Wesleyan Methodist Chapel (OS SN77010993)

According to NRW these records are held at W Glamorgan Archives (and implying the place was Pontardawe but with correct OS ref for Ystalyfera);
Christenings 1810-17, 1837-56
But the W Glamorgan Archives site has this entry only;
(Welsh Wesleyan Methodists); Gurnos Chapel Accounts, 1839-54 

The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. By Jones, I.G. & Williams, D. Cardiff, 1976.

Extract for Gurnos chapel (Wesleyan Methodist); John Bowen. Society Steward,Yniscedwyn Works Nr Swansea

  • Erected 1839
  • Space: free 80; other 70; standing 60
  • Present: morning 30; evening 50
  • Average (12 months): morn 40: evening 60

 

Jerusalem Methodist Chapel

The Calvinistic Methodists built Jerusalem during the hey-day of the Ystalyfera Iron and Tinplate Works but no accounts were kept until 1884. In that year the Works closed and hundreds of unemployed left the place, chapel membership fell to 65 in that year. Their financial position didn't allow for a pastor, during this difficult time David Lloyd and family did a great deal for ther cause.
The first minister, the Rev John Jeffries, took office in 1884, he was succeeded by the Rev J Ivor Jenkins in 1902, and he in turn by the Rev D W Stephens.
In 1928, when there were 200 members, the Rev D R Beynon came there and stayed for 25 years until his sudden death in 1955.
The Rev D T Davies came and left in 1956, followed by the Rev Hugh Llewelyn.
In 1957 the church celebrated its centenary.
After a period without a minister, the Rev Randall Jones became pastor of Jerusalem and Bethania , a system adopted due to the scarcity of ministers.
( HPD - p166/7) 

From Slaters Commercial Directory, 1871;
Ystalyfera (Welsh Calvinistic Methodist), Rev. - Phillips, minister

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Jerusalem, Ystalyfera    SN7608  Denomination not given   Built in 1857, still in use in 2000

Jerusalem Ystalyfera Welsh CM chapel; Wern Road, Ystalyfera, Abertawe, Castell Nedd ac Aberafan SA9 2LX - still open in 2006

 

Pant-teg Independent Chapel (OS SN76060798)

The tradition of the first preaching in the district was of a bewigged man preaching in the shade of a white hawthorn tree on a field of Pistyll Gwyn, on the Gwrhyd, about 1650.
This was before any nonconformist chapel had been built.
The first public building built in 1785 was for a day school about 200 yards from Pant-teg Chapel. The place is known today as Twyn-ty'r-ysgol.  Here they began holding Sunday schools and prayer meetings and preaching. On Sundays they worshipped at Cwmllynfell, Alltwen and Godre'rhos.
Sixteen members at Graigarw, as the place was then called, decided to build a chapel. This was opposed by the Rev John Davies, Alltwen and Cwmllynfell, who thought they could easily walk to his chapels, but they went ahead anyway - on the site  now occupied by the vestry.
 In 1822 they obtained a 999 year lease for a nominal rent, built the chapel with voluntary labour in quarrying sandstones from Godre'rgraig, carrying sand from the Tawe river and timber from the sawpit.
The New Meeting House in Graigarw, named Pant-teg, opened in 1821. The Rev John Davies decreed that it should be named Pant-teg, meaning 'fair hollow'.
The first minister was the Rev Phillip Griffiths, ordained at Pant-teg and Alltwen in 1822, in the days before the ironworks with a sparse population living in scattered farms.
The population increased rapidly with the beginning of the ironworks in 1838/9. Most of the first inrush left their homes in rural Glamorgan, Breconshire, Carmarthenshire and Cardiganshire. Many became pillars of the cause at Pant-teg.
In the second phase of 1851/53 many newcomers came from England and industrial villages of the south, with few exceptions they were irreligious and on a lower plane morally. They were known as 'puddlers' and the chapelgoers looked down on them. Population had increased enormously, J Palmer Budd employed 4000 persons in 1865. The first two chapels became inadequate.
The first to be buried in the cemetery was John Evans, Glyn-mawr who was initially buried near the chapel but later exhumed and buried in the lower half of the cemetery.

With membership numbers increasing to some hundreds the second chapel was built near the first one which remained unaltered. It cost £600, opened in 1842.
In 1866 cholera arrived in the area and people were so frightened that large numbers turned to the churches for succour. Some 258 people became members on one Sunday morning.

The old chapel was demolished in 1864/5 to make room for the third chapel which opened in 1865, cost £700.
The Rev Philip Griffiths resigned before the opening day after 43 years service.
He was followed by the Rev John Jenkins in 1866, he left in 1868.
In 1871 the Rev Trevor Jones was inducted and he remained for 17 years, he left in 1888 after a dispute over the breakaway Swedenborg sect.(see also New Church Temple, Ynysmeudwy).

The Rev Ben Davies, Welsh poet and hymn writer, was inducted here in 1891, membership was then 400 but 111 joined in his first year, 52 in the second and 55 in the third.
The chapel became too small and a fourth one was built to hold 1000 people, it was opened in 1899.
During the 1904/5 Revival 129 new members joined.
Ben Davies served here for 37 years, he died in 1937 aged 72.
The Rev Arthur Jones followed in 1927, he left in 1934, then came the Rev Iorwerth Jones who ministered here for 21 years until 1959.
The present minister is the Rev William Davies who came in 1961.
(All the above is from HPD - p158/62)

The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. By Jones, I.G. & Williams, D. Cardiff, 1976.

Extract for Pant-Teg chapel, Llanguicke (Independents) ; Phillip Griffiths, Minister, Alltwen

  • Erected 1820
  • Space: free 201; other 580; standing 250
  • Present: morning 500; afternoon 407 scholars; evening 609
  • Average (12 months): morning 500; afternoon 400 scholars; evening 700

Records held at W Glamorgan Archives;
Baptisms, 1822-1837 (PRO copy); annual reports, 1949-1989; chapel histories, 1921 and 1971

There is a book by D G Williams, 1921, ' Hanes y Pant-teg'
And another by D. Aneurin Griffiths: Hanes capel Pant-teg, Ystalyfera, 1921-1971, (Abertawe, 1971), 51tt

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -   Pan-teg, Ystalyfera  SN76060798     Built in 1821, modified, altered or rebuilt in 1842, 1854, 1864 and 1899 

Rees, Thomas & John Thomas. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). Here is the ( Welsh) extract from this book relating to Pantteg Chapel (extracted by Darris Williams) - with translation

Cambrian Index entry -
Carmel & Panteg Chapels, Llanguicke registered to solemnize marriages 10th Feb. 1838
Pant Teg Chapel, Llanguicke  registered to solemnize marriages 16th June 1871

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

 

Soar/Zoar Baptist Chapel   (OS SN76530868)

The beginning of the Baptist cause of Soar took place in 1843 at the house of John Lewis, Danygraig, near Pant-teg.
Then met in a house opposite the Trinity Church site to be, again shifted to a thatched house in Cyfyng Rd.
In 1846 Baptists held services in the basement of Jacob Gabe's house.
When the basement got too small for the congregation and the Sunday school they tried to buy land to build, eventually being allowed to build on Twyn-yr-ysgol land in 1855, cost of chapel £350. It was generally known as ' Capel pen steps' as there were c 80 steps up Heol-y-Cyfyng to the chapel.
Although Soar started in 1843 it was not incorporated as a regular Baptist chapel until 1848, in 1849 eighty members had enrolled.
The first minister was the Rev W Lumley Evans who started there in 1847, he was also minister at Beula and Ainon.
The Rev Rhys Evans came here in 1852, followed by the Rev Charles Williams in 1853 who stayed until his death in 1888.
The new Soar and a cemetery were completed in 1858.
In 1890 the Rev William Jones came her and stayed for 33 years, followed by the Rev Ifor Jones in 1925 who continued until he died -  during his time a large vestry was built at the back of the chapel.
In 1947 the Rev T J Morris took over here.
( HPD - p163/4) 

From Slaters Commercial Directory, 1871;
Zoar (English Baptist), Ystalyfera, Rev. Chas. Williams, minister

The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. By Jones, I.G. & Williams, D. Cardiff, 1976.

Extract for Soar chapel, Ystalyfera (Calvinistic Baptists); William Nicholas,Ystalyfera

  • Erected 1847
  • Space: free 96; other 124; standing 50
  • Present: morning 90;  evening 101
  • Average (12 months); general congregation 160
  • Remarks: Of the number said here to attend divine worship about 40 on the average from the Sunday Scholars

Records held at W Glamorgan Archives;
Marriages 1902-79, Chapel history, 1943

There is a book Hanes Eglwys Soar, Ystalyfera by Maurice Davies.

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Zoar Baptist chapel, Cyfyng Gough Rd, Ystalyfera SN 76540868   Built in 1847, modified, altered or rebuilt in 1858, 1867 and 1899

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

 

Wern Independent Chapel

The cause was started by Pant-teg members in 1863 at the house of Thomas Walters, the grocer.
The first meeting in the new vestry was in 1864, it was incorporated with 75 members.
The Chapel was opened in 1864, cost £1173.
In 1866 Mr Owen Jones was ordained as the first minister, membership had increased to 104. He left in 1870.
Two years later the Rev J H Jones came here, stayed until 1877, membership by then 148.
In 1880, Mr H P Jenkins was ordained here, stayed for 5 years.
Mr John Davies was ordained in 1890.
In 1920, Mr E T Evans came here, his ministry was the longest in Wern Chapel's history, he died in 1955 a few months after receiving a testimonial.
Later ministers here included Mr E Glyn Walker, and the Rev Richard H Jenkins who came in 1963.
( HPD - p162)

There is a work by Elvet Williams,1964, ' The History of Wern Independent Chapel, at the Centenary Services, September 1964'

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Wern, Ystalyfera   SN76630875  Denomination not given  Built in 1864  

Shown as still open on the Union of Welsh Independents site (Dec 2006)

Rees, Thomas & John Thomas. Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru (History of the Welsh Independent Churches), 4 volumes (published 1871+). Here is the entry from this book for this chapel (in Welsh)

Details of extant records on Archives Network Wales for the following;

 

Chapel, Lower Wern Rd, Ystalyfera    

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  Chapel, Lower Wern Rd, Ystalyfera  SN76680879   Denomination not given

 

Ynysdarren Rd chapel, Ynysdarren Rd, Ystalyfera

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) -  SN77010881   Denomination not given

 

Zion Baptist chapel, Milborough Rd, Alltygrug Farm Rd, Ystalyfera

The Chapels Recording Project in Wales (RCAHMW) - Zion Baptist chapel, Milborough Rd, Alltygrug Farm Rd, Ystalyfera  SN76850903     Built in 1891

 

Holy Trinity Church (Church in Wales)

The mother church of the three in Ystalyfera, situated at the junction of Ystalyfera and Godr'egraig in the middle of an extensive cemetery.
It was built in 1845 when it formed a chapel of ease in Llangiwg parish before Ystalyfera became a parish in its own right.
In recent times the church has suffered from the result of subsidence.
( HPD - p168)
About 1845, James P Budd was the prime mover in the building of Holy Trinity Church, and he gave a curate's stipend of £100 a year, paid by the Company's fund until he retired
( HPD - p82) 

From Slaters Commercial Directory, 1871;
Holy Trinity (Chapel of Ease to Parish Church), Ystalyfera

The Religious census of 1851 : A Calendar of the returns relating to Wales, Vol 1, South Wales. By Jones, I.G. & Williams, D. Cardiff, 1976.
Extract for Trinity Church, Gallytygryg  ; Thomas Rogers. Curate, Ystalyfera Iron Works

  • Space: free 140; other 60
  • Present: morning (MS torn); even 88 + 15 Scholars
  • Average: morning 65 + 90 scholars; evening 80 + 20 scholars
  • Under what circumstances licensed or consecrated: Means to endow cannot be obtained from the Ecclesiastical Commission

See the Genuki page for details of extant records

Not mentioned on the Church in Wales site under benfice/parish of Ystalyfera, closed ?

 

Saint David's Church (Church in Wales)

Built in the 1880s, made the parish church in 1903 when Ystalyfera became a separate parish from Llangiwg.
The first Vicar of Ystalyfera parish, the Rev Davies, built the large church hall between the Labour Voice printing office and the Church.
The present Vicar, came in 1963, is the Rev A G Lewis.
( HPD - p168) 

The Church in Wales site shows ..... St David Church, Swanfield Rd, Ystalyfera ...... in the parish of Ystalyfera ...... in the benefice of Ystalyfera .... in the deanery of  Cwmtawe ......... the Parish has a PCC, its status is historic, and the preferment is Vicar. The incumbent Vicar is the Rev G Turner.

See the Genuki page for details of extant records

 

St James' Church (Church in Wales)

The Church of St James is a mission church at the village of Godre'rgraig.
The village of Godre'rgraig is about a mile and a half from Ystalyfera.
It was founded in 1914, first as a Parish Hall for Godre'rgraig, but  became a dual purpose church and hall in one.
Seating capacity of 120.
( HPD - p168)  

See the Genuki page for details of extant records

Not mentioned on the Church in Wales site under benefice/parish of Ystalyfera, closed ?


THE INDUSTRIALIZATION OF A GLAMORGAN PARISH

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The article THE INDUSTRIALIZATION OF A GLAMORGAN PARISH (Llangiwg); By Hugh Thomas, National Library of Wales journal Winter, 1975, Vol XIX/2 has the following references of particular local interest;

"This 'take-off' period was also one of substantial developments in the sphere of organised religion.
Llangyfelach and its neighbouring parishes had from the seventeenth century been a district where Protestant Dissent had flourished. Inhabitants from Llangiwg had been haled [hauled?] before the Archdeacon's Court at Carmarthen more than once in 1662 to answer charges of recusancy. These and others were no doubt members of the church at Cilfwnwr and Tirdwncyn near Llangyfelach. By the late seventeenth century their numbers were sufficiently large to warrant the release of Llewelyn Bevan from his responsibilities at Cilfwnwr to take charge of the newly-established church at Cwmllynfell in 1701. This was the beginning of organised Nonconformist worship in the parish, although there appears to have been at least one group of dissenters worshipping together in private houses at the Gwrhyd.

Although Cwmllynfell remained the one Nonconformist church in the parish until the 1820s, others were established in neighbouring parishes which were more convenient for many of the inhabitants of Llangiwg. For years the church at Gellionen in Rhyndwyclydach was in partnership with that at Cwmllynfell until a split occurred as a result of doctrinal differences whereby the former became Unitarian whereas the latter remained orthodox Calvinist.
In 1752 a dissenting chapel was founded at Godre'rhos in the parish of Cadoxton, Neath, two years after the chapel at Ty'n-y-coed in the parish of Ystradgynlais had been established and at much the same time the dissenters of Cilybebyll constituted themselves into the church at Alltwen.
The controversy between Cwmllynfell and Gellionen apart, there was close co-operation between these congregations. They shared ministers and assisted one another in times of need. They were fortunate in their ministers, men of ability and character who exercised a decisive impact upon the religious life of the district. This, together with the interest in Bible reading aroused by the schools of Griffith Jones and the evangelising missions of the Methodists between 1736 and 1752, firmly established Nonconformity by the opening years of the nineteenth century................................'

The increasing hold of Nonconformity is shown in the founding of branches of the older churches, first as schools which were also used for various religious meetings but were later consecrated as places of worship. There had long been such a meeting place at Fforchegel farm in Blaenegel. In 1762 a schoolhouse was erected on the land of Cwmbach farm in Gwauncaegurwen by those members of Cwmllynfell chapel who lived in the neighbourhood. For sixty years it served the dual function of a school and for the holding of preaching and other religious meetings until in 1822 some fifty members of Cwmllynfell chapel left the older congregation to establish the new chapel at Cwmbach.   
In 1785 a similar school­house was built at Craig Arw, Ystalyfera, where preaching and prayer meetings were held during the week as well as a school on Sundays. Those involved continued to attend Sunday services at Cwmllynfell until 1821 when it was decided to establish a chapel at Pantteg. This appears to have been the outcome of a religious revival in the district inspired by the two cousins, Daniel and Philip Griffiths, the latter of whom became the first minister of Pantteg in 1822.  
At Cwmtwrch a Sunday School was founded in the late eighteenth century, though further developments were somewhat later here than at Cwmbach and Pantteg.  The membership of these new chapels increased rapidly as did that of the mother chapel of Cwmllynfell. This was in part the result of the more general revival taking place in religion at the time but the pressure exerted by the immigrants into the district, many of whom came from parts of Carmarthenshire where Independency was well established, was also an important factor.
Two of the interesting features of the religious life of the district at this time are, first, that growth was confined to the Independents and, secondly, that the leadership of the new chapels was, despite the number of immigrants by the late twenties of the nineteenth century, almost entirely in the hands of the natives of the district, small tenant farmers for the most part.  Later developments were to modify the overall picture but the Independents retained their supremacy and the farming families continued to fulfil a vital role in the lives of the chapels."

 

"The expansion of Nonconformity in the parish during the early years of the nineteenth century was the outcome of the more general religious revival which dated back to the second half of the preceding century. From the 1820s, however, the immigrants who were beginning to settle in the district provided a stimulus for further growth. The accommodation available for worship among the existing denominations became quite inadequate, while some of the newcomers were members of denominations which had no organised congregations in the upper Swansea Valley. Existing congregations grew rapidly, new branches of older churches were formed which were in due course incorporated as chapels and new places of worship were established by denominations hitherto unrepresented in the parish.

The independents, already well established in the parish, made substantial progress. Their churches at Cwmllynfell and Alltwen, which had already been instrumental in founding schoolhouses at Cwmbach and Graig Arw, established 'daughter' churches at Cwmbach, Panteg and, somewhat later, Gibea, Brynaman. Naturally enough, the original churches continued to enjoy considerable local prestige which, to some extent, the 'daughter' churches inherited. These latter were served by the same ministers as the 'mother' churches in their early years, they were founded by members of the indigenous farming families which had long played a prominent part in the affairs of the parish and they recruited a number of the more prominent among the early Welsh speaking immigrants, some of whom were small employers and businessmen. The 'daughter' churches, therefore, had men of substance and local standing available to provide them with leaders and to endow them with a measure of reflected esteem and status.

Very different was the story of the Baptists who had no such long established roots in the parish. Their early leaders were 'pobl dwad', newcomers, many of whom had migrated to the parish to work in the coal and iron works. Thus, while the Independents of Panteg Chapel numbered among their members old farming families like the Evanses of Gilfach-yr-haidd, the Prices of Ystalyfera Isaf, the Morganses of Penlan-fach and the Thomases of Coedcae-mawr, the young Soar Baptists of Ystalyfera were led by men like the mining overseer, John Lewis of Rhymney, the ironfounder, Jacob Gabe of Llandilo, the shoemaker, Timothy Williams of Conwil, Carmarthenshire, and the ironworks labourer, John Kinsey of Radnorshire. Not surprisingly, the Baptists had during the 1840s to overcome strong local prejudice, which was the product of antipathy against newcomers as well as differences in religious observance.

The Methodists, both Calvinistic and Wesleyan, failed to match the achievements of the Independents and the Baptists, despite the strenuous efforts which had been made by the Welsh Methodist leaders during the second half of the eighteenth century. True, they established churches in the larger villages of the parish but it was not until the late years of the nineteenth century that they won the support of more than a small minority of the parish's inhabitants.

The relative strength of the denominations in the middle of the century is reflected in the Ecclesiastical Returns for 1851. It must, however, be remembered that the totals in the following table do include attenders who were inhabitants of neighbouring parishes:

                                    Independents     Baptists        Wes. Methodists     Calv. Methodists

  • Accommodation         1,638            724                      352                          30
  • Attendance                 3,188            731                      198                          80
  • Sunday School              543            140                        60                           60          

Later developments changed the situation somewhat but, in general terms, their impact was to re-inforce the features which were apparent in 1851.

As the nineteenth century advanced leadership in all denominations increasingly reflected the growing strength of the immigrant and industrial sections of the population. The chapels were thus able to make a unique contribution to the creation of those bonds which were so important in the emergence of the village communities of the parish. There were the obvious instances of the co-operation which was required to establish a cause and raise a place of worship. Then, there was the sustained effort required by the members to improve and maintain their chapels. To achieve this they became centres of a wide variety of community activities which made them focal points in the communities. There was the democratic nature of Nonconformist organisation which allowed members to participate in the affairs of the churches. This last, together with the fact that so many of the chapel leaders were drawn from the same section of society as the large majority of their members, contributed to a sense of group identity.
There was also the influence exerted by the Nonconformist ministers on the communities in which they served. These were frequently men of ability and strong personality and, in a number of instances, were themselves of working class origins. Though primarily concerned with their spiritual responsibilities, they did not divorce themselves from the social and political problems which concerned their members and hearers. They were outspoken on issues like the Poor Law of 1834, the repeal of the Corn Laws, Church Rates, disestablishment, temperance and education. They did much to establish the reputation of the chapels in the parish and this in turn gave them and their successors considerable influence as local leaders of opinion on a wide variety of issues. True, there were many of the inhabitants who remained outside the influence of the chapels while the commitment of others, especially among the 'cholera converts', was superficial and short-lived. Nevertheless, the chapels made a substantial contribution to the integrating of the communities and the formulation of many of those conventions which determined the attitudes of individuals and the behaviour patterns of the communities."


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