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Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru.

(History of the Welsh Independent Churches)

By Thomas Rees & John Thomas; 4 volumes (published 1871+)

 

Extracted  by Gareth Hicks from the CD published by Archive CD Books (Dec 2007)  - with translation by Eleri Rowlands

 


Alltwen

(Vol 2, p159-164)

 Nis gallwn wneyd dim yn well i ddechreu na rhoddi i mewn yma yn gyflawn yr ysgrif ganlynol o eiddo Mr. Griffiths, Alltwen, yr hon a ymddangosodd yn y Diwygiwr am 1847. Tu dal. 313.

"Mae'r Alltwen yn mhlwyf Cilybebyll, yn swydd Forganwg. Adroddir i mi gan yr hen bobl henaf sydd yn yr ardal, am hanes dechreuad yr achos yma fel y canlyn: - Yr oedd dyn o'r enw Lewis Richard yn byw mewn fferm a elwir Bryncarnau, yn y plwyf uchod, a chryn arwyddion duwiolideb arno, ac yn aelod o'r Eglwys Sefydledig. Ar ryw ddiwrnod rhoddodd fenthyg ei geffyl i'r offeiriad er myned i dref gymydogaethol, a digwyddodd i'r offeiriad wneyd gormed o gyfeillach a rhai o'r ysbrydion poethion ag oedd i'w cael yn y dref, a dilynodd eu heffeithiau hwynt ef tuag adref, gwnaent ddo gerdded lled y ffordd fel ei hyd; a gwaeth na hyny, bu gorfod arno gerdded yr ymyloedd, fel ag y syrthiodd ef a'r anifail i bwll llifo; a digwyddodd iddo, fel i Jacob gynt: llaesodd cyswllt ei forddwyd, a bu yn gloff dros ddiwedd ei oes (rhai drwg yw yr ysbrydion yma); a gwaeth na hyny, anafodd yr anifail, yr hwn oedd yn un lled werthfawr. Wrth fwrw golwg ar y dath hon, anfoddlonodd Lewis Richard yn fawr, a phenderfynodd adael yr Eglwys a myned at y Methodistiaid; ac am fod moddion gras yn brin yn yr ardaloedd yma, bu gorfod arno fyned i gapel Llanllian, ger y Foelgastell, swydd Gaerfyrddin ; trafaeliodd tuag yno, er mor bell, am gryn amser. Ond wedi urddo y Parch. Henry Thomas, yn Nghodrerhos, penderfynodd Lewis Richard ymuno a'r Ymneillduwyr, a myned i Godrerhos yn aelod. Ar ol hyn daeth Mr. Thomas i bregethu yn achlysurol i Brynasgellog a Bryncarnau.

O gylch yr amser yma yr oedd L. Richard yn cael lease ar ei dir gan ei feistres; ac am iddo ymadael a'r Eglwys, neu rhag ofn drwg oedd fwy, mynodd ei feistres roddi yn y weithred, nad oedd iddo gadw cyrddau yn ei d, sef yn Bryncarnau. Wedi i'r rhwystr hwn godi, aeth L. Richard i edrych am ryw le arall fel y gallasai gael lle i addoli ei Dduw; a phenderfynodd ar dy bychan ag oedd wedi ei adeiladu gan bobl yr ardal at gadw ysgol ynddo; yr oedd yn mesur 21 o droedfeddi wrth 16 o led, ac o gylch 7 troedfedd o uchder, wedi ei doi a rhedyn; yr oedd yn sefyll ar ymyl common a elwir yr Alltwen. Gelwir ef felly am fod ar y common yma glogwyni o greigiau uchel a mawrion, y rhai sydd yn ymddangos yn wynion o bell gan y mwswn sydd yn gorchuddio y creigiau; ac y mae yr ardal, y ffermydd, y dafarn, a'r addoldy, yn myned wrth yr un enw oll. Cafwyd lease ar y ty bach gan Mr. W. Jones, Cilhendrefawr, dros ysbaid bywyd tri o ddynion, a pharhaodd y lease hyd y flwyddyn 1841 .

Wed cael lle o addoliad, bu y Parch. Henry Thomas, ac eraill, pregethu yma, a daeth y Parch. William Evans, Cwmllynfell, i fod yn weinidog iddynt, a bu gyda hwynt o gylch deng mlynedd, a llwyddodd i gael cynnulleidfa dda yn ol fel ag oedd pethau yn yr oes hono. A phan oedd yn myned i farw, cynghorodd bobl Cwmllynfell a'r Alltwen i ymofyn y Parch. John Davies, gwr ieuangc ag oedd newydd gael ei urddo yn Mhentretygwyn; ac fally aethant i hysbysu i Mr. Davies gynghor eu hymadawedig weinidog; cydsyniodd a'u cais, a daeth atynt yn y flwyddyn 1770.  Bu Mr. Davies yn gweinidogaethu yn y ty bach am amryw flynyddau hyd nes aeth yn rhy fychan i'r gynnulleidfa, ac adeiladwyd ty oedd fwy wrth dalcen yr hen gapel, mesur yr hwn sydd 42 wrth 22 o droedfeddi, ac nid oes hanes iddynt ymofyn cymorth gan neb ond yn yr ardal; cynyddodd yr achos, a lledaenodd y winwydden ei cheingeiau i lawr ac i fyny, nes aeth yn gadarn, ac aeth yn lle o gyrchfa mawr iddo gan bobl yr ardaloedd, a rhai pellenig, a hyny oddiar enwogrwydd eu gweinidiog, oblegid yr oedd yn ddyn cadarn yn yr Ysgrythyrau. Nid oedd neb cenhadau yn myned heibio heb alw gyda'r hen Shon Calfn, fel y galwent ef, ac yr oedd amryw o'r Methodistiaid yn galw gydag ef, ac yn ei dy ef y byddent yn llettya. Wedi bod felly yn llwyddianus am flynyddau, daeth eisiau gwellhau yr addoldy, yr hyn a wnaethant. Codasant ef yn uwch, a rhoddasant ben newydd a chadarn arno, a gwellhawyd ef y tu fewn; bu hyn yn y flwyddyn 1814, a dygodd y gynnulleidfa a'r ardalwyr y draul oll. Bu Mr. Davies yn gweinidogaethu yn yr Alltwen am 51 mlynedd ; ond er mor gadarn o gorph ac o feddwl oedd, ac er mor hoff o hono ydoedd y bobl, bu gorfod arnynt ymadael ag ef pan ddanfonwyd cerbyd Israel a'i farchogion i'w gyrchu i gymanfa a chynnulleidfa y rhai cyntaf-anedig, &c. Bu farw Rhagfyr 4ydd, 1821, a chladdwyd ef wrth Eglwys Llanguwg, oblegid nid oedd mynwent wrth yr Alltwen na Chwmllynfell y pryd hwnw. Er mor enwog oedd y gweinidog a'r lle, etto nid oeddynt yn eglwys luosog, ond yr oeddynt yn bobl gyfrifol a pharchus iawn, yn ymgasglu o bell o lawer o wahanol ardaloedd ; rhai o swydd Frycheiniog, plwyf yr Ystrad ; eraill o blwyf Llanguwg, 4 neu 5 milldir i fyny ; eraill o blwyf Llangafelach, Treforis, Llansamlet, plwyf Cadwg, godreu Cwmdulais, tu draw i'r mynydd, etto nid oeddynt ond bychan o rifedi yn yr oes dywyll hono, pryd nad oedd Ysgolion Sabbothol, na chyhoeddiadau misol, na thai addoliad yn aml iawn, na nemawr o fanteision fel sydd yn ein hoes ni, ac yr oedd llawer o elyniaeth at yr achos mewn llawer man. Bu gorfod ar un o ddiaconiaid yr Alltwen gael trwydded (license) ar ei dy er cael cadw addoliad ynddo (George Williams, Glanrhyd); yr oedd hyny yn beth hynod iawn; ond nid yw yr elyniaeth wedi marw etto, ond yn unig ei bod yn ormod o oleuni iddi ddangos ei hun.

Wedi marw Mr. Davies bu y gynnulleidfa yn araf, pwyllog, tawel, a diwylltni ar ol pob dawn ag oedd yn myned heibio iddynt. Ac wedi i eglwys y Pantteg roddi galwad i'r ysgrifenydd, daeth eglwys yr Alltwen o'r un feddwl, a chydsyniasant a'r Pantteg er bod yn rhanog a hwynt dan yr un weinidogaeth ; rhoddasant alwad wedi ei harwyddo oll heb un yn groes, nid oeddynt y pryd hwnw ond 67 o nifer. Wedi yr urddiad aeth pethau yn mlaen yn gysurus, llwyddodd yr achos, derbyniwyd amryw, ac aeth eisiau helaethu y lle, yr oedd yn rhy gyfyng i breswylio ynddo ; nid oedd ond lease bywydau ar y ty, a dau o'r tri wedi marw, a'r llall yn hen iawn. Y canlyniad fu, aeth un o'r hen bobl (Richard Hopkin, Cwmnantllwyd) at berchen y lle, er ceisio adnewyddu y lease, i gael adeiladu -  cafodd addewid o gan' mlynedd; aeth eilwaith, a chafodd addewid o fil ond un. Felly penderfynodd yr eglwys wneyd cytundeb a H. Gwyn, Ysw.,am y lle dros 999 o flynyddau. Rhywfodd wrth ymddiddan a'r gwr boneddig, daeth.- bwyd i benderfyniad i gael darn o'r cae oedd islaw y tai addoliad at yr hyn oedd eisioes o dan y tai addoli, a hyny er adeiladu ty newydd a'r ddau gyntaf i sefyll, i fod yn y stabl a thai anedd, ac i fod mewn cysylltiad a'r ty newydd, a'r cwbl yn yr un lease. Yr unig rwystr i hyn oedd, fod lease gan Mr. Richard Hopkin, ar y cae ; a thuag at symud hyny, rhoddodd ei hawl i'r darn tir i fyny i'r eglwys am ddim. Pelly dechreuwyd adeiladu yn y flwyddyn 1831. Mae yr adeilad presenol yn mesur 46 troedfedd wrth 36 o led, 22 o uchder, 3 drws, ac 8 o ffenestri, ac oriel helaeth, corau (50); ac anrhydeddwyd y lle a dau awrlais (clocks), un tu fewn, a'r llall tu allan, gan berchen y lle, Howell Gwyn, Ysw., eu gwerth ocdd 18 18s.

Gwerth yr adeilad yma oedd 407 5s., ond rhwng talu llog, ac adeiladu muriau o gylch iddo, aeth y swm i 523 10s., ond casglwyd y cwbl yn yr ardal mewn ysbaid chwe' blynedd, oddigerth rhyw ychydig gymorth o'r undeb, ac oddiwrth ryw 15 o gapeli yn y gymydogaeth ; cludodd y bobl yr holl ddefnyddiau yn rhad, ceryg, coed, sand, dwfr, calch, &o. ; yr oedd gan y bobl galon i weithio, a gwasanaethasant eu cenhedlaeth drwy hyny, a chenhedlaethau lawer etto.

Y draul nesaf aeth arnynt oedd adgy weirio yr hen addoldy, er ei wneyd yn dri thy byw ac ystabl, costiodd hyn iddynt 45. Wrth gloddio am sylfaen i'r addoldy presenol, deallwyd fod yno ddyfnder o ddaear, ac y gallesid claddu, er ar lechwedd y graig. Yna gwnawd apeliad at H. Gwyn, Ysw., trwy gyfrwng T. Lott Martin, Ysw., am ychwaneg o dir er cael Ile i gladdu ein meirw, yr hyn a ganiatawyd yn rhwydd, heb godi dim yn y rhent flynyddol, ond i ni gael cydsyniad Richard Hopkin, yr hwn oedd a lease ar y cae ; bu yntau mor hael a rhoddi y tir heb ddim tal eilwaith dros amseriad ei hawl ef ynddo. Felly cafwyd y cae oll at fynwent, ac y mae yn un o'r mynwentydd mwyaf yn y sir, os nad yn Nghymru, lle sych hyfryd i gladdu; etto, er mor hyfryd, lle ni ddaeth, ac ni ddaw neb orwedd yma o'i fodd, ond gorfod dyfod dan rwymau angau - hen elyn i ni yw, ac a fydd hyd nes y gorchfygo Iesu mawr ef. Costiodd adeiladu muriau o amgylch claddfa mor eang lawer iawn o arian i'r gynnulleidfa. Hydref 22ain, 1834, dechreuwyd claddu yma; Margaret Hopkin, Forestgoch, oedd y gyntaf a roddwyd i orwedd yma; pregethwyd ar yr achlysur oddiwrth Gen. xxiii. 17. Mae yma heddyw, (Awst 12fed, 1847,) dros ddau gant yn gorwedd. Mae'r beddau wedi eu trefnu yn rhesi wrth linell gywir - dau fedd i bob teulu, 7 troedfedd o hyd wrth 6 o led ; ac y mae'r beddau wedi eu coflyfru wrth eu rhif (numbers) yn mhob rhes.

Y draul nesaf aeth yr eglwys iddo yn 1846, oedd toi y ty addoliad, ben ac ochr, er ei ddiddosi, yr hyn a gostiodd 51 7s. 4c. Eilwaith yn y flwyddyn hon, ail adeiledir yr hen dy hynaf er ei wneyd yn dy anedd cyfleus, costia hwn i ni dros 30. Fel uchod y mae achos y Gwaredwr mawr wedi cychwyn yn yr Alltwen dros y pedwar ugain a deg o flynyddau a aethant heibio; a dymuna'r ysgrifenydd iddo fil myrdd mwy o lwyddiant yn y 90 nesaf, ac hefyd hyd nes cano'r udgorn a'n galw o'n beddau, y rhai sydd barod i ni eisioes. Ni chafodd eglwys yr Alltwen y fraint o fod yn fam i amryw ganghenau fel llawer Ile, ond cafodd y fraint o breswylio ynghyd heb ymrwygo na nemawr o amrafaelion o ddim pwys er pan y corpholwyd hi 'yn eglwys, a thrwy drugaredd y mae cariad ac undeb yn fyw yma heddyw  -  hir oes iddynt byth ac yn dragywydd. Ni chafodd y lle hwn y fraint o fagu llawer o genadau i sefyll ar yr adwy danllyd, ond cafodd y fraint o beidio lladd neb; mae llawer o ladd cenadau trwy ormod o waith, rhy fach o fwyd, gormod o fustl yn eu cwpanau; ond cafodd yr eglwys hon weled ei hathrawon yn disgyn i'r bedd mewn oedran teg, yn gyflawn o ddyddiau, a hwyr eu bywyd, yn llawn o gysur. Etto cafodd fagu rhai i fod yn (e)neuau (?)  cyhoeddus: yma y codwyd y Parch. Jenkin Lewis, Llanfyllin, yr hwn a lafuriodd yn llwyddianus yn y Ile hwnw trwy lawer o anfanteision. Codwyd David Rees yma, bachgen bach call, duwiol, a hyfryd lawn, hynod yn ei athrylith, ond machludodd ei haul gyda ei fod yn dyfod dros y terfyngylch, a bu farw yn ieuangc. Mae yma ddyn ieuangc yn bresenol yn dechreu arfer ei ddawn (Joseph Owen); dymuna yr eglwys a'r gweinidog iddo fawr a hir lwyddiant. Cyfrifir yr eglwys hon yn iach yn y flydd er pan mae yn eglwys ; y mae yn mhell o fod o farn Arminaidd, etto mae am flaenori ar bawb mewn diwydrwydd, dyledswyddau, buchedd sanctaidd, a dysgyblaeth yn ol gair Duw. Cyfrifir gan y rhai sydd yn teithio, fod yma gymaint o archwaeth grefyddol ag sydd mewn nemawr o fan yn y dyddiau marwaidd hyn. Cafodd yr eglwys hon y fraint o gynal dwy gymanfa bedair-sirol yn ysbaid 21 mlynedd diweddaf. Mae'r gangen hon o'r mynydd yn dorf luosog at a fu cyn hyn, ond nid yw hi ond bechan at a fydd, gobeithio, a hyny cyn byddo yn hir. Mae yn ymranu i 6 o ddosbarthiadau er cynal cyfarfodydd gweddio, a hyny i feithrin doniau, llesoli cymydogaethau, ac ennill tir a phersonau newyddion. Bydded bendith ar eu llafur, a bydded Duw Israel gyda ni tra fyddom gyda ein gilydd, ac ar ol fy ymadawiad i arosed cwmwl y gogoniant yma byth."

Yr ychydig ffeithiau canlynol yn unig sydd genym i'w hychwanegu at yr hanes cyflawn blaenorol. Urddwyd Mr Griffiths, Rhagfyr 12fed a'r 13eg, 1822. Dechreuwyd y cyfarfod y nos gyntaf yn y Pantteg gan Mr. D. Davies, myfyriwr yn athrofa y Neuaddlwyd, yn awr o'r New Inn, a phregethodd Mr. L. Powell, Capel Isaac, a Mr. D. Davies, Sardis. Yr ail ddydd, yn yr Alltwen, dechreuwyd trwy weddi gan Mr. Morgan Lewis, Glynnedd; pregethwyd ar natur eglwys gan Mr. D. Evans, Mynyddbach; derbyniwyd y gyffes flydd gan Mr. R. Howell, Baran; gweddiwyd yr urdd-weddi gan Mr. Daniel Jones, Crugybar; pregethwyd ar ddyledswydd y gweinidog gan Mr. T. Bowen, Castellnedd, ac ar ddyledswydd yr eglwys gan Mr. D. Davies, Sardis.

Mae Mr. Griffiths wedi bod yn llafurio yn y maes pwysig hwn bellach er's cyflawn haner can' mlynedd. Yn ystod y tymor hwn, heb gyfrif ei lafur achlysurol yma er y pryd y dechreuodd bregethu, ac am yr amser y bu ar brawf yma, y mae o ddydd ei urddiad hyd yn bresenol wedi traddodi yn y lle, naw mil a phump o bregethau; wedi bedyddio 2886 o blant; wedi gweinyddu mewn 2007 o angladdau; ac wedi derbyn trwy ddeheulaw cymdeithas 1930 o bersonau, heb gyfrif y rhai a dderbyniwyd ganddo trwy lythyrau, a'r gwrthgilwyr a adferwyd. Yn nhymor gweinidogaeth Mr Griffiths, y mae eglwys a chynnulleidfa yr Alltwen wedi myned i'r draul o 1082p. 3s. i adeiladu a helaethu y capel, murio o gylch y fynwent, troi yr hen gapel yn anedd-dai, adeiladu Reading-room, &c., ac wedi talu y cwbl eu hunain heb ond y peth. nesaf i ddim o gymorth o un ardal arall. Daw y canghenau yn Ynysmudw, a Chraigtrebanos, dan sylw etto yn eu lleoedd priodol. Helaethwyd y capel i'w faint presenol yn 1861, pryd yr aed i'r draul o 319p. 10s. i wneyd hyny.

Heblaw y rhai a grybwyllwyd yn barod, cafodd y rhai canlynol eu cyfodi i bregethu yn yr eglwys hon:-

John Jenkins, yr hwn a dderbyniwyd i athrofa Abergavenny, Mai 8fed, 1775, ac a urddwyd yn Llangattwg, Crughowell, Medi 30ain, 1779. Daw of etto dau sylw yn nglyn a hanes yr eglwys hono.*

*Llawysgrifau P. Dayid a chofnodion y Congregational Fund

Lewis Williams yr hwn a urddwyd yn ddiweddar yn Mynyddislwyn yn nghyda dau wr ieuangc sydd newydd ddechreu pregethu, o'r enwau Samuel Thomas a Dan Williams.

Mae yr eglwys hon, a'r Ysgol Sabbothol, mewn agwedd hynod o lewyrchus, a Mr. Griffiths, er ei henaint a'i holl lafur, yn gryf a bywiog mewn corph a meddwl, ond ei fod fel Jacob, yn gloff o'i glun. Hyderwn  fod etto flynyddoedd o gysur a llwyddiant o'i flaen.

COFNODIAD BYWGRAPHYDDOL.

JOHN DAVIES.  Ganwyd y gweinidog enwog hwn yn mhlwyf Llanllawddog, sir Gaerfyrddin, yn y flwyddyn 1737, mewn anedd-dy yn agos i Eglwys y Plwyf.  Aelodau o'r Eglwys Wladol oedd ei rieni. Treuliodd ef flynyddau boreuaf ei oes yn was gyda boneddwr o'r enw Mr. Lloyd, Glangwili.  Yno y dysgodd ac y cymerodd hoffder mewn saethu adar, yr hyn a barhaodd i wneyd trwy ei oes. Ymddengys ei fod yn wyllt a thra annuwiol, er ei fod mewn parch mawr gyda ei feistr, hyd nes yr oedd tuag ugain mlwydd oed. Y pryd hwnw cafodd gystudd trwm a pheryglus a bu yn cadw ei wely am rai wythnosau. Bendithiodd yr Arglwydd ei gystudd er ei ddifrifoli. Pan wellhaodd ymunodd a'r eglwys Annibynol yn Mhenycadair. Yn mhen ychydig amser ar ol ei dderbyn, anogwyd ef gan yr eglwys i arfer ei ddawn fel pregethwr, ac ar ol pregethu am rai misoedd ar brawf yn ei fam-eglwys, aeth, yn ol arferiad yr oes hono, i gyfarfod gweinidogion, lle y traddododd bregeth er mwyn i'r gweinidogion a'r eglwysi cymydogaethol gael cyfle i farnu ei gymhwysder. Barnwyd ef yn addas i gael ei anog i fyned trwy yr eglwysi fel pregethwr rheolaidd. Gan ei fod yn dra enwog fel pregethwr, ac yn enwedig ar gyfrif ei gryfder corphorol a'i wroldeb, anfonodd yr eglwys yn Rhosymeirch, Mon, alwad iddo, cyn iddynt ei glywed, ar sail y son oedd wedi myned allan am dano. Yr oedd o bwys cael dynion gwrol y pryd hwnw i fod yn weinidogion Ymneillduol yn Mon, o herwydd ysbryd erlidgar y trigolion. Tybiodd ef a'i gyfeillion mai llais oddiwrth yr Arglwydd oedd yr alwad hon, ac felly cychwynodd i'w daith tua'r gogledd, ond cyn iddo fyned yn mhell cloffodd ei geffyl, a bu raid iddo ddychwelyd adref. Yna rhoddodd i fyny y meddwl am fyned i'r gogledd. Tua y flwyddyn 1767, derbyniodd alwad oddiwrth yr eglwys yn Mhentretygwyn, sir Gaerfyrddin, lle yr urddwyd ef. Yn niwedd y flwyddyn 1770, neu ddechreu 1771, derbyniodd alwad oddiwrth yr eglwysi yn Nghwmllynfell, yr Alltwen, a Chwmaman, ac ymsefydlodd yno, ac yno y bu yn rhyfeddol o ddylanwadol a pharchus hyd ei farwolaeth, yr hyn a gymerodd le Rhagfyr 4ydd, 1821. Arddydd ei gladdedigaeth, cymerwyd ei gorph o'i anedd i gapel yr Alltwen, lle y traddodwyd pregeth oddiar Salm xl. 2, gan Mr. Thomas Edwards, Castellnedd. Yr oedd y testyn a'r pregethwr wedi cael eu penodi gan yr ymadawedig ar ei wely angau. Claddwyd ef yn ymyl ei ragflaenor,  Mr.W. Evans. yn mynwent Llanguwg, yn ngwydd llawer o ganoedd o alarwyr.

Dichon na fa un gweinidog erioed yn fwy ei barch gan bobl ei ofal na Davies, o'r Alltwen. Nis gellir crybwyll ei enw i'r dydd heddyw yn nghlyw yr hen bobl sydd yn ei gofio heb enyn ynddynt deimladau o barch iddo.  Dywedir mai dyn mawr, garw ei gorph a'i ymadroddion ydoedd, ond er hyny yr oedd ganddo ryw ffordd ryfedd i fyned i serchiadau dynion ac i beri iddynt deimlo parch tuag ato.

Yr oedd fel pregethwr yn llefaru yn gryf, ac eglur, ac yn gadael yr argraff ar ei wrandawyr ei fod yn feistr ar ei bwngc. Er nad oedd dim yn swynol yn ei lais, nac yn dlws yn ei gyfansoddiadau, yr oedd pawb o'i gydoeswyr yn ei gyfrif yn bregethwr mawr. Llygriad dynoliaeth trwy y cwymp, a chyfiawnhad trwy ffydd yn angau iawnol y Cyfryngwr, oedd y materion y safai arnynt agos bob amser. Anfynych y traddodai un bregeth heb roddi ergyd i'r Sosiniaid, ac er hyny, yr oedd gan Sosiniaid y gymydogaeth barch mawr iddo fel cymydog. Yr oedd ganddo yn ei ymddiddanion a'i bregethau ryw ergydion pwrpasol, ac yr oedd ei ateb yn wastad yn barod. Yr oedd ryw nos Sabboth i bregethu yn Ebenezer, Abertawy, a chan ei fod tua phedwar ugain oed y pryd hwnw, ac wedi bod yn pregethu yn yr Alltwen yn y bore, cynygiodd Peter Williams, un o swyddogion yr eglwys, alw rhyw frawd i ddechreu yr oedfa iddo. "Na wnewch," ebe efe, mewn llais garw uchel, " mae yn well genyf fi gael hogi fy mhladur fy han na gadael i neb arall wneyd hyny."

Bu Mr. Davies yn briod ddwywaith ond ni bu iddo blant.

 

Translation by Eleri Rowlands (Jan 2008)

 I cannot do any better to start with than to place here this complete article by  Mr Griffiths, Alltwen that appeared in 'Y Diwygiwr' for 1847, page 313

"Alltwen is in the parish of Cilybebyll, in Glamorgan. The oldest people in the area told me the story of the beginnings of the cause here. This is what they said:-  

There was a man by the name of Lewis Richard living on a farm called Bryncarnau, in this parish, and he had many signs of godliness. He was a member of the established church. One day he lent the priest his horse so that he could go to a neighbouring town, and the priest became too friendly with some of the hot spirits that were to be found in the town, and their effects followed him home, they made him wander all over the road; and worse than that he had to walk along the edges of the road, so that he and the horse fell into a flood pool; and it happened, as it did to Jacob: he broke his thigh and was lame for the rest of his life (these spirits are very bad for one); and worse than that the animal, which was quite valuable, was hurt. Looking back at the journey Lewis Richard was very unhappy and he decided to leave the church and move to the Methodists; and because the means of grace were few in the area, he had to go to Llanilan chapel, near Foelgastell, Carmarthenshire; he travelled there, even though it was so far, for some time. But once the Rev. Henry Thomas, was ordained in Godrerhos, Lewis Richard decided to join the non-conformists, and to become a member in Godrerhos. After this Mr Thomas came to preach occasionally to Brynasgellog and Bryncarnau farms.

Around that time Lewis Richard's mistress leased land to him; and as he had left the church, his mistress insisted on inserting in the documents that he was not to hold services in his house, Bryncarnau farm. Since there was this hindrance Lewis Richard searched for another place for him to worship his Lord; and he decided on a small house that had been built by the people of the area as a school; it measured 21 feet by 16 feet wide, and about 7 feet in height, which was roofed with ferns ; it stood on the edge of a common called Alltwen. It was called that because, on this common there were cliffs of high large rocks, that looked white from far off because of the moss that covers the rocks; the area, the farms, the public house and the place of worship all go by the same name. A lease on the little house was obtained by Mr W. Jones, Cilhendrefawr, over the length of the lives of three men, and the lease lasted until the year 1841.

Once they had had a place of worship, Rev. Henry Thomas and others came to preach here and Rev. William Evans, Cwmllynfell became their minister and was with them for about ten years. He succeeded in gaining a good congregation such as things were in those days. When he was dying, he advised the people of Cwmllynfell and Alltwen to ask Rev. John Davies, a young man who had just been ordained in Pentretygwyn to become their minister. And so they went to tell Mr Davies what the advice of their late minister had been. He agreed with their request and he became their minister in 1770. Mr Davies ministered in the little house for many years until it became too small for the congregation, and they built a bigger house at the end of the chapel which was 42 feet by 22 feet. There is no evidence that they asked for help from anyone except the local people. The cause multiplied and the vine spread her branches down and up until it became strong and it became a place of great meetings for the people of the district and those far away and all this because of the fame of the minister, as he was powerful in the scriptures. No missionary went past without calling with old 'John Calvin' as they called him and many Methodists called with him and they would stay with him. He carried on successfully like that for many years until it became obvious that they needed to improve the place of worship so they did. They lifted it higher and put a new stronger roof on it and improved it inside in the year 1814  at a cost to the congregation and the locals. Mr Davies was a minister in Alltwen for 51 years but although he was strong of body and mind and however fond of him the people were they had to take their leave of him when the chariot of Israel and the knights came to escort him to the assembly of the first born etc. He died on December 4th, 1821 and he was buried near Llangiwg (Llanguick) church because neither Alltwen nor Cwmllynfell had a churchyard then. However famous the minister and the place were, still they were not a large congregation but they were the most respected and responsible people collecting from afar from many different regions. Some came from Breconshire Ystrad parish; others from Llangiwg parish, 4 or 5 miles up the valley; others from the parish of Llangyfelach, Morriston, Llansamlet, and the parish of Cadwg at the bottom of the Dulais valley the other side of the mountain. Again they were not a large number in that dark age when there were no Sunday Schools, nor monthly publications, nor houses of worship, nor many advantages as we have these days and there was much opposition to the cause in many areas. One of the deacons of Alltwen had to apply for a license on his house in order to worship there (George Williams, Glanrhyd); that was a very strange thing; but the opposition has not died out yet.

After the death of Mr Davies the congregation was slow, measured and quiet. When Pantteg chapel called the secretary to be their minister, Alltwen chapel had the same thought and they agreed with Pantteg that they share their ministry. They gave the call, signed by all with no one against although they were at that time only 67 in number. After the ordination everything went along comfortably, the cause was a success. Many new members joined and there was a need for an extension on the chapel since it was too small to dwell in. There was a lease of one life on the house since two of the three had died and the other was very old.   The result was that one of the old people (Richard Hopkin, Cwmnantllwyd) went to see the owner of the place in order to renew the lease to build - he had a promise of 100 years. He went a second time and had a promise of 999 years. So the chapel decided to set up an agreement with H. Gwyn Esq for the place over 999 years. Somehow, in conversation with the gentleman, it was decided to add the land that was below the house of worship to the land on which the chapel stood and that to build a new chapel and the first two to stand as a stable and dwelling houses and for all to connect and the whole lot would be under the same lease. The only problem was that Mr Richard Hopkin already had a lease on the field; and so he gave up his right to the field to the chapel, free. So they started building in 1831.

The present building measures 46 feet by 36 feet wide, 22 feet high, 3 doors and 8 windows, an extensive gallery, choirs (50); and the place is honoured by two clocks, one inside and other outside, by the owner of the place, Howell Gwyn Esq. They were worth 18. 18s.

The building was worth 407. 5s but after paying interest and building walls around it the sum rose to 523. 10s but the whole lot was collected in the area within 6 years, apart from a small amount of help from the union (of Welsh Independents) and from some 15 chapels in the neighbourhood; the people carried all the materials free, stones, wood, sand, water, lime etc; the people worked from their hearts, and they served their generation by doing this and many generations after this one.

The next expense they had was to repair the old chapel, in order to make them into three dwelling houses and a stable, which cost them 45. While digging a foundation for the present building, it was realised that there was a real depth of ground, and they would be able to bury even though they were on the slope of the rock. Then they appealed to H. Gwyn, Esq, through T. Lott Martin, Esq for more land in order to have a place to bury our dead, which was granted readily, without raising the annual rent, as long as we had the agreement of Richard Hopkin, who had a lease on the field; he was generous enough to give the land without a second payment during the time of his right to it. So the field was obtained as a cemetery and it is one of the biggest cemeteries in the county, if not in Wales, a lovely dry place to bury; yet, even though it is beautiful, no one comes here voluntarily, but by death - it is an old adversary and will be until Jesus is victorious. The building of walls around the cemetery cost the community dearly. On October 22nd, 1834, burials were started here: Margaret Hopkin, Fforestgoch, was the first placed to lie here; a sermon was preached at the occasion from Gen 23, v17. Here today, (August 12th, 1847) there are over 200 lying in the graveyard. The graves are arranged in straight rows - two graves for each family, 7 feet long by 6 feet wide; and the graves are registered by number in each row.

The next expense the chapel had in 1846, was to roof the building, top and side, to make it watertight, which cost 51.7s.4d. For the second time in this year the oldest house was rebuilt to make it into a comfortable dwelling house, which cost over 30.

As above, the cause of the great Saviour has started for us in Alltwen over the last 90 years; and the writer wishes even more success in the next 90 years and also until the trumpet calls us from our graves. Alltwen chapel did not have the honour to be a mother church to many branches as many churches have, but we had the honour of living together without quarrels of any note since the establishment as a church, and in God's mercy, love and unity is still alive to this day - long life to them for ever and ever. This chapel did not have the honour of nurturing many messengers (ministers) but did have the honour of never having killed anyone; there is a lot of killing of messengers through overwork, too little food, too much bile in their cups; but this chapel saw her teachers falling into their graves at a fair age, having completed their days, late in life, comfortably. However, she nurtured some to be public people: here Rev. Jenkin Lewis, Llanfyllin, who laboured successfully there through many disadvantages. David Rees was raised here, he was a very intelligent boy, godly, and very pleasant, amazingly talented, but unfortuately died young. A young man is now presently beginning to practice his talent (Joseph Owen); the chapel wishes him a successful careeer. The chapel has been respected generally; she is far from being Arminian, yet she needs to lead everyone in diligence, responsibilities, holy life and discipline according to God's word. The chapel is considered by those that travel as one where there is more religious appetite than anywhere else in these lifeless days. This chapel had the honour of holding two four county assemblies (singing festivals) during the last 21 years. This membership is great compared with what it used to be but very few, we hope, compared with the congregations to come. It is divided into 6 groups in order to hold prayer meetings so that talents can be nurtured, improve communities, cut new ground and gain new members.

Let their labour be blessed, and let the God of Israel be with us while we are together, and after my departure let there be a cloud of glory here forever.

There are a few further facts to include. Mr Griffiths was ordained on December 12th and 13th, 1822. The meeting began the first night in Pantteg by Mr D. Davies, a student in Neuaddlwyd training college, but now from New Inn (Ammanford) and Mr Powell, Capel Isaac, and Mr D. Davies, Sardis preached. The second day, in Alltwen, started with a prayer by Mr Morgan Lewis, Glynneath; Mr D. Evans, Mynyddbach, preached on the nature of church; the soft confession was accepted by Mr R. Howell, Baran; the ordaining prayer was given by Mr Daniel Jones, Crugybar; Mr T. Bowen of Neath preached about the duties of the minister and Mr D. Davies, Sardis preached about the duty of the church.

Mr Griffiths has been labouring in this important field now for fifty years. During this time, without counting his occasional work, since he started preaching, and while he was a student, he has since his ordination till now delivered nine thousand and five sermons; has christened 2886 children; has served in 2007 funerals; and has accepted 1930 people as members, without counting the ones accepted by letter, and the backsliders that were restored to the fold.

During the term of Mr Griffiths'ministry the chapel and congregation at Alltwen had an expense of 1082.3s. 0d in order to build and extend the chapel, the wall around the graveyard, changing the old chapel into dwelling houses, building a reading room etc. and paying off the debt themselves without much help from any other district. The branches at Ynysmeudwy and Craigtrebanos will be noted again in their appropriate places. The chapel was extended to its present size in 1861, when they had an expense of 319.10s to do so.

Other than the ones already mentioned the following also became preachers in this chapel:-

John Jenkins, who was accepted to Abergavenny training college on May 8th, 1775, and was ordained in Llangattwg, Crughowell, on September 30th, 1779. There will be two mentions of him in the history of that chapel. *

*Documents of  P.Dayid and the minutes of the Congregational fund.

Lewis Williams who was lately ordained in Mynyddislwyn along with two young men who have just started preaching. Their names are Samuel Thomas and Dan Williams.

This chapel and the Sunday School are now in a highly prosperous condition and Mr Griffiths, despite his age and workload, is strong and lively in body and mind, although he has, as had Jacob, a lame hip. We are confident that he has years of comfort and success in front of him.

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

JOHN DAVIES.
This well known minister was born in Llanllawddog parish, Carmarthenshire, in the year 1737, in a house close to the Parish Church. His parents were members of the Established Church. He spent his earliest years as a servant to a gentleman by the name of Mr Lloyd of Glangwili. There he learnt and started taking an interest in shooting birds, which became a lifelong interest. It appears that he was rather wild and ungodly, even though he was greatly respected by his master, until he was around twenty years old. At that time he had a dangerous illness and was kept in his bed for some weeks. The Lord blessed his illness even though he was so ill. When he recovered he joined the Independent chapel in Pencader. Soon after he was accepted, he was encouraged by the chapel to practise his preaching, and after preaching for some months as a student in his mother church, he went, according to the custom of those days, to a meeting of ministers, where he preached so that the ministers and local chapels had a chance to judge his suitability as a minister. He was judged as suitable to be a qualified minister. Since he was quite a well-known preacher, and especially since he was known for his bodily strength and his courage, the chapel at Rhosmeirch, Anglesey gave him a call, even before they heard him, on the basis of the word they had heard about him.

It was important to have courageous men those days as Non-conformist ministers in Anglesey because of the persecuting spirit of the inhabitants. He and his friends considered that this call was God's voice, and so he set out on his journey north, but before he got very far his horse became lame and he had to return home. Then he gave up all thought of going north. About the year 1767, he accepted the call from a chapel in Pentretygwyn, Carmarthenshire, where he was ordained. At the end of 1770 or the beginning of 1771, he accepted a call from the chapels in Cwmllynfell, Alltwen and Cwmaman, and he settled there and in that place he was amazingly influential and respected till his death, which happened on December 4th, 1821. On the day of his burial, his body was taken from his home to Alltwen chapel, where the sermon was delivered from Psalm 11. v.2 by Mr Thomas Edwards, Neath. The text and the preacher had been chosen by the departed on his death-bed. He was buried near his forerunner, Mr W. Evans, in Llangiwg churchyard, before hundreds of mourners.

Perhaps there was never a minister who was more respected by his congregation than Davies, from Alltwen. His name cannot be mentioned in the hearing of the old people who remember him even today, without it inflaming feelings of respect in them. It is said that he was a big man, with a coarse body and coarse speech, but despite this he had a strange way of getting to people's hearts and made them feel respect towards him.

As a minister, he spoke, strongly and clearly, and left an impression on his listeners that he was a master of his subject. Even though there was nothing melodious in his voice, nor sweet in his compositions, everyone of his contemporaries counted him as a great preacher. Very rarely did he preach one sermon without attacking the Socinians, even though the Socinians of the area also had great respect for him as a neighbour. He had some purposeful attacks in his conversations and his sermons and he always had a ready answer. One Sunday evening he was to preach in Ebenezer, Swansea, and since he was about 80 years old then, and had been preaching in Alltwen in the morning, Peter Williams, one of the officials of the chapel, offered to call a brother to start the service for him. 'No you won't,'he said, in a coarse loud voice, 'I would rather sharpen my own scythe then allow someone else to do it for me.'

Mr Davies was married twice but had no children. "

 


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