(History of the Welsh Independent Churches)
By Thomas Rees & John Thomas; 4 volumes (published 1871+)
From the CD published by Archive CD Books See main project page
Proof read by Maureen Saycell (May 2008)
Montgomeryshire section (Vol 1) - Pages 248 - 261
- (Continued) LLANBRYNMAIR
- LLANFYLLIN (with translation)
Pages 248 - 261
*(Not fully extracted)
*HENRY WILLIAMS. Yr oedd y gwr da hwn yn byw yn yr Ysgafell, ger llaw y Drefnewydd. .............................
*HUGH OWEN. Yn Mron y Clydwr, yn mhlwyf Llanegryn, Meirionydd, yr oedd ef yn byw, a thebygol mai yno y ganwyd ef, yn y flwyddyn 1637. ......................
*JOHN OWEN. Mab Mr Hugh Owen. Yr oedd yn weinidog ieuangc gobeithiol a chymeradwy fawn, ac, ar ol marwolaeth ei dad, yr unig
weinidog Ymneillduol yn Meirionydd. ...............................
*RAYNALLT WILSON. Nid oes genym and y peth nesaf i ddim o hanes Mr Wilson. ............................
REES PROTHEROE. Gweler hanes Caerdydd a'r Watford.
WILLIAM JERVICE. Gweler Hanes Llanfyllin.
BENJAMIN MEREDITH. Nid oes genym ddim i ychwanegu at yr hyn a nodasom mewn perthynas iddo ef.
LEWIS REES. Gweler hanes y Mynyddbach, Morganwg.
SIMON WILLIAMS Gweler hanes eglwysi Rhaiadr, Llandrindod a Thredwstan.
*RICHARD TIBBOTT. Ganwyd y gwr rhagorol hwn yn Hafodypant, yn mhlwyf Llanbrynmair, Ionawr 18fed, 1719. ....................................
252 / 253
*JOHN ROBERTS. Ganwyd y gwr enwog ac anwyl hwn yn Bronyllan, plwyf Mochtref, Maldwyn, Chwefror 25ain, 1767. .................................
254 / 255 / 256 / 257 / 258
Er ein bod wedi rhoddi y flaenoriaeth i Lanbrynmair, dichon fod yn anhawdd penderfynu pa un ai y gangen yno o eglwys Sir Drefaldwyn ai y gangen yn nghylchoedd Llanfyllin a ymffurfiodd yn eglwys Annibynol gyntaf. Mae yn dra eglur pa fodd bynag fod yr eglwys yn Llanfyllin yn gallu dilyn ei hanes yn lled ddifwlch hyd y flwyddyn 1640, pryd y gweinyddid iddi gan yr hyglod Vavasor Powell, a'r hwn hefyd a barhaodd i fwrw golwg drosti cyn belled ag y goddefid iddo gan ei lafur dirfawr a'i ddioddefiadau chwerwon am fwy nag ugain mlynedd. Hyd adferiad Siarl II yn 1660, a'r cyfreithiau gormesol a ddilynodd ei esgyniad i'r orsedd, arferent ymgynull i addoli yn nhai Meistriaid John Griffith, a Walter Griffith, ac mewn manau eraill yn y dref a'i hamgylchoedd; ond ar ol hyny gorfu iddynt gilio i leoedd anghysbell a chuddiedig i gyfarfod i addoli er dianc rhag cynddaredd yr erlidwyr y rhai oeddynt fel gwaedgwn yn barod i ymosod arnynt. Arferent ymgynull fynychaf yn y Pantmawr, amaethdy o fewn milldir a haner i dreflau Meifod. Mae yr hen dy yn aros a'i olwg yn gyffelyb i dai yr eilfed ganrif ar bymtheg. Ei wneuthuriad sydd o goed a delltwaith - y coed wedi eu duo, a'r dellt wedi eu gorchuddio a phriddgalch. Ychydig o oleuni a ollyngir i fewn iddo trwy ffenestri bychain culion ; ac fel i ychwanegu at olwg hynafol a chyntefig y lle tyf wrth ei dalcen dwyreiniol ywen ganghenog ; a chysgodir y ty rhag poethder yr haul ganol dydd gan sycamorwydden gref. Yma y cyrchid i addoli o bob cwr o'r wlad oddiamgylch yn y cyfnod hwnw, ac am fwy na dau can' mlynedd ar ol hyny. Arferai tua deg an hugain o bersonau o Lanfyllin ddyfod i'r Pantmawr i addoli yn yr adeg yma. Gweinyddwyd i'r gynulleidfa ar y pryd gan y pregethwyr a enwyd eisoes yn nglyn a Llanbrynmair, y rhai a wasanaethent eglwys Sir Drefaldwyn yn ei holl ganghenau. Yr oedd un Morris Williams, cylchwr (cooper) wrth ei gelfyddyd, yn aelod gweithgar o'r frawdoliaeth, ac yn bregethwr cymeradwy. John Evans, ysgolfeistr o Groesoswallt, John Griffith, o Lanfyllin, yr hwn oedd Ynad Heddwch, a Richard Baxter gwas John Kynaston, oeddynt hefyd yn mysg y rhai mwyaf gweithgar yn y lle ; ac yn y cyfarfodydd anghyfreithlawn, fel eu cyfrifid, a gynhelid mewn manau eraill yn mhlwyfi Llanfyllin a Llanfechain.
Bu Ambrose Mostyn, fel y tybir, am dymor yn llafurio yn mysg y gangen yma. Adroddir ei fod mewn cyfarfod parotoad yn Pantmawr, ac yr oedd yno ryw nifer i'w derbyn i gymundeb dranoeth. Wrth eu holi pa beth a wasgodd ar eu meddwl am fater eu heneidiau, dywedai pob un mai gweinidogaeth Vavasor Powell , gyda'r hon yn gyffredin yr oedd effeithiau grymus yn cydfyned. Ar ol eu gwrando syrthiodd Mr Mostyn iselder meddwl mawr, ac ofnai nad oedd yr Arglwydd wedi ei alw ef i bregethu, onide y rhoddasid iddo yntau yn gystal ag i Mr Powell eneidiau yn seliau ei weinidogaeth. Pan ddaeth y gynulleidfa yn nghyd boreu dranoeth yr oedd y pregethwr yn ei wely, ac yn rhy wael i godi. Aeth
Morris Williams ato a deallodd yn fuan mai iselder ysbryd oedd arno ar ol y pethau a glywodd yn y cyfarfod y prydnawn o'r blaen, a dywedodd hyny wrtho. Addefodd Mr. Mostyn mai felly yr oedd. " 0 ddylech chwi ddim gadael i beth fel yna eich taflu i lawr," meddai Morris Williams, " chwi wyddoch mai cooper ydwyf fi, ac y mae genyf fi ddynion ar hyd y maes yn cwympo coed; ond wna nhw er hyny byth lestri cymhwys i fod ar y bwrdd, ac at wasanaeth teuluoedd heb i minau eu llunio a'u cymhwyso - felly y mae Mr Powell yn myned allan yn ei nerth a'i fwyell ar ysgwydd i gwympo y coed ; ond y mae eich gwaith chwi yn yr eglwys i'w trin a'u cymhwyso, ac y mae eich eisiau eich dau ar Dduw i gymhwyso llestri trugaredd y rhai a barotodd efe i ogoniant." Gwelodd Mr Mostyn briodoldeb y sylw, cyfododd o'i wely, a phregethodd gyda blas i'r bobl oedd yn disgwyl yn awyddus am dano ; canys yr oedd " gair yr Arglwydd yn werthfawr yn y dyddiau hyny." Cafodd y gangen yma yn y cyfnod dan sylw fwynhau rhan o weinidogaeth Meistri Hugh Owen, Henry Williams, John Owen, Reynallt Wilson, James Owen, ac ereill.
Yn y flwyddyn 1690, anturiodd Mr James Owen, yr hwn oedd y pryd hwnw yn Nghroesoswallt, i dref Llanfyllin i gynyg pregethu. Agorodd Mr John Griffith ei ddrws iddo. Yr oedd ei dy yn y fan y saif addoldy presenol yr Annibynwyr yn y dref. Mae yn debygol mai hwn oedd y John Griffith y cyfeiriwyd ato o'r blaen, yr hwn a gyrchai i'r Pantmawr a'r hwn oedd yn Ynad Heddwch. Cyn gynted ag y deallwyd fod yr Ymneillduwyr yn myned i gynal addoliad yn y dref, a bod Mr Griffith yn myned i agor ei dy iddynt, a bod y pregethwr wedi dyfod i'r lle ; ymgasglodd y werin aflywodraethus o gylch ty Mr Griflith - fel y Sodomiaid o amgylch ty Lot gynt-gan hawlio cael y pregethwr allan, a dryllio y ffenestri, a bygwth gosod y ty ar dan a llosgi pawb oedd ynddo. Daeth Mr Griffith i'r drws, ac a'i eiriau caredig, a'i gyfarchiad efengylaidd llonyddodd gynddaredd yr erlidwyr, fel yr aethant ymaith gan ymddangos yn ofidus am yr hyn a wnaethant, ac ni bu yno unrhyw ymyriad mwy a rhyddid yr Ymneillduwyr i addoli am fwy nag ugain mlynedd. Cydnabyddodd un o'r erlidwyr ar ol hyny wrth Mrs Griffith ei ffolineb, ac ychwanegodd " na bu byth lwyddiant arno er y cododd i law yn erbyn yr efengyl."
O gylch yr amser yr ymwelodd Mr James Owen a Llanfyllin, codwyd capel bychan yn Bwlchycibau, yn mhlwyf Meifod, ar y ffordd rhwng Llanfyllin a'r Pantmawr, o fewn tua thair milldir i'r lle blaenaf. Adeiladwyd ef gan un Mr Owen, Peniarth, gwr yn byw ar ei dir i hun, a galwyd ef Capel Peniarth, ond mewn gwawd gelwid ef " Capel Hirbryd." Mae yn ymddangos y byddai y bobl o ochr Llanfyllin yn arfer cadw cyfarfod prydnawnol ynddo ar eu dychweliad o'r Pantmawr ; a chan nad oedd cyfle i'r rhan fwyaf o honynt i gael bwyd rhwng y ddau gyfarfod, llysenwyd ef gan eu gelynion yn " Gapel Hirbryd." Fel hyn y dywed Cyffin yn yr Annibynwr am 1863, tudal. 132, i'r hwn yr ydym yn ddyledus am lawer o ffeithiau yn nglyn ag eglwysi Maldwyn - " Y mae y llecyn le y safai y capel a'r fynwent yn ngwr gogleddol y llwyn o goed derw a elwir ' Coed y Capel,' yn mhen uchaf y weirglodd le y daw i gyffyrddiad a'r llwyn yn ymyl hen chwarel gerig. Gelwir y weirglodd hon hefyd 'Weirglodd y Capel., Er cyn cof gan y rhai henaf o breswylwyr yr ardal, yr oedd wedi ei droi yn dy anedd ; ond y mae rhai eto yn fyw yn cofio yr
hen dy, er ei fod yn henafol iawn yr olwg arno, ac yr oedd yn nghylch dau gyfair o dir yn perthyn iddo, a gelwid y ty yn Gapel yr Hirbryd.' Y mae yn dra thebyg ei fod yn feddiant ar wahan a'r tir a'i cylchynai. Gwerthwyd y ty a'r cae i Councillor Owen, Glan Severn, ger y Trallwm, gan hen wr o'r enw Thomas Owen, ond a elwid yn gyffredin ' Bold Owen,' ar gyfrif ei annuwioldeb a'i greulondeb at ei gyd-ddynion, fel yr oedd yn arswyd gwlad. Daeth y capel i feddiant y dyn hwn oddeutu y flwyddyn 1762, ac y mae lle i farnu mai yn ei amser ef y rhoddwyd heibio bregethu yn Nghapel Hirbryd. Daeth y Thomas Owen yma i ddiwedd truenus. Aeth yn dlawd a diymgeledd cyn diwedd ei oes ; a syrthiodd pren yn y llwyn ar ei ben, a lladdwyd ef yn y fan. Mae yn dra thebyg i'r cae gael ei ollwng at y weirglodd, oblegid dywedir fod Mr Edward Owens, Peniarth, yn ei haredig tua'r flwyddyn 1811, ac i amryw benglogau ddod i'r golwg, yn nghyd ag esgyrn dynol eraill ; a bod yno gerig beddau gydag adysgrifen arnynt ; ond erbyn hyn, nid oes yno na phren na maen yn aros o'r capel na'r ty."
O'r flwyddyn 1690 hyd ddechreu y ddeunawfed ganrif, gwasanaethid yr eglwys yn Llanfyllin a'r Pantmawr gan yr ychydig weinidogion a'u cynorthwywyr oedd y pryd hyny yn Sir Drefaldwyn ; ond yn 1703, rhoddwyd galwad i Mr William Jervice i fod yn weinidog. Yn hanes Llanbrynmair, cawn mai yn 1713 y dechreuodd Mr Jervice ei weinidogaeth yno ; ond yn ol yr hyn a ysgrifenodd y diweddar Mr D. Morgan yn llyfr eglwys Llanfyllin, dywed iddo ymsefydlu yno yn 1703, ac ychwanegai mai felly y ceir y dyddiad yn llyfr eglwys y Cilgwyn. Os yw hyny yn gywir, yr oedd Mr. Jervice wedi ei urddo yn Llanfyllin ddeng mlynedd cyn iddo dderbyn galwad o Lanbrynmair. Un peth sydd yn ymddangos yn ddyrus i ni yn hyn ydyw, pa fodd na buasai enw Mr Jervice yn nglyn ag adeiladiad y capel cyntaf yn Llanfyllin. Yn y flwyddyn 1708 y codwyd y capel cyntaf yn y dref, yn y fan lle y saif y capel presenol. Rhoddwyd y tir gan Mr Nehemiah Griffith, un o ddisgynyddion y John Griffith am yr hwn y crybwyllasom fwy nag unwaith; a rhoddwyd y weithred gan ei frawd, Mr Thomas Griffith, o'r Rhuall, sir Fflint, yn y flwyddyn 1738, yn yr hon y cydnabyddir fod y capel wedl ei godi lawer o flynyddau cyn hyny trwy lafur ac ar draul Evan Evans, Timothy Quarell, John Quarell, John Chidlaw, Peter Chidlaw, ac Arthur Chidlaw. Nid ydym yn cael enw William Jervice o gwbl yn eu plith, yr hyn sydd braidd yn hynod, os oedd yn weinidog iddynt. Heblaw hyny, yn Mehefin. 1702, cawn fod Mr Rees Prothero wedi ei urddo yn y Pantmawr i fod yn weinidog yno ac yn Bragginton, a'r gorsafoedd cylchynol lle y pregethid; ond nid oes son am Lanfyllin ; a bu yno nes y symudodd i Gaerdydd yn 1712. Os oedd. Mr Jervice wedi dechreu ei weinidogaeth yn 1703, gellir casglu fod Llanfyllin a Phantmawr wedi ymwahanu dros dymor, ac iddynt ymuno drachefn wedi ymadawiad Mr Prothero. Ni fynem fod yn rhy bendant lle na byddo ffeithiau y gellir dibynu arnynt ; ond, a chymeryd yr holl amgylchiadau i ystyriaeth, gogwyddir ni i feddwl mai yn 1713 yr ymsefydlodd Mr Jervice i fod yn weinidog yn Llanfyllin a Llanbrynmair a'r canghenau.
Yn nheyrnasiad y Frenhines Anne, llwyddodd y Toriaid i fyned i awdurdod, a daeth Dr. Sackeverell gyda'i ddolef " yr Eglwys mewn Perygl " yn offeryn cymhwys at eu gwasanaeth. Cefnogwyd erledigaeth- ymosodwyd ar yr Ymneillduwyr - yspeiliwyd hwy o meddianau - a
llosgwyd llawer o'u capelau yn lludw gan y werin afreolus dan arweiniad ei huwchradd. Yn 1712, ymosodwyd ar gapel yr Ymneillduwyr yn Llanfyllin gan ddynion anhywaeth, dan gyfarwyddyd Mr Price, Bodfach, a'r blaid Doriaidd, a llosgwyd ef yn gydwastad a'r llawr.
Tra yr oedd " ty eu sancteiddrwydd harddwch lle y molianai eu tadau wedi ei losgi a than," cyfarfyddent i addoli mewn ty anedd, yn union ar gyfer Eglwys y plwyf. Teimlai Mr Foulkes, yr offeiriad, yn ddigllawn oherwydd eu bod yno ; a thywalltai felldithion arnynt o'r pulpud bob Sabboth mewn ymadroddion a ferwinai glustiau hyd yn nod yr Eglwyswyr eu hunain. Amlygai amryw o'r plwyfolion anfoddlonrwydd iddo, ac aeth un gwr cyfrifol i achwyn wrtho am ei ymddygiad, ac i sicrhau iddo ei fod trwy ei ymosodiad parhaus arnynt yn creu rhagfarn yn ei erbyn ei hun, ac yn enyn cydymdeimlad a'r rhai a erlidiai. " Gadewch i mi," meddai Mr Foulkes, "roddi un trinfa dda iddynt y Sabboth nesaf, ac yna gadawaf lonydd iddynt." Ond cyn i'r Sabboth nesaf ddyfod, tarawyd ef a dyrnod yn ddisymwth gan angeu, ac ar darawiad galwyd ef ger bron ei Farnwr i roddi cyfrif am ei withredoedd !
Yn y flwyddyn 1714, ar esgyniad Sior I i'r orsedd, daeth y Whigiaid drachefn i awdurdod. Ystyrient hwy, a hyny yn briodol, y dylasent amddiffyn personau a meddianau y deiliaid, beth bynag fuasai en golygiadau crefyddol ; a barnent fod eu rhagflaenoriaid yn yr awdurdod wedi bud yn anffyddlon i'w hymddiriedaeth drwy oddef, os nad oeddynt yn cefnogi, y werin anwybodus a llidiog i'w hysbeilio o'u meddianau, a distrywio en capelau. Penderfynasant gan hyny mai eu dyledswydd oedd adfer eu heiddo i'r dynion a yspeiliasid, ac ail adeiladu, a hyny ar draul y Llywodraeth, y capelau a ddistrywiasid. Mae y dull y daeth sefyllfa capel Llanfyllin i glustiau yr awdurdodau yn deilwng o'i gofnodi. Yn mhen amser ar ol dinystriad y capel, daeth Syr Joseph Jekyl ar i gylchdaith fel barnwr i Lanfyllin, lle yn y dyddiau hyny y cynhelid brawdlysoedd y Sir. Yr oedd Syr Joseph yn bleidiwr i'r Ymneillduwyr, as yn un o'r rhai a gymerodd ran flaenllaw yn mhrawf Dr. Sackeverell. Wrth ddyfod i'r dref gyda'r Uchel Sirydd, Mr Price, Bodfach, a gweled y capel yn adfeilion, gofynai i'r Uchel Sirydd pa beth oedd wedi dyfod o'r capel a arferai fod yno gan yr Ymneillduwyr Protestanaidd. Atebwyd ef fod y werin bobl wedi ei ddistrywio. " Y werin bobl !" atebai y barnwr, "onid oedd yma swyddogion y Llywodraeth, a chwithau yn Uchel-Sirydd yn byw yn eu hymyl - ni ddylasech ar un cyfrif oddef iddynt wneyd y fath beth ;" a gorchymynodd i'r holl rai oedd a llaw yn y weithred gael eu dwyn ger ei fron ef dranoeth. Dranoeth a ddaeth, ond nid ymddangosodd neb ger bron ; a rheswm da paham, gan y gwyddai yr Uchel-Sirydd a Mr Foulkes, yr offeiriad, mai dan eu cyfarwyddyd hwy y gweithredodd y bobl. Cynghorasant y rhai oedd yn euog i ffoi y noson hono, fel na ellid cael gafael ynddynt dranoeth ; ac felly fu, diangasant ymaith, a chan faint eu dychryn ni ddychwelodd rhai o honynt byth i'r lle. Digiodd y barnwr gymaint with yr ymddygiad - oblegid deallodd fod ystryw wedi ei arfer fel y penderfynodd y mynai symud y brawdlys o Lanfyllin i'r Trallwm a'r Drefnewydd, lle eu cynhelir bob yn ail hyd y dydd hwn. Ail godwyd capel Llanfyllin gan y Llywodraeth yn y flwyddyn 1717. Rhoddodd y Llywodraeth gareg goffadwriaethol ar y capel hwn, ac arni y cofnodiad a ganlyn - (continued).....................
Translation by Maureen Saycell (Dec 2009)
Although we have given Llanbrynmair priority, it is very difficult to know whether the branch of the Montgomeryshire church there or in the Llanfyllin area first formed an Independent church. It is clear however that Llanfyllin can trace its history with few gaps back to 1640, when its minister was the Venerable Vavasor Powell and continued to cast his eye over it during the hard times as far as it was possible during the next twenty years. From the accession of Charles II in 1660 and the ensuing oppressive laws, they would meet at the homes of Messrs John Griffith and Walter Griffith and other places in the town and its environs. Later they had to retreat to yet more distant, hidden areas to worship in order to escape their persecutors, some of whom were like bloodhounds in their pursuit. They used to gather, mostly at Pantmawr, a farmhouse about one and a half miles from Meifod. The old house remains looking like other comparable houses of the 17th century, it was built of wood and lattice, the wood blackened with the laths covered with lime plaster. Very little light enters through the small, narrow windows, and as if to emphasise its age there is a branching yew on its easterly side with shelter from the heat of the day from a strong sycamore. It was here that they gathered to worship from all the surrounding countryside during that time, and continued to do so for more than 200 years. About 30 people came from Llanfyllin to worship at Pantmawr at this time. The ministers were the same as those that were named with Llanbrynmair, who served all branches of the Montgomeryshire Church. Morris Williams, a cooper. John Evans, Schoolmaster, Oswestry, John Griffith, Llanfyllin, Justice of the Peace and Richard Baxter, servant of John Kynaston, were most active here and at other "illegal" services held in at other venues in the parishes of Llanfyllin and Llanfechain.
It is believed that Ambrose Mostyn worked among this branch for a time. It is told that he was at preparatory meeting at Pantmawr, where there were a number of people to be confirmed the following day and while asking them what had caused them to consider their souls, each one stated it was the ministry of Vavasor Powell, which seemed to carry a powerful effect. Having listened to this he became very depressed, afraid that the Lord had not called him to preach as he had not been given souls as a foundation for his ministry. When the congregation gathered the following morning , he was in his bed, too ill to rise. Morris Williams went to see him and soon realised he was very low in spirits, when he heard what had happened at the service the previous day, and told him so. He admitted this was so and Morris Williams told him "You should not let something like that get you down, I'm only a cooper and I have men out in the field felling wood, but they will never make suitable vessels to put on the table to be of service to families unless I shape them to the purpose, this is how Mr Powell goes out with his axe on his shoulder, your work is to shape and prepare them in the church. God needs you both for him to prepare those vessels to his glory." Mr Mostyn saw the reasoning, arose from his bed and went to preach to the people with fervour. This branch enjoyed the ministry of Messrs Hugh Owen, Henry Williams, John Owen, Reynallt Wilson, James Owen, and others during this time. In 1690 Mr James Owen, Oswestry, ventured to Llanfyllin to preach. Mr John Griffith opened his door to him. The house was on the same spot as the present Independent chapel stands in the town. It is likely this is the same John Griffith as was referred to previously as attending Pantmawr and was also a Justice of the Peace. As soon as it became known that the Independents were to hold a service in the town and that John Griffiths was allowing the use of his house, the unruly locals gathered around the house as the Sodomites had done to Lot's house in the past, demanding the preacher come out. After breaking the windows and threatening to set the house on fire, burning all occupants, Mr Griffiths came out. His kind greeting and evangelical manner quietened the persecutors to a point where they left, feeling guilty for their actions, there was no further interference with the freedom of the Independents to worship for over 20 years. One of the persecutors later admitted his folly to Mr Griffiths adding "he had no success following the raising of his hand against the scripture."
Around the time Mr James Owen visited Llanfyllin, a small chapel was built at Bwlchycibau, in the parish of Meifod, between Llanfyllin and Pantmawr, some 3 miles from Llanfyllin. It was built by Mr Owen Peniarth, a man living on his own land, it was named Peniarth Chapel, but in jest it was called "Capel Hirbryd" (Longmeal Chapel, literally). It appears this was due to the fact that the people from Llanfyllin way used to hold afternoon meetings there on the way back from Pantmawr, and as most of them did not have time for a meal in between the services, their enemies named it so. Cyffin states in the Annibynwr (Independent) 1863, p132, to whom we are grateful for many of the facts concerning the churches in Montgomeryshire - " The place where the chapel and cemetery stood on the northern side of a stand of oak called Coed y Capel (Chapel Wood) at the upper end of the grassland where it meets the wood, near an old stone quarry. This piece of grassland is known as Weirglodd y Capel (Chapel Field) by some of the eldest residents of the area, it was turned into a dwelling, but some still living remember the old house with around 2 acres of land with it, known as Capel yr Hirbryd. It was likely to have been in separate ownership to the land surrounding it. The house and field were sold to Councillor Owen, Glansevern, near Welshpool, by an old man named Thomas Owen, commonly known as Bold Owen, because of his ungodly and cruel attitude to his fellow men, so that he was a curse on the land. The chapel was acquired by him around 1762, and it is thought that this was when preaching ceased at Capel Hirbryd. Thomas Owen came to a sorry end. He became poor and unkempt, a piece of wood fell from a tree onto him and he was killed instantly. It seems likely that the field must have been left to grass because it is said that Mr Edward Owens, Peniarth was ploughing it about 1811 when many skulls and other human bones came to light, and that there were gravestones with writing on. Now there is not a stone or piece of wood remaining of the chapel or house."
From 1690 to the start of the 18th century Llanfyllin and Pantmawr were cared for by the few ministers and supporters that were here at the time. In 1703 Mr William Jervice was called to minister to them, Llanbrynmair says he came there in 1713 but there is evidence that 1703 is the correct date for his ordination. If this is right there seems to be no mention of him when the first chapel was built at Llanfyllin in 1708, where the current chapel stands.The land was donated by Mr Nehemiah Griffiths, a descendant of John Griffith. The deed given by his brother Mr Thomas Griffiths, Rhuall, Flintshire in 1738 acknowledges that a chapel had been constructed many years before at the expense of Evan Evans, Timothy Quarell, John Quarell, John Chidlaw, Peter Chidlaw, and Arthur Chidlaw. No mention of Mr Jervice, also we have Mr Rees Prothero ordained at Pantmawr and Braggington in 1702 and surrounding area, but no mention of Llanfyllin. We conclude that if this is correct then Pantmawr an Llanfyllin must have split for a time, taking all into account it seems that it was in 1713 that Mr Jervice took on Llanbrynmair and Llanfyllin and the branches.It was during the reign of Queen Anne that the Tories came into power and Dr Sackeverell began moaning that the Church was in danger, persecution was back, nonconformists were attacked and their possessions were taken and many chapels were burnt to ashes. In 1712 Llanfyllin was attacked by Mr Price, Bodfach and the Tories, it was burnt to the ground.
Without a chapel, they worshiped in a house directly opposite the church, the vicar was displeased and poured malice upon them each Sunday from his pulpit. One responsible person spoke to him about his attitude and he promised to stop after just one more Sunday. Before the day arrived he died suddenly, taken to the supreme judge.
In 1714, with the accession of George I, the Whigs returned to power. They considered that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of their religious beliefs. They consideresd it their duty to restore property to those who had been dispossessed, at the expense of the Government. The plight of Llanfyllin Chapel was seen by Sir Joseph Jekyll, a circuit Judge, active in the trial of Dr Sackeverel, and a nonconformist, while on a visit there with the County Sheriff, Mr Price, Bodfach. He told Mr Price that as a Government Official, he should never have allowed it to happen and demanded that all those involved appear before him on the following morning. No one appeared, as Mr Price and Vicar Foulkes knew that they were the main ring leaders. They sent all other perpetrators away, in fear for their lives, some never to return. The Judge realised the subterfuge and arranged for the court to be moved to Newtown and Welshpool, where they are still held on alternate weeks. The Chapel was rebuilt by the Government in 1717. A memorial stone was erected with the following inscription -
"This Protestant Chapel was rebuilt in the year of our Lord 1717. Being the 172nd year since the reformation, the 29th since the revolution, and the 4th year of the reign of King George. Uno avulso, non deficit alter."
According to Dr John Evans in 1715 there were 110 members between Llanfyllin and Pantmawr - 10 gentlemen, 1 landowner, 5 County vote holders, 9 borough voters. Mr Jervice worked until his death in 1743. Buried in Llanfyllin.
Next came Thomas Evans, short tenure due to drowning on the way to Pantmawr. Unmarked burial at Meifod. Following him came Mr Jenkin Jenkins, arrival here uncertain but was here 1751 to1759. He left for Carmarthen to teach, graduated with a D D. Mr Benjamin Radcliffe was next, here in 1762, moved to Congleton, Gloucestershire. Next Mr Benjamin Rees, moved to Leominster, Herefordsire. Then Mr James Evans for a short spell, not known where he went to. This was a dark time with all four being Arian or Arminian, they had dried up the church. The church only opened once a month when Mr Goronwy preached on his way to Pantmawr. Mrs Sale, Pantmawr had left £5.00 per year to the minister of Llanfyllin to preach monthly. Opening their door for worship was a condition for every tenant. All were agreeable except fo John Wynn, holding the place 20 years, he could not stop the services but he put every obstacle in their way . Noise from weaving, butter churning made it difficult for the preacher to continue. Preaching stopped when chapels were built in the area, in 1855, towards the end of 1855 the annual payment was sold for £80 and the money loaned to the minister of Llanfyllin.
Next 1780 Mr John Griffith - student at Carmarthen - ordained July 5th, 1780 - ministers present Mesrs R. Gentleman, Lecturer Carmarthen , S. Lucas, Shrewsbury ; Edward Williams (Dr. Williams later), Oswestry ; R. Tibbott, Llanbrynmair ; A. Tibbott, Anglesey ; T. Davies, Llanuwchllyn ; and others. He stayed for 2 years, successfully adding to the church. Striking looks and able to speak and sing well. Accepted a call to Caernarfon. The next 3 years they were cared for mainly by students, the College now based in Oswestry under Dr Edward Williams. One was to preach on a Saturday night at Pont'radyn, but there were some determined to unsettle the worshippers by throwing stones and breaking the windows. However the local Parson and an Evans were riding in that direction and when the first arrived the crowd believed he was the preacher and having disturbed the horse, the parson was thrown into the river. When they recognised his voice they fled, he caught one of them, and on finding out the cause, he took the man of Pant'rodyn to Court. The charges failed and he was set free.
1784 Mr Jenkin Lewis, student at Oswestry was called unanimously. Ordained Whitsun 1785. There were 10 members, half soon left. He realised there was not much empathy here for the scriptures. He went to speak to a couple who wanted to become members and was followed there. the crowd broke in and attacked the family and dragged out the minister by his hair, hitting and kicking him. No doubt they would have killed him if their leader had not seen sense and stopped them. He escaped with his life, but badly injured. He decided that the time had come to stop these attacks and applied to a society in London who took up their cause and brought the persecutors to justice. They were brought before the Court . The Laws were explained to the terrified people and the punishment explained. Mr Lewis felt sorry for them and asked the court not to put the judgement into force as long as they signed document stating their guilt and remorse for their deeds. This they did willingly - this is some of the content
" We the undersigned, with great regret confess in an open court our sinful acts against John Hughes and Elizabeth his wife, also the Reverend Jenkin Lewis, for the injuries they received at our hands. We also wish to thank them and the Society for the Defence of Freedom and Rights of Nonconformists for using their influence to prevent the full force of the law being used to punish us. We swear to behave peacefully and in a friendly manner towards them in future. Signed September 22nd, 1787."
Thus the people understood that nonconformists had the right to worship, with the might of the law behind them, without attacks upon them.. Mr Lewis and his friends earned respect from the townspeople and through their actions signed the death warrant of public persecution. It was during his time that the Easter Meetings were established, to coincide with a local fair. It was to one of these that Ann Thomas Dolwar came , but by some unseen hand was guided to the chapel where Mr Benjamin Jones, Pwllheli was holding a service. She was later to be Ann Griffiths, Dolwar, the famous hymn writer. Mr Jenkin Lewis died November 25th, 1805.
There was no minister for some time, then a call was sent to Mr David Roberts, a student in Wrexham, ordained Easter Tuesday, 1810. The following took part - Messrs J. Griffith, Machynlleth ; Lewis, Wrexham ; W. Hughes, Dinas ; J. Roberts, Llanbrynmair ; J. Davies, Aberhafesp ; D. Davies, Welshpool ; W. Jones, Trawsfynydd ; D. Morgan, Talybont ; C. Jones, Llanuwchllyn ; J. Davies, London ; and others. He was here 5 years then moved to Bangor in 1815, later to Denbigh.
In 1815 a call was sent to Dr George Lewis, the College he headed moved with him from Wrexham to Llanfyllin. They remained there for 6 years then the College and Dr Lewis moved to Newtown, where he took charge of the chapel.
Next to be called was Rev W Morris, student at Llanfyllin, lately Newtown. Ordained January 2nd, 1822, the following took part Messrs Mr. J. Watkins, Llanfair ; H. Williams, Llanelli, W. Hughes, Dinas, J. Davies, Llanfair, M. Jones, Llanuwchllyn, W. Hughes, Dinas; D. Morgans, Machynlleth, J. Roberts, Llanbrynmair, E. Davies, Cytiau ; M. Ellis (fellow student). Mr Morris remained a popular minister here for 17 years, the demolition of the old chapel was started April 13th, 1829 and the new one opened October 13 and 14th of the same year. Sermons were given by Messrs M. Jones, Farteg, J. Williams, Dinas, E. Davies, Newtown, S. Roberts, Llanbrynmair, T. W. Jenkins, Oswestry (in English), W. Williams, Wern, H. Morgan, Samah ; T. Jones, Llangollen; and I. Pergrine, Domgay. In 1830, Soar, a small chapel in the parish of Meifod, was built. It remains with Llanfyllin, a Sunday School and preaching are held there regularly. Mr Morris accepted a call from Glandwr, near Swansea, and moved there in the summer of 1839.
Mr David Morgan, then Manchester, accepted a call in the first Autumn after Mr Morris' departure.His ministry began November 1839. Around this time a small chapel named Siloh was acquired for the use of the church, like Soar regular worship is held but no church has been embodied in either. Mr Morgan worked hard but due to failing health he and the church agreed in 1855 to call Mr Price Howell, who had been ordained 2 years previously in Amana, Caernarfonshire, to co-minister with him. This continued for about 2 years when Mr Howell moved to take care of the church in Pwllheli. Soon after Mr Morgan felt he could not continue and gave up his ministry in October, 1857, although he lived for a further 8 months.
Following a year without a minister a call was sent to Mr David Milton Davies, minister at Wern and Penycae, Cardiganshire. His ministry began the first Sunday of December 1858. He worked hard here until his death on June 7th, 1869. Since then there has not been a minister here.
The nonconformist Church at Pendref has never been numerous only, some 150 to 170, but there have been many good and responsible people associated with it. It is through the efforts here that the causes at Penybontfawr, Llanrhaiadr, Llansantffraid, Main, Penllys, as well as other places, were established. The areas nearby were not captured by them and have been taken by others.
Only names are extracted for the next section - Three deacons Mr Griffith Evans, Mr J. Jones, Tanner, son in law and Mr Robert Evans, dying age 30. Mrs Roberts, Wrexham, bequeathed £2/10/- annually.#
Robert Chidlaw, Edward Pryce, Elijah Morris, William Dodd, Evan Hughes y Gof, . John Daniel, John Owen, o'r Cwm, John Richards, Patent Maker, Griffith Evans and Robert Evans, his son, Richard Tibbott son of Richard Tibbott, minister of Llanbrynmair.
Some of the worthy women - Mrs M. A. Tibbott, first wife of Mr Richard Tibbott, Mrs Foulkes, Tanner, and her sisters the Misses Price, Mrs Jenkin Lewis, Betty Daniel, Betty Pritchard, Eva Judith, Betty Jones, Mrs Tibbott (second wife of Mr R. Tibbott), Gwen Evans, Mrs Jones, Tanhouse, and others unnamed.
The following were raised to preach here, others we have no record for -
- ROBERT OWEN - Ordained Llanengan, Caernarfonshire - moved to Cwmbychan, Glamorgan - left the ministry - buried over 20 years ago.
- ROBERT JONES - and CHARLES JONES - brothers and supporting preachers - comfortable lifestyles, giving their services free - Robert Jones died long before Charles Jones who moved to Llangynog for the last years of his life. Mr David Jones, Llansantffraid, another brother and their sister was the first Mrs Tibbott.
- JOHN MORRIS - ordained at Main.
- THOMAS RICHARDS - moved to Penybontfawr.
- EDWARD EVANS - son of Mr Griffith Evans, deacon - Student at Llanfyllin, moved to Newtown with the College, confirmed there - moved to study at Wem, under Mr Edwards, Oswestry, under Dr. T. W. Jenkins, then Homerton and Glasgow - returned to Llanfyllin and remains in business with his family.
- ELLIS HUGHES - from Dinas Mawddwy, son of the respected minister W. Hughes - began to preach here in 1829 or 1830 - went to study at Neuaddlwyd and Newtown - ordained Treffynon - now at Penmain.
- JEREMIAH JONES - ordained in Abergele, died young.
- OWEN EVANS - minister in Llanbrynmair.
- DAVID EVANS - Brother of Owen Evans - educated Bala - ordained Rhosymedre, now in Barmouth.
- THOMAS EVANS - another brother - educated Bala - ordained Bettwsycoed, where he is now.
- CADWALADR R JONES - son of the Venerable C. Jones, Dolgellau - began preaching same time as Thomas Evans - remains in Llanfyllin serving as Deacon and preacher.
- WILLIAM JONES - began preaching the same time as the above - went to America.
Not fully extracted
AMBROSE MOSTYN - served here in the early days - see Wrexham.
JOHN EVANS - See Wrexham.
*JAMES OWEN - Born, Bryn, Abernant, near Carmarthen November 1st, 1654. ........................................
271 / 272 / 273 /274
*WILLIAM JERVICE - No further information. . .......................
THOMAS EVANS - All information already given.
*JENKIN JENKINS, D.D - educated Llwynllwyd College. .....................
*JENKIN LEWIS - Born near Neath 1749. ..................
DAVID ROBERTS - See Denbigh.
DR. GEORGE LEWIS - See Newtown.
WILLIAM MORRIS - ordained and buried at Llanfyllin - see Bryngwran, Anglesey, where he ended is career.
*DAVID MORGAN - born December 27th, 1779, Dolwen, Llanfihangel-Creuddyn ;.......................................................
277 - 284
*DAVID MILTON DAVIES - born Henfeddau Farm, near Lampeter, Cardiganshire November 23rd, 1827. .........................................
285 - 286
#Llyfr Eglwys Llanfyllin. Written by Mr. D Morgan.
* Not fully extracted
**Only a shortened version of these biographical and professional notes have been translated.
(Gareth Hicks - 13 Dec 2009)