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Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru

(History of the Welsh Independent Churches)

By Thomas Rees and John Thomas; published in 1871+.

This chapel history wasextracted by Gareth Hicks from the CD published by Archive CD Books (Feb 2008)

Proof reading and translation by Eleri Rowlands (March 2008)


Penygroes

(Vol 3, p 69-71)

69

"Dechreuwyd pregethu gan yr Annibynwyr yn yr ardal yma mewn lle a elwir Cilcam, yn mhlwyf Eglwyswen. Yr oedd David Evans, Dyffrynmawr, yn aelod o'r eglwys yn Llechryd, ac yn pregethu yn achlysurol, a'i wraig yn aelod gyda'r Methodistiaid Calfinaidd yn Capel-newydd; ond ni wnaed cynyg ar sefydlu achos yn y lle hyd y flwyddyn 1765, pryd yr ymgymerodd Mr. J. Griffiths, Glandwr, a nifer o'r aelodau â hyny. Buwyd dros rai blynyddoedd yn addoli yn Cilcam cyn adeiladu y capel, ac nis gwyddom pa flwyddyn y gwnaed hyny, na phwy oedd y personau mwyaf blaenllaw gyda'r gorchwyl. Mewn ysgrif o eiddo Mr. J. Evans, Hebron, yr hon sydd yn awr ger ein bron, dywedir, nad oedd nifer yr aelodau yma ond ychydig ar y dechreu, a thros rai blynyddoedd ni weinyddid yr ordinhad o swper yr Arglwydd iddynt ond unwaith bob tri mis, ac y disgwylid hwy i fod y ddau gymundeb arall yn Nglandwr. Bu y gofal yn hollol ar Mr. Griffiths, Glandwr, hyd y flwyddyn 1798, pryd yr urddwyd Mr. William Evan yn gynorthwywr iddo, a glynodd yr eglwys hon wrth Mr. William Evan pan yr aeth yn ymraniad yn Nglandwr, ac efe fu ei hunig weinidog hyd y flwyddyn 1818, pryd y rhoddwyd galwad i Mr. John Evans, aelod o'r eglwys, ond a fuasai yn fyfyriwr yn athrofa Caerfyrddin, i fod yn weinidog yma. Urddwyd Mr. Evans, Gorphenaf 23ain, 1818, ac ar yr achlysur gweinyddwyd gan Meistri J. Meyler, Rhosycaerau, D. Davies, Pantteg; D. Peter, Caerfyrddin; M. Jones, Trelech; a W. Evan yr hen weinidog. Yn mhen tri mis wedi urddo Mr. Evans, bu farw Mr. W. Evan, ac felly daeth gofal Hebron arno hefyd. Ymroddodd Mr. Evans yn egniol i gyflawni ei weinidogaeth, ond aeth rhai blynyddau heibio cyn y gwelodd nemawr o lwyddiant. Rhoddwn y dyfyniad canlynol o'i gofiant, yr hwn y mae yn sicr genym a ddarllenir gyda dyddordeb :-

"Wedi i mi lafurio am amryw flynyddau yn Mhenygroes, nid oeddwn yn gweled fawr o arwyddion llwyddiant. Yr oedd y gynnulleidfa yn lluosog iawn o ddynion ieuaingc. Meddyliais y gallaswn wneyd daioni trwy wneyd pregeth bwrpasol iddynt. Cyfansoddais y bregeth oreu y medrwn. Cyfodais yn foreu iawn y Sabboth canlynol i barotoi ar gyfer gwaith y dydd, ac yr oeddwn yn meddwl fod genyf bregeth dda iawn, a fy mod inau mewn yspryd priodol iawn i'w thraddodi, ac y gwnaethwn waith mawr y dydd hwnw. Pan ddaeth amser yr addoliad, aethum yn llawen tua'r addoldy. Dechreuais yn y drefn arferol; ond wedi profi afrwyddineb mawr mewn gweddi, dywedais ynof fy hun, "Os oedd y weddi yn afrwydd y mae genyf bregeth dda." Yna cymerais fy nhestyn, dechreuais bregethu, ond yn hynod o afrwydd, caled, a sych, ac yn dra anfoddhaol i mi fy hun. Cefais y cyfarfod mwyaf caled a gefais braidd erioed; ac wrth fyned, ac wedi myned adref, yr oeddwn mewn gofid parhaus oblegyd y fath gyfarfod. Yr oeddwn yn ystyried fod cyfleustra i wneyd daioni wedi ei golli, ac mai peth ofer fyddai i mi gynyg gwneyd pregeth i'r ieuengctyd drachefn. Yr wythnos ganlynol yr oeddwn yn teimlo yn anesmwyth iawn. Y nos Wener ganlynol aethym i'r gyfeillach yn isel iawn fy meddwl. Daeth dau yn mlaen yn y gyfeillach hono. Gofynais iddynt pa faint o amser oedd er pan yr oeddynt wedi meddwl am grefydd. Attebasant "Eu bod wedi meddwl dyfod at grefydd er's tro, ond mai pregeth y Sabboth diweddaf a ddarfu eu dwyn i benderfyniad yn awr." Yr oeddwn wedi synu, ac yn methu a dweyd yr un gair gan fy mod wedi cael y fath siomedigaeth, oherwydd fy mod yn credu fod llafur y Sabboth hwnw wedi myned yn gwbl ofer. Ond mewn canlyniad i'r cyfarfod hwnw derbyniwyd lluaws yn Mhenygroes am amryw flynyddau, ac ar eu derbyniad tystient mai y bregeth hono oedd wedi effeithio arnynt."

Y fath engraifft eglur nad yw llafur gonest a chydwybodol yn myned

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heibio yn ofer. Erbyn y flwyddyn 1828 yr oedd yr achos wedi myned rhagddo fel y bu raid ailadeiladu a helaethu y capel. Symudodd Mr. Evans i ardal Hebron i fyw, yr hyn a fu yn radd o golled i'r achos ond parhaodd i gyrchu yma yn rheolaidd i gyflawni ei weinidogaeth hyd ddiwedd y flwyddyn 1843 pan y rhoddodd ofal yr eglwys i fyny, ac y dewiswyd ei fab Mr. Simon Evans, yr hwn a fuasai yn efrydydd yn athrofa Caerfyrddin, i fod yn olynydd iddo. Urddwyd Mr. S. Evans, Ionawr, 24ain, 1844. Ar yr achlysur pregethwyd ar natur eglwys gan Mr. J. Griffiths, Tyddewi; holwyd y gofyniadau arferol gan Mr. H. Davies, Narberth; dyrchafwyd yr urdd-weddi gan Mr. J. Evans, Hebron, tad yr urddedig; pregethwyd ar ddyledswydd y gweinidog gan Mr. D. Davies, Pantteg, ac ar ddyledswydd yr eglwys gan Mr. Joseph Evans, Capel Sion. Parhaodd Mr. Evans i ofalu yn ffyddlon am yr eglwys am ddeuddeng mlynedd, hyd nes ar ol marwolaeth ei dad y symudodd i gymeryd gofal yr eglwysi yn Hebron a Nebo. Yn y flwyddyn 1854, cododd yr eglwys dy i'w gweinidog, ar dir Mr. Caleb Evans, Tygwyn, yr hyn sydd yn ychwanegiad gwerthfawr at gyfleusterau gweinidog mewn lle fel hyn. Cyn diwedd y flwyddyn 1856 rhoddwyd galwad i Mr. David Jones, myfyriwr o athrofa Caerfyrddin, ac urddwyd ef Chwefror 4ydd, 1857. Ar yr achlysur pregethwyd ar natur eglwys gan Mr. D. Davies, Pantteg; holwyd y gofyniadau gan Mr. J. Davies, Glandwr; dyrchafwyd yr urdd-weddi gan Mr. S. Evans, Hebron; pregethwyd i'r gweinidog gan Mr. S. Griffiths, Horeb; ac i'r eglwys gan Mr. H Jones, Caerfyrddin. Bu Mr. Jones yma hyd Hydref 3ydd, 1868, pryd y darfu ei gysylltiad â'r weinidogaeth yma. Yn Hydref 1869 cydnabyddwyd Mr. John R. Williams, yr hwn a urddasid yn Bettwsgwerfilgoch, yn weinidog yr eglwys yma, a bu yma hyd Chwefror,1872, ac y mae yr eglwys er hyny heb sefydlu ar weinidog. Cyfodwyd y personau canlynol i bregethu yn yr eglwys hon :-

  • Simon Evans, Dyffrynmawr. Mab ydoedd ef i David Evans, Dyffrynmawr, aelod o'r eglwys yn Llechryd. Ymunodd a'r eglwys yn Glandwr pan oedd tuag ugain oed, ac yn mhen tua chwe blynedd cymhellwyd ef gan yr eglwys a'r gweinidog i bregethu, a pharhaodd i bregethu yn mha le bynag y byddai galw amdano hyd derfyn ei oes. Ni bu erioed yn teithio y wlad, ond yr oedd bob amser yn barod os gwelai fod bwlch ac eisieu ei lanw. Yr oedd yn ddyn o deimladau brwd a chyffrous, yr hyn a barai iddo ddweyd weithiau yn llymach nag y dymunasai; ond yr oedd yn ddidwyll a dihoced, ac yn nodedig o awyddus am sicrhau heddwch ac unoliaeth yr eglwys. O ran ei olygiadau duwinyddol, yr oedd yn Galfiniad cryf, a theimlai eiddigedd mawr dros anrhydedd penarglwyddiaethol ras. Ni chafodd ond cystudd byr, ond yr oedd hwnw yn chwerw; etto dyoddefodd ef yn amyneddgar, a bu farw mewn tawelwch, Awst 31ain, 1839, yn 74ain oed.
  • Thomas Picton. Symudodd i'r America, lle y treuliodd oes hir, ond nid oes genym ychwaneg o'i hanes.
  • John Evans. Urddwyd ef, fel y gwelsom, yn weinidog yr eglwys hon. Daw ei hanes yn nglyn â Hebron.
  • Caleb Morris. Addysgwyd ef yn athrofa Caerfyrddin. Urddwyd ef yn Narberth, ac oddiyno symudodd i Lundain, lle y cyrhaeddodd enwogrwydd mawr. Daw ei hanes ef ynglyn â Narberth, yr unig le yn Nghymru lle y bu yn gweinidogaethu.
  • William Thomas. Urddwyd ef yn Clydach, a gwelir crybwylliad am dano yn nglyn â Chapel Seion, Glais.

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  • Stephen Davies. Bu dan addysg yn y Drefnewydd. Urddwyd ef yn Ruabon. Symudodd oddiyno i'r Rhyl, ac ymadawodd at yBedyddwyr.
  • Caleb Evans, Tygwyn. Bu yn bregethwr cynorthwyol cymeradwy yn yr eglwys am flynyddau lawer ; ac yr oedd yn golofn gref o dan yr achos yn Mhenygroes. Bu farw yn 1856.
  • Lefi Evans. Yr oedd ef yn frawd i Mr. Caleb Evans, Tygwyn. Meibion oeddynt i Benjamin a Margaret Evans, Treficert, yn mhlwyf Nefern. Treuliodd Lefi Evans tua thair blynedd yn y Neuaddlwyd. Aeth oddiyno i athrofa Rotherham, lle yr arosodd tua deuddeng mis, ac y terfynodd ei yrfa ddaearol, Tachwedd 14 eg, 1833, yn 25ain oed. Enillai barch pawb a'i hadwaenai. Yr oedd yn meddu corph lluniaidd cadarn, cyneddfau cryfion, deall treiddgar, serchiadau gwresog, doniau hyawdl, a ffyddlondeb diysgog yn ngwaith yr Arglwydd. Nid oedd ei gystudd ond o fyr barhad, ond yr oedd yn boenus a chwerw. Achosodd ei farwolaeth annisgwyliadwy, mor bell o'i wlad, deimladau cyffrous yn mysg ei berthynasau a'i gydnabod. Pregethodd Mr. J. Evans bregeth angladdol iddo yn Mhenygroes, yr hon a gyhoeddwyd yn y Dysgedydd am Mawrth, 1834, gyda'r byr grybwyllion uchod am dano.
  • John James. Mab Blaenywaun ydoedd. Yr oedd yn athrofa Caerfyrddin yn parotoi ar gyfer y weinidogaeth, ond bu farw yn mlodeu ei ddyddiau. Buasai yn dda genym pe buasai ein cofnodion am dano yn helaethach.
  • Caleb Guion. Addysgwyd ef yn athrofa Aberhonddu, ac urddwyd ef yn y Plough yn y dref hono. Mae yn awr yn Milford.
  • Thomas Williams. Yr oedd yn ysgolfeistr yma yn y flwyddyn 1844. Mae yn awr yn Aberdar.
  • John Davies. Dygwyd ef i fyny yn athrofa Caerfyrddin. Urddwyd ef yn Pontygof, ac y mae yn awr yn Zoar, Aberdar.
  • Simon Evans. Mae yn awr yn bregethwr cynorthwyol yn Llechryd. Mae rhai Undodiaid yn ardal Penygroes, ac y maent yn arfer gwrando yma; ond nid ydynt yn cynyg gwthio eu golygiadau ar ereill, ac nid ydynt wedi gwneyd un cynyg i gychwyn achos Undodaidd yn yr ardal."

Translation by Eleri Rowlands (March 2008)

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"The Independents started preaching in this area in a place called Cilcam, in the parish of Eglwyswen. David Evans, Dyffrynmawr, was a member of the church in Llechryd, and preached occasionally. His wife was a member of the Calvinist Methodists in Capel-newydd; but no approach was made to establish a cause in this place until the year 1765, when Mr J. Griffiths, Glandwr, undertook to start one along with several other people. Before building the chapel, worship took place in Cilcam. We do not know when exactly that happened, nor who were the most prominent persons to do so. In an essay in the possession of Mr J. Evans, Hebron, which is now in front of us, it says, that the number of members was few at the beginning, and over some years the ordinance of the Lord's supper was served once every three months only, and they were expected to be in Glandwr for the other two. Mr Griffiths, Glandwr, had the complete responsibility for the care, until the year 1798, when Mr William Evan was ordained as an assistant to him, and this chapel held on to Mr William Evan when the split came about in Glandwr, and he was their only minister until the year 1818, when a call was given to Mr John Evans, a member of the church, but who was to be a student in Carmarthen college, to be a minister here. Mr Evans was ordained on July 23rd, 1818, and on this occasion Mr J. Meyler, Rhosycaerau, Mr D. Davies, Pantteg; Mr D. Peter, Carmarthen; Mr M. Jones, Trelech; and Mr W. Evan the former minister preached. Three months after the ordination of Mr Evans, Mr W. Evan died, and so the care of Hebron was put on his shoulders too. Mr Evans devoted himself energetically to fulfill his ministry, but some years went by before he saw much success. We offer this quotation from his biography, which I'm sure will be read with interest:-

"After I had laboured for some years in Penygroes, I had not seen many signs of success. The congregations were very full of young men. I thought I could do some good by preaching a purposeful sermon to them. I wrote the sermon as well as I could. I got up very early on the following Sunday to prepare for the work of the day, and thought that I had a really good sermon, and that I was in appropriate spirit to preach it, and that I would do some great work that day. When the time came for the worship, I went joyfully towards the place of worship. I started in the usual way; but when I experienced a difficulty with the prayer, I told myself "If I had a difficulty with the prayer, I do have a good sermon."Then I took my text, and started preaching, but with great difficulty, it was dry and very dissatifying for me. I had the most difficult meeting that I had ever had; and as I left and went home I was in a constant state of worry because of the meeting. I felt as if I had lost the opportunity to do some good, and that it was useless for me to preach directly to the young people again. The following week I felt very uncomfortable. The next Friday evening I went to the fellowship feeling very low. Two came forward in that meeting. I asked them how long it had been since they had thought of religion. They answered "That they had been thinking of coming to religion for a while, but that it was the sermon last Sunday that helped them to come to a decision."I was surprised, and was unable to utter a word as I had had such a shock, as I thought the sermon that night had been completely useless. But as a result of that meeting very many in Penygroes were accepted as members for many years, and on the occasion of their acceptance they testified that it was that sermon that had affected them."

It was such a clear example that honest, conscientious labour is

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never wasteful. By the year 1828 the cause had increased so much that we had to build and extend the chapel. Mr Evans moved to the Hebron area to live, which was a terrible loss to the cause but he continued to strive here regularly to fulfill his ministry until the end of 1843 when he gave up the care of the chapel and his son Mr Simon Evans, who was a student in Carmarthen college was chosen as his successor. Mr S. Evans was ordained on January 24th, 1844. On that occasion Mr J. Griffiths, St David's, preached on the nature of the church; Mr H. Davies, Narberth asked the usual questions; Mr J. Evans, Hebron, the father of the ordained prayed the main prayer; Mr D. Davies, Pantteg, preached about the responsibilities of the minister, and Mr Joseph Evans, Capel Sion, preached on the responsibiliteies of the church. Mr Evans continued to faithfully care for the chapel for twelve years, until after the death of his father he moved to take the care of Hebron and Nebo. In the year 1854, the chapel built a house for the minister on land owned by Mr Caleb Evans, Tygwyn, which is a valuable addition to the convenience of the minister in a place like this. Before the end of the year 1856 a call was sent to Mr David Jones, a student from Carmarthen college, and he was ordained on Febrary 4th, 1857. On that occasion Mr D. Davies, Pantteg, preached on the nature of the church; Mr J. Davies, Glandwr asked the usual questons; Mr S. Evans, Hebron, prayed the main prayer; Mr S. Griffiths, Horeb preached to the minister; and Mr H. Jones, Carmarthen to the chapel. Mr Jones was here until October 3rd, 1868, when he finished the connection with this ministry. In October 1869 Mr John R. Williams, who was ordained in Bettwsgwerfylgoch, was recognised as minister of this church, and he was here until February, 1872, and since then the chapel has not inducted a minister. The following persons were raised to preach in this chapel:-

  • Simon Evans, Dyffrynmawr. He was the son of David Evans, Dyffrynmawr, a member of the chapel in Llechryd. He joined the chapel in Glandwr when he was twenty years old, and within about six years he was encouraged by the church and the minister to preach, and he continued to preach wherever he was needed till the end of his life. He never travelled across the country, but he was always ready if he saw a gap which needed filling. He was a man of enthusiastic and excited feelings, which sometimes made him appear more strict than he wanted to appear; but he was sincere and without trickery, and notably keen to secure peace and unity in the church. As far as his theological views were concerned, he was a strong Calvinist, and he felt great jealousy over the priviledge of the sovereignty of grace. He had a short final illness, but it was bitter; but he suffered patiently, and died in silence, on August 31st, 1839, at 74 years old.
  • Thomas Picton. He moved to America, where he spent a long life, but we have no more of his history.
  • John Evans. He was ordained, as we saw, as minister of this church. His story will appear under Hebron.
  • Caleb Morris. He was educated in Carmarthen college. He was ordained in Narberth, and from there he moved to London, where he reached great renown. His story will appear in connection with Narberth, the only place in Wales for him to minister.
  • William Thomas. He was ordained in Clydach, and we see a mention of him in connection with Seion Chapel, Glais.

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  • Stephen Davies. He was educated in Newtown. He was ordained in Ruabon. He moved from there to Rhyl, and left for the Baptists.
  • Caleb Evans, Tygwyn. He was a commendable lay preacher in the church for many years; and he was a strong pillar under the cause in Penygroes. He died in 1856.
  • Lefi Evans. He was a brother to Mr Caleb Evans, Tygwyn. They were the sons of Benjamin and Margaret Evans, Treficert, in the parish of Nefern. Lefi Evans spent about three years in Neuaddlwyd. He went from there to college in Rotherham, where he stayed for about twelve months, and he ended his earthly career on November 14th, 1833, at 25 years old. He earned the respect of everyone who knew him. He had a strong shapely body, sturdy attributes, piercing intelligence, warm affections, eloquent gifts, and a steadfast faithfulness in the work of the Lord. His last affliction was short, but it was bitter and painful. His unexpected death, so far from his country, caused feelings of agitation amonst his relatives and those who knew him. Mr J. Evans preached the funeral sermon to him in Penygroes, which was published in Y Dysgedydd in March, 1834, with this short mention of him.
  • John James. He was the son of Blaenywaun. He was in Carmarthen college preparing for the ministry, but he died in the flower of his youth. We would prefer it if our notes about him were more extensive.
  • Caleb Guion. He was educated in Brecon college, and he was ordained in the Plough in that town. He is now in Milford.
  • Thomas Williams. He was a schoolmaster here in the year 1844. He is now in Aberdare.
  • John Davies. He was educated in Carmarthen college. He was ordained in Pontygof, and he is now in Zoar, Aberdare.
  • Simon Evans. He is now a lay preacher in Llechryd. There are some Unitarians in the area of Penygroes, and they do come to listen here; but they do not offer to push forward their views on others, and they have not made one attempt to start a Unitarian cause in the area.

 


[Gareth Hicks: 6 March 2008]