Hanes Eglwys Cwmllynfell


By The Reverends J Dyfnallt Owen M.A , J D Jones and Ben Davies, 1935

Here are some extracts by Gareth Hicks, 2000 --- some translated by me

The Rev William Evans, Cwmllynfell

...................... was the second "child of the church" to become the minister at Eglwys Cwmllynfell in the parish of Llangiwg. He died in 1770 and was buried in Llangiwg churchyard.

In his will it is interesting to see  patronymics apparently at work in that he refers to himself as William Evan and his wife Angharad as Yngarad Evan but his sons are named Daniell William, Samuel Williams, Ezeciell William and Evan William. Did the sons adopt the surname William[s] I wonder.

The inventory of his estate  [ with original spelling] is as follows [ £.s.d];

  • His Books 2.10.0
  • His horse and sadle 3.03.0
  • His wearing aparel 1.10.0
  • Ten Cows 15.00.0
  • Two Oxen two bulock 6.00.0
  • Twelve Catles three years ould 9.00.0
  • Three Catles one year ould 1.01.0
  • Fouer ould hors and two small fillis 4.00.0
  • Scatered Ships forty ther about 3.10.0
  • Poultris 0.02.0
  • Corn 2.00.0
  • Houshold stuf 3.00.0
  • Implements of husbandry 0.10.0
  • Total value £63.06.0.

PS. I think the "scatered ships "are actually sheep!

Eglwys Cwmllynfell --- early records

Some of the names and abodes of members admitted to Church Communion at Eglwys Cwmllynfell by the the Rev William Evans are shown below[ the only ones in the book].

Note how spread out the places they lived in are, still apparently within a five mile range of Cwmllynfell though.

It is also interesting to see the book's authors [ministers themselves] saying , in 1939, how unfortunate it was that the majority of Welsh nonconformist chapels sent their registers into Somerset House as instructed in 1837. They comment that everything in London relating to Wales should be at the National Library.

The names come from such a register then held at Somerset House titled "The Church Book belonging to Cwmllynfell, 1760".

  • Jenkins, John[wife of], Gegyrwen, 1767, 25
  • Thomas, Morgan, Gelliwarog, 1767, 25
  • David, Catherine, Betting Isa, 1767, 25
  • Gibbs, William, Y Dderi, 1767, 25
  • Lewis, John, Sarn y faen, 1767, 25
  • Richards, Jonathan, Alltygrug, 1767, 25
  • Thomas, Griffith, Cwmgors, 1767, 25
  • Nathanial, Thomas, Betws, 1767, 25
  • Evans, Rees, Rhydyfro, 1768, 25
  • Watkin, Catherine, Gellifywi, 1768, 25
  • Williams, Morgan, Gilfach yr-Haidd, 1768, 25
  • Williams, Samuel, Pistyll Gwyn, 1768, 25
  • Edwards, Jane, Glyntawe, 1768, 25
  • Hopkin, Evan, Alltygrug, 1768, 25
  • Morgan, Elizabeth dau of William, Ystrad,1768, 25

Ignore the 25 figure which is the page in the book, Hanes Eglwys Cwmllynfell.

Lodgings for visiting preachers in Cwmllynfell

From the chapel's records;

The congregation of Cwmllynfell commenced keeping the strangers preaching at that place alternatively every month in April, 1828.

  • April ; Hopkin Jones, Betting, kept them.
  • May; David Isaac, Dderi, did the same
  • June ; Evan Jones, Hendreforgan
  • July ; David Harries, Tynewydd.

The authors comment " Imagine a wet morning in April, and the preacher having to come from Betting to the service". And " What difficulties must the pilgrim have had looking for his lodgings on a Saturday night".

[Betting farm being fairly isolated on top of Gwrhyd mountain]

The Rev John Davies, Cwmllynfell

An account of the expenses incurred in erecting a tombstone to the memory of the late Rev. John Davies, Minister of the Gospel at Cwmllynfell, Alltwen, and Cwmamman, who died 4th day of December, 1821, and was buried at Llanguike.

To Dd Thomas, Sculpr., for Block Marble Tombstone and Inscription...£4.10.0

To the Mason for erecting the Stack etc......£1.5.0

To Gates paid for carrying stone from Llandeilo to Llanguike........£0.2.0

Total £5.17.0

The above expenses were paid as follows;

Collection at Cwmllynfell.....£1.9.3

......do........at Cwmamman.......£1.9.3

......do.......at Alltwen and Cwmbach.......£2.18.6

Total £5.17.0

The Rev John Rowlands, Cwmllynfell

Born in 1798  near Ystrad in Dyffryn Aeron, Cardiganshire, he came to Eglwys Cwmllynfell in 1822,  he cared for the chapel in Cwmamman as well. It was said he was related on his father's side to the Rowlands, Llangeitho family.

He was here for 12 successful years but he tragically dropped down dead in 1834 , at the young age of 42.

He was the first person to be buried in the new burial ground at Cwmllynfell.

Together with several tributes in Welsh, the headstone says in English;

"A man of great talents, piety, virtue and usefulness, and is deeply lamented by all who knew him"

A dry funeral in Cwmllynfell

A young man called John Williams was killed in an explosion at Cwmllynfell Colliery on 7th May 1838, he was the son of Dafydd Williams, a long serving deacon of the chapel.

The Rev Rhys Pryse hadn't been at Cwmllynfell chapel very long, he went to the parents' house to make arrangements for the funeral, and he said to Dafydd Williams;

"Dafydd, I have a request to make of you over the burial of your son, John."

" What is it Mr Pryse, I will do it if it is possible"

"I would like the burial to be without intoxicating drink"

"Very well, I will do that, Mr Pryse"

Straight away, one of the old natives came to ask Dafydd where the beer was.

"There is no beer allowed" said Dafydd, " I have just promised Mr Pryse that no beer is allowed."

"Well " said the old timer " no beer---I have not heard of such a thing before---bury him like you would bury a dog  !"

That was the idea, according to Mr Pryse , the other homes  soon came to follow suit .

[Freely translated by Gareth Hicks]

The Independents in Cwmllynfell

For two hundred years the Independents were the only religious body in the area.

It is said that one of the old ministers went one day to the top of the Bryn with another minister who was spying out the land, and when the success of the Independent cause  in the district was mentioned, he raised his hand and addressed the four corners of the heavens, saying, " I am monarch of all I survey". That's the story, true or not.

It seems no one alive  now even remembers a funeral wending its way to the parish church graveyard at Llangiwc. From the corners of the Gwhryd and Cwmegel to the moors and foothills of the Mynydd Ddu, the people were Independents.

[Last Updated : 30 Sept 2002 - Gareth Hicks]