Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Brynawel Chapel, Ystradgynlais

Brynawel Chapel was a Welsh Congregational Chapel, constructed on Brecon Road in 1911. It was sold to Bethany Chapel in 1946.

Brynawel would thus appear to have been the first chapel in the town to close, being a separate legal entity from Bethany, who had their own history, in different locations, going back to 1902.

The location of the chapel is now occupied by a large private house, opposite Derwen Road.

The South Wales Voice's 3rd December 1932 edition, focused on the centenary of Sardis Chapel, Ystradgynlais includes the information that Brynawel, as well as Peniel, Penrhos and the English Congregational Church, Ystrdgynlais, was a daughter church of Sardis:-

The church is the mother of 3 churches; Peniel, English Congregational, and Brynawel, and in 1905 when these were formed, 250 members left Sardis.

Ministers of Brynawel Chapel

Ellis Parry

In 1915, the Rev Ellis Parry, who had been minister of Godrergraig Chapel since 1913, also took on the ministry of Brynawel Chapel, Ystradgynlais, in a joint pastorate. From the Llais, 6th February 1915:-

The Rev Ellis Parry pastor of the Godre'rgraig Congregational Church has accepted the joint pastorate of Brynawel Ystradgynlais but this will not materially interfere with his work at Godre'rgraig, which will be carried on as before. The local church has made great progress under his care, there having been an almost constant monthly increase in membership. YSTRADGYNLAIS The Brynawel Church has extended a unanimous invitation to the Rev Ellis Parry of Godre'rgraig to become joint minister of the Godre'rgraig and Brynawel Ystradgynlais Churches. We are informed that Mr Parry has accepted the call. The induction services will take place next month when local ministers will officiate.

Rev Ellis Parry left Godrergraig Chapel some time in 1918 to work for the YMCA, and it might be presumed he also left Brynawel Chapel at the same time.

D M Davies

The Llais newspaper for 31st July 1921, reports on the death of "Dafydd Enoch Jones, a deacon at Sardis and Brynawel chapels for over 30 years and had also been a Sunday School teacher for 40 years." and that a memorial service for him was held at Brynawel Chapel, conducted by his pastor there, Rev D. M. Davies. The full article can be read on the People of Sardis Chapel page.

Singing and Recitals

The Llais newspaper for 9th May 1914 reported on a Singing Festival at Sardis Chapel, which included a large choir including singers from Sardis, Brynawel, and "the Penrhos Churches" which would be Peniel, and Moriah. Organ play and recitals were also shared between members of all of the churches, and we can see some extracts below:-

The organists were: Morning service, Mr Nimrod Jones. A.C., Peniel; Afternoon, Mr Azariah Williams, Brynawel and evening, Mr Idris Williams, A.C.P.T., Sardis

The recitals of passages of scripture were given by Charlotte Mathias, Elizabeth Williams, Brynawel, and Nancy Davies, respectively.

Professor Dan Price, A.R.C.M., London, conducted a combined chair of over 300 voices drawn from the Sardis, Brynawel and Penrhos Chapels.

From this, we can see that Mr Azariah Williams is named as the, or at least an, organist of Brynawel Chapel in 1914.

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