Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

The Graveyard of Saint Cynog's Church

Saint Cynog's Church is surrounded by a large graveyard, still in use today. In front of the church, it stretches out until it meets the carpark by the main road (Heol Eglwys), whilst behind the church its expanse runs up against what used to be Ynyscedwyn School, until it closed in December 2012. A gate in the rear section gives access to the church hall, whose vehicular access is on Pantyffynon Road along the near side of the river, just by Gorsedd Park.

Ystradgynlais Heritage Society erected a noticeboard with historical information about the town and district. This is positioned in the car park, just to the left of the gatehouse, and was unveiled in a special ceremony attended by the Mayor and local schools.

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The graveyard to the left of the path, after coming through the gatehouse. Beyond the boundary on the left lies Maes-y-Cynog, and in the background you can see the Drim (the hill).

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A view of a couple of the obelisk-style memorials standing tall in the graveyard.

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In September 1936 a plot of land was consecrated at the rear of the church to serve as an additional burial ground. It was recorded in the South Wales Voice of Saturday 19th September 1936:-


An interesting ceremony was held at Ystradgynlais on Thursday when the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, the Right Rev John Morgan MA, consecrated a plot of land at the rear of the Parish Church for use as an additional burial ground.

The acquisition of the land through the instrumentality of the rector of Ystradgynlais, the Rev D Lewis Williams BA, means that the church property in the area is now self-contained. The work of preparing the ground for burial was carried out voluntarily by members of the Church, under the direction of the rector.

The Bishop was attended by Canon J J Hughes R D vicar of Pontardawe and the Rev D Lewis Williams BA.

Among the clergy present were: the Revs J G Hughes BA, vicar of Ystalyfera, Jonathan Davies vicar of Colbren, D Hilary Jones MA vicar of Abercrave, D Bonstall Edwards vicar of Callwen, Tudor O Hughes vicar of Cwmamman, W Meurig Williams BA, senior curate of Ystradgynlais, Dilwyn Pugh BA curate of Ystradgynlais, P W Rees BA Ynismeudw, and Randall Lloyd BA, Pontardawe.

Others present were Alderman M W Morgan JP Abercrave, Mr Roger E L Thomas Diocesan Lay-Reader Ystradgynlais; Capt H G B Griffith JP and Mrs Griffith; Mr Molyneaux F Thomas Diocesan Registrar Brecon; and Mrs (Rev) W Ilar Edwards and the Rev Isaac.

The petition for consecration was presented to the bishops, who signified his ascent, after it had been read by Mr Roger E L Thomas.

Then the Bishop preceded by the Church wardens, Messrs J H Hunt [rectors] and Llewelyn Thomas [people] and followed by the clergy and surpliced choir and congregation proceeded around the plot that was to be consecrated.

On arrival at the centre cross, the Diocesan Registrar, Mr Molyneaux F Thomas read the Deed of Consecration which was signed by the Bishop.

The service was bilingual, Mr Morgan Griffiths being in charge of the Choir.

The gathering was afterwards entertained to tea at the New Church Hall.

The large expanse of the graveyard behind the church, looking towards where Ynyscedwyn School was until it closed at Christmas 2012.

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The rear side of Saint Cynog's Church, seen from the graveyard.

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Another view of the main section of the graveyard.

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A view towards the porch of Saint Cynog's, as seen when you exit the main entrance, through the gate off Heol Eglwys.

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A couple of the gravestones outside the front of the church.

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Memorials carved of granite have survived the vicissitudes of weather and air pollution over the last century and a half.

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Trees in Saint Cynog's cemetery add both an air of restfulness to the graveyard, and scenic effects to the view.

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Another view across the graveyard towards the grove of trees in the centre of the front section.

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A view of Saint Cynog's as you approach the church after entering via the gatehouse from the car park. The section nearest to the path includes the vestry and the room where Sunday School takes place most weeks of the year during the Sunday morning service.

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