Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Foundation Stones of Bethania Chapel

Bethania Chapel, in Lower Cwmtrch, Ystradgynlais, has six foundations stones set low in the wall of the front of the building.

From a report in the Llais newspaper of 16th June 1951 on the centenary of the chapel, comes this information on the laying of the building of the current structure:-

In 1933, the old chapel was demolished and the present one, situated in a delightful spot on high ground, facing the valley, was opened in January 1935, the late Mr D W Davies Ystalyfera, performing the opening ceremony.

At the base of the chapel are the foundation stones bearing the date and the name of local notables who participated in the ceremony. Here we can see the three to the left of the door, as seen from in front of Bethania.

Below, we have a look at all six of the foundation stones, and the names and titles of the people who are listed upon them. YSW is the Welsh abbreviation equivalent to "Esquire". YH is the Welsh equivalent of JP (Justice of the Peace, or a Magistrate).

Y Garreg Hon
William Morgan, YSW

This stone was laid by William Morgan, Esq., of Ystradgynlais

Y Garreg Hon
T J Davies, YSW, YH

This stone was laid by T. J. Davies, Esq., J.P., of Abercrave

Y Garreg Hon
D W Davies, YSW

This stone was laid by D.W. Davies, Esq., of Ystalyfera

Y Garreg Hon
Gan Y
Parch W P Jones

This stone was laid by the Minister, W P. Jones, of Cwmtwrch

Y Garreg Hon
Thomas Rosser, YSW

This stone was laid by Thomas Rosser, Esq., of Cwmtwrch

Y Garreg Hon
Dd. Wm. Thomas, YSW

This stone was laid by David William Thomas, Esq., of Cwmtwrch

The article on the laying of the foundation stones is from the South Wales Voice Saturday January 25th 1936, referencing the ceremony which occurred on Thursday, 23rd January. Interesting the article makes clear that two of the people who have stones saying they laid them were actually unable to attend due to illness, and that someone else laid them on their behalf!


Thursday was an auspicious day in the history of Bethania Chapel, Lower Cwmtwrch, when six foundation stones were laid. There was a very large gathering at the ceremony, which was presided over by the Rev W.P. Jones, pastor.
Stones were laid by the Rev W.P. Jones, Councillor T.J. Davies, J.P., Maesyderi, Abercrave, who was represented by Mr John Phillips; Messrs David W. Thomas (deacon), Thomas Rosser (deacon) (by Mrs E.M.G. Roberts in his absence on account of illness), and William Morgan (the contractor).
Among the ministers present were the Revs W.P. Thomas, Beulah; W.E. Llewelyn, Bethel; W.D. Roderick, Rhiwfawr; Ifor Wynne Williams, Ebenezer; D.R. Beynon, Jerusalem; E.T. Evans, B.A., Wern; Isaac Morris, B.A., B.D., Tabernacle, and Ifor Jones, Soar, Ystalyfera.
The ceremony was opened by the Rev W.P. Jones, who gave out the hymn, "Good pabell yng Nghwlad Gosen", and prayer was offered by the Rev Isaac Morris.


Mr William Morgan referred to the amicable relations that existed among the church members. The movement to rebuild the chapel was agreed to unanimously. The members had implicit faith in the contractor, for there was no clerk of works to superintend the carrying out of the work. He wished the members even greater success in the future than they had experienced in the past.
Mallets were presented to those who placed the stones in positions, these being inscribed "Cyflwynwyd ar achlysur o osod carreg coffa ail adeiladu Capel Bethania, Cwmtwrch, 23-1-36."
The Rev W.P. Jones thanked Mr D.W. Davies for his generosity to the church, and referred to his presence at the ceremony. Mr Jones said it was regretted that Mr T.J. Davies, Maesyderi, was unable to attend owing to indisposition.
The proceedings terminated with the singing of "Mae Eglwys Duw fel dinas wych" the hymn being given out by the Rev D.R. Beynon.
After the ceremony, the guests were entertained to tea at the vestry.
The secretarial arrangements were carried out by Mr Victor Morgan, secretary of the church.
Bethania Chapel was built in 1851, and is one of the oldest chapels in the Swansea Valley. The building was up to the start of re-building in the same state as when it was erected, excepting of course for the mark of passing years. No renovations of any kind had been carried out, and the only modernisation has been the installation of electric light.


The movement to makee the scheme of rebuilding possible has been in force for some years, and a fairly substantial sum has been realised, which will meet part of the cost of the work. It is hoped to receive financial assistance so that the total cost will have been met by the time the work is completed.
The building will be enlarged in the front and rear, and the seating accommodation increased from 350 to nearly 500. During the rebuilding, services have been held at the vestry, and Beulah vestry (kindly lent). The Rev W.P. Jones has been pastor of Bethania for 41 years.
The officers are: deacons, Messrs Thomas Rosser, John William Phillips, Phillip William Phillips, David W. Thomas, and David Grriffiths; secretary and organist, Mr Victor E. Morgan; treasurerm Mr Phillip W. Phillips. The present membership is 110. The chapel possesses a very well-equipped library, presented by the late Mr T. Walter Rosser.

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