Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Daily Life of Ebenezer Chapel

The Llais newspaper had always included a round-up of happenings at local churches and chapels, even when these were not part of any particular story. Sometimes they advertised forthcoming events, and at other times who was preaching, or had preached there recently.

Here we present an interesting selection from their stories on Ebenezer Chapel, Upper Cwmtrch.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 27th June 1914:-


Councillor Lewis Thomas, who is a deacon at Ebenezer Chapel, has not hitherto been seen in the role of preacher but he occupied the pulpit at Ebenezer last Sunday and his excellent discourses were much appreciated.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 4th July 1914:-


Anniversary services in connection with the Ebenezer Congregational Chapel, Gwys, take place this week-end when the preacher Sunday and Monday will be the Rev D J Williams, of St Clears, Carmarthen - a well-known minister who ought to attract large congregations.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 11th July 1914:-

Fairly good congregations assembled at the anniversary services held on Sunday at Ebenezer Chapel Gwys when the preacher was the Rev D G Williams, of St Clears Carmarthenshire. His sermons were of a vigorous character and were greatly enjoyed.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 18th September 1915:-


At Bryn Seion Chapel, Upper Cwmtwrch on Saturday, Mr Shipley Lewis, the Carmarthenshire coroner, held an inquiry into the circumstances attending the sad death of Griffith John Thomas 16 years of age, of Cwmllynfell, who was killed at Brynhenllys Colliery on Wednesday night as a result of an unusually heavy fail.
Evidence was given as to how the accident occurred, and after hearing the witnesses the jury returned a verdict of "Accidental death."
The interment took place later in the day, and was very largely attended by sorrowing relatives and sympathetic friends. The service was conducted by the Rev John Rees, assisted by the Rev W P Jones Brynllynfell and the Rev G R Davies Bryn Seion)was also present.
Many wreaths were sent and the colliery was idle for the day.

Mr Tom Arthur Morgan, uncle of the deceased boy, with whom he was working at the time of the accident, passed away on Monday, deeply mourned by a large number of friends. Deceased, who was 33 years of age, was buried under the fall for a long time before being extricated and was injured internally. He lived in Cwmllynfell, but was connected with Ebenezer, Gwys of which he was a faithful member, and was the son of the late Mr William Arthur Morgan, the bard who passed away recently. Two of his brothers have been killed underground, and he lost a little daughter by drowning a year or two ago. He leaves a widow and one child.
Deceased was very musical, and took a leading part in choral matters at Ebenezer. For some time he was conductor of the children's choir, and at the time of his death was engaged on the musical portion of a new book, "The Prodigal Son," which is now unfinished, but it is to be completed by one of deceased's ?. Deep sympathy is felt with the relatives in their loss.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 25th December 1915:-


Amid manifestations of regret the remains of Mr Rees D Powell, J.P., were interred at Cwmllynfell Cemetery on Monday afternoon, in the presence of a large number of people. Deceased was a highly respected inhabitant of the Cwmtwrch district, and had acted as manager of Brynhenllys Colliery for over 30 years. He was the chairman of the Llandilo District Council, and had identified himself very closely with municipal and educational affairs in the district. Mr Powell was for over 30 years a deacon of Cwmllynfell and Ebenezer Chapels. He was of a most genial and charitable disposition and his loss will be deeply felt in the district.
Much sympathy is felt with the deceased's widow and children in their bereavement.
At the funeral the service was taken in the deceased's home by the Revs D A Adams, B.A., B.D., Dowlais; and D J Moses, MA., Tycroes; whilst the Revs John Rees, Jeremy Jones and E T Evans, Cwmllynfell, performed the last rites at the graveside.
The chief mourners: Mrs Margaret Powell widow; Mr and Mrs Owen R Powell son and daughter in law; Mr and Mrs David R Powell son and daughter in law; Mr Griff Powell son; Miss Getta Powell daughter.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 7th October 1916:-


A meeting called to form a branch of Undeb Merched y De [Southern Women's Union] at Cwmtwrch, was held at Ebenezer Chapel, Gwys, on Wednesday evening last. Amongst those present were a large number of ladies, mostly from Ebenezer and Bryn Seion Chapels, and also the following visitors Miss Rosina Davies, the well-known lady preacher and vice-president of the Union, Madame Kate Morgan Llewelyn Williams Brynamman, Mrs Phillips London, Mrs Williams and Mrs Davies Pontardawe. The election of officers for the Cwmtwrch branch was first dealt with, and the following were elected President, Miss Rachel Davies, head mistress of Cwmtwrch Infant School; vice-president, Mrs Daniel Morgan, Gwili House, Upper Cwmtwrch; secretary, Mrs Pitman, Dorset House, Cwmllynfell; treasurer, Miss L Harries, Craigtredeg.
Miss Rosina Davies spoke ably of the objects of the Union, whose motto was Purity, Temperance and Thrift. The following also addressed the meeting, Mrs Williams Pontardawe, Miss R Davies Cwmtwrch, and Mrs. Evan Lewis.
Amongst other matters it was announced that two delegates would be appointed to attend the Union meetings at Morriston, which commence on Monday evening, 9th October at which Mrs Lloyd George, President of the Union and others are to speak. The meetings at Cwmtwrch are to be held weekly, and it is anticipated that they will prove very beneficial to the women of the neighbourhood and women and young girls from both Upper and Lower Cwmtwrch are cordially invited to attend.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 23rd December 1916:-


Ebenezer Bible Class was held on Monday evening at Ebenezer Chapel, when Mr Tom James read an able paper. The class has only recently been formed by some of the Sunday school attendants and it is their intention to keep it going through the winter months.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 7th July 1917:-

Anniversary meetings were held on Sunday and Monday evening last at Ebenezer, when the special preacher was the Rev Thomas Llangadock.
The congregations at each of the services were very large.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 1st September 1917:-


The progress of the Ebenezer Sunday school is very favourable of late and the attendance is steadily on the increase. This is generally attributed to Mr L D J Williams, newsagent, who is the painstaking Sunday school superintendent, together with his able assistant.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 11th May 1918:-

On Whit Monday next, Councillor Lewis Thomas, who by now has become one of the most popular of lay preachers, will be ordained to the ministry at Ebenezer. Mr Thomas' capabilities in the ministerial profession it is felt, justifies this step being taken.
On Sunday last he preached at Rhosamman.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, February 18th or 25th 1922:-

An organ recital was held at Ebenezer Chapel on Saturday evening last, when Mr E T Davies, Pontardawe, played selections, assisted by Miss Hannah Williams (National winner), Clydach and Mr Ben Jones, Velindre.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, April 1st 1922:-

Mr Dan Jones, Lower Cwmtwrch, occupied the pulpit at Ebenezer Chapel on Sunday. His masterly discourses were greatly appreciated by the large congregations present throughout the day.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 13th October 1945:-

EBENEZER - Anniversary services were held at Ebenezer Chapel on Saturday evening and throughout Sunday last, when large congregations attended. The special preacher was the Rev E Eurfryn Morgan, Fishguard. Rec Idris Hopcyn, pastor, presided over the services, and Mr David Davies conducted the singing, whilst Mr D L Edwards was at the organ.

From the South Wales Voice newspaper, 29th November 1947:-


Mr Griffith Rowlands, Aberllynfell, Upper Cwmtwrch, passed away on Tuesday morning last at the ripe old age of 81 years. He was one of the senior deacons at Ebenezer Chapel, where he had been a Sunday school teacher for many years. Coming from a musical family, he was a brother to the late Mr D W Rowlands, FTSC, who was precentor at Cwmllynfell Chapel. As a young man he used to play the harmonium at the Temperance Hall services, before Ebenezer Chapel was built.
Mr Rowlands was widely known for his skill as a watch and clock repairer; and for many years he was a check-weigher at the old Hendreforgan colliery, and secretary of the local Ivorites Club for many years.
Cwmtwrch will long remember this fine old gentleman, with his slow steady step on the way to his beloved chapel. Cool, calm, and faithful, he was a wise counselor and was held in the highest esteem by a large circle of friends and acquaintances that will miss his inspiring and impressive presence.
He leaves a widow and two married daughters, viz: Mrs Tom E Davies and Mrs Tommy Maddock.
The funeral will take place at 3:30 tomorrow, Saturday afternoon for Cwmllynfell Cemetery.

From the South Wales Voice 3rd March 1951 came a report on a recent festival at Ebenezer Chapel:-


The annual gymanfa held at Ebenezer on Sunday was a very successful event, with strong attendances at all sessions. The conductor was Mr Hadyn O. Williams with Mr Gwilym M. Jones at the organ.
The children's service in the morning presided over by Mrs M.K. Davies, J.P. was particularly enjoyable. It was opened by Geraint Morgan, and during the intervals a recitation was contributed by Brynwell Davies and a solo by Janet Evans.
Mrs (Rev) J.J. Evans was the president at the afternoon session which was opened by Delyth Lewis. Brynwell Davies recited and Anita Thomas was the soloist.
The singing at the evening service attained a high standard. Rev J.J. Evans, pastor, presided and called upon Miss Clarice Jones to undertake the preliminaries. Mrs M.K. Davies contributed a recitation. The president referred very feelingly to the loss sustained by the death of Mr Daniel D. Williams, organist of Gibea, and the congregation sand the hymn, "Braint, braint yw cael cymdeithas gyda'r saint" as a mark of respect to his memory.

From the South Wales Voice newspaper, 14th January 1955:-


On Sunday evening at Ebenezer Chapel Upper Cwmtwrch Mr Evan Kinsey, one of the senior deacons outlined the history of the diaconate since the Church was opened in 1894. Up to the present time, 38 deacons have been elected.
He named the first six who were deacons at the "Mother" Church Cwmllynfell before the building of Ebenezer.
They were Messrs William Rowlands Aberllynfell; Richard Williams Twrch Villa; Richard Rees Upper Gates; Rees D Powell New Road; Griffith Davies New Road; Evan T Williams Clifton House.
Mr Rees Powell, who was then manager at Brynhenllys Colliery, was the first secretary. Among the list of deacons there are the names of many fathers and sons.
Mr Kinsey spoke highly of Mr Esaiah Williams, one of the first deacons who conducted the Bible Class when he was a young man: and of the third he was attended that class only six are alive today.
The speaker gave the favourite hymn and characteristics of the older deacons who have died. These were sung by the deacon's choir; hymns were also sung by the Rev B Cynwyn Davies, Mr L D J Williams and recited by Mr T E Williams.
The Rev B Cynwyn Davies presided. Mr L D J Williams conducted the singing with Mr Griffith Williams at the organ.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, Friday January 13th 1960:-


Hywel Lewis presided at the children's service held at Ebenezer Chapel on Sunday morning.
Others taking part were: Lavinia Jones, Huw Williams, Non Evans, Gilian Kinsey, Rosemary Pugh and Jennifer Williams.
The address was given by the Rev B. Cynwyn Davies. Mrs L H Thomas conducted the singing, with Mrs Mair Williams as organist.


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