Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Berea Chapel, Cefnbrynbrain

Berea Chapel was a corrugated building on the borders of Cefnbrynbrain, on the Brynamman side of Cwmllynfell. It was located at the side of the road, but has been demolished some years ago now, and replaced with a memorial stone, marking where it used to stand.

From the Coflein online compendium of local chapels:-

Berea Independent Chapel is a corrugated zinc-sheeted chapel, known as the "Iron Chapel" and a branch of Cwmllynfell Independent Chapel. Berea closed during the 1980's and in 1997 remained disused.

The website of John Ball states that it was a a branch of Cwmllynfell Independent Chapel and closed in the 1980s, and that it was constructed in 1929, and demolished in 2001. His webpage has a great photograph of the chapel on it. Thank You to John Ball for giving us permission to show the photograph here:-

Wikipedia explains about the name of Berea, thus:-

Berea or Beroea was a city of the Hellenic and Roman era now known as Veria (or Veroia) in Macedonia, northern Greece. It is a small city on the eastern side of the Vermion Mountains north of Mount Olympus. The town is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, where the apostles Paul, Silas and Timothy preached the Christian gospel.

Val Trevallion


Corner where the corrugated chapel, Berea, once stood


The plaque on the rock, reading

Yma sefydlwyd Ysgoldy BEREA
cangen o Eglwys Annibynnol Cwmllynfell

Translated into English as:-

Here BEREA Schoolhouse was established a branch of Cwmllynfell Congregational Church 1929-2001

From the Llais

The Llais newspaper reported on events not just in the Swansea Valley, but also the Amman and Dulais valleys.

The South Wales Voice newspaper, Saturday 16th May 1931 reported on a service at Berea Chapel:-


Last Sunday evening, the large congregation that assembled at Berea, Cefnbrynbrain, enjoyed an inspiring service, which was given over entirely to the young people and was notable for the number who took part and for the unexpected and striking talent revealed. The service, which was a first of its kind to be held at Berea, was in every way a great success. It is intended to hold a similar service on Sunday 26th July.
The programme, for which Mr A H Colson and Mr Percy Lowe were responsible, was as follows:
Open hymn and prayer Mr Parkhouse; solos by Mrs Parmee, Miss K V Bowen, Miss I Parry, Miss V Davies, Miss Nan Hopkin: Recitations by Mr H Jones and Miss E Lewis. Violin duet Mr George Combs and Mr Percy Lowe; a paper was read by Mr C Jones; an address by Mr Parmee and an item by the children's choir under the conductorship of Mr Percy Lowe. Mr R Elliott conducted the service and his kindly words of encouragement were highly appreciated by those who contributed to the success of a very outstanding service.

The South Wales Voice January 6th 1934 recorded the 4th anniversary service for Berea:-


The fourth annual social, to mark the opening of Berea vestry, will be helf on Thursday next. Teas will be provided at moderate charges. A concert will also be held to commence at 7.30pm.

Berea Chapel was the venue for a non-religious ceremony in January 1940, as recorded in the South Wales Voice newspaper of 13th January 1940:-

Mr G.H. Parmee Honoured

There was a full attendancce at Berea Chapel, Cefnbrynbran, on Thursday, for the presentation concert held in honour of Mr G.H. Parmee, former stationmaster at Cwmllynfell recently promoted to Gurnos and Ystalyfera. The meeting was held under the auspices of the Cefnbrynbrain Ambulance Class who presented to Mr Parmee an easy chair as a token of appreciation for the long service which he had rendered to them as instructor.
Mr Richard Williams conducted the proceedings which opened with a solo by Mr H. Emlyn Jones followed by selections by the Gwys Male Singers conducted by Mr Charles Williams.
Mr Richard Williams, one of the oldest members of the class, recalled the occasion, fifteen years ago, when the class was badly in need of a leader and how Mr Parmee, whose record as an ambulance worker in other parts of the country was a flowing one, undertook the task of building up the Cefnbrynbrain organisation to its standard of highly trained efficiency. Mr Williams told how he had won the highest esteem of the members bby his kindness and patience and above all by the great help and encouragement which he always gave to backward pupils. The departure of Mr Parmee was a considerable loss to the class and also to the neighbourhood.
Dr Vaughan Davies referred with gratitude to the great help which Mr Parmee had given to him during his term as lecturer to the class and to his ability as instructor.
The presentation was performed by Mr David Owen, chairman of the class, who expressed on behalf of the members, the deep regret felt by them at his departure. The chair bore an inscribed plate which read as follows: !Presented to Mr G.H. Parmee by the Cefnbrynbrain Ambulance Class as an appreciation of his good and faithful services as an instructor for many years."
Responding, Mr Parmee thanked all for their gift and good wishes and for the many kind references to himself and to Mrs Parmee. During the 15 years he had acted at Cefnbrynbrain he had faced difficult tasks but none was more difficult than that which he had to do that night. The Cefnbrynbrain Class was very near to his heart and it had always given him great pleasure to be associated with it. He urged that the work be continued and stressed the importance of a knowledge of first aid. He would miss the many friends he made at Cwmllynfell, but hoped to keep in touch with them in the future.
The musical programme also included items by Madame Bessie Williams, contralto; Mr Griff Lewis, tenor; Master Kenneth Williams, boy soprano. Violin solos by Mr Jack Gabriel. Recitations were given by Master Cecil John and Miss Eluned Price. The accompanist was Mr Sam Williams, Brynamman and for the Male Voice Party, Mrs Betty Lloyd, Cwmtwrch.
Appropriate verses in both English and Welsh which had been especially composed by Mr Tom Richards were read by the author. The concert concluded with the Welsh National Anthem.
Mr Parmee is well-known throughout the whole of Swansea Valley and is held in the highest esteem. He had had considerable experience with Ambulance work with the L.M.S. Railway and some time ago was presented with that Company's Long Service Ambulance Medal which is awarded only on rare occasions. Mr and Mrs Parmee have now moved to Ystalyfera, their departure from Cwmllynfell giving rise to keen regret, but they have the very best wishes of a host of friends for a prosperous future.


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