Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Ebenezer Chapel, Cwmtwrch

Ebenezer Chapel was born out of a meeting in 1892 when it was decided that Temperance Hall would not be enlarged as the chapel it then was, but would be retained as a vestry to a new foundation to be constructed, and named Ebenezer. The foundation stone was laid on 7th December 1892, and the first service was held in the new chapel on 27th June 1894.

The South Wales Daily Post of 7th March 1893 reported on the coming of the new chapel:-


Yesterday afternoon the foundation stone of the Ebenezer Chapel was laid by Mr Levi Rees CC of Brynhellis Colliery and addresses were also delivered by the Revs John Rees, John Thomas, David Price, E James, William D Thomas, J Davies and T Griffiths BA. Mr Levi Rees has kindly promised to subscribe 5% on the whole outlay, providing that the expenditure has been cleared by the time the chapel is opened for service.
The builders are Messrs Williams and Morgan of Cwmtwrch and Ystalyfera.

The extracts produced below are from the edition of the 30th December 1960 Llais newspaper upon the Centenary of Ebenezer Chapel.


On 24 March 1892 a committee meeting was held at the Temperance Hall to consider the question of rebuilding the Chapel. To meet the cost, £225 10s was collected that same evening - a considerable sum in those days. Later it was decided to keep the Temperance Hall as a Vestry and build a new chapel.
On Mabon's day, 7th December 1892, work started on the laying of the foundation of Ebenezer Chapel. The building contractors were Mr William Daniel Morgan of Cwmtwrch and Mr John Williams of Ystalyfera and the architect, Mr Alwyn Powell of Gurnos.
The contract price was £1,482.

Looking down from the gallery
The organ at Ebenezer


The first service was held in the new chapel on 27 June 1894, the Rev John Rees, Cwmllynfell officiating. He held the joint pastorate of Cwmllynfell Chapel and Ebenezer until his retirement in 1908.
Mr Daniel Adams, a student from Carmarthen College, was ordained Minister Ebenezer Chapel in 1911, Mr T J Peregrine, Brecon College, accepted a "call" in 1921.
Other ministers were the Rev I Wynne Williams, at present in Bangor, Rev Idris Hopkin Cwmavon, and the present minister Rev Bleddyn Cynwyn Davies who has administered successfully for eight years.

Close-up of the organ
The pulpit at Ebenezer


Three Ebenezer members who became ministers have passed away, Rev D P Hopkins Shropshire, Rev Morgan S Hopkins Eli Cardiff, and Rev Lewis Thomas, who was ordained in 1918. He was a Deacon, County Councillor and active in trade union affairs until his death at the early age of 39.
His son is Mr Alwyn Thomas headmaster of Maesydderwen Comprehensive School and a daughter is Miss Doris Thomas Tai Gwalia.

Before the pulpit
The pulpit and organ


The first precentor on record under the ministry of Rev Rhys Pryse, Cwmllynfell, was Mr Lewis Rowlands of Cwmtwrch. He was followed by his son, Mr John Rowlands Abergwys. Another member of the same family, Mr D W Rowlands, became precentor at the Old Chapel Cwmllynfell and the Temperance Hall when the new church was formed and years later was recalled to the new Cwmllynfell Chapel. Mrs Linda Rowlands-Lewis Bryncerdd, New Road is a daughter of Mr D W Rowlands.
For generations, the Cwmtwrch Rowlands have been noted as a musical family.
Other precentors were Mr William Edwards, Messrs Owen Williams, Charles Frederick, Tom Arthur Morgan, Tom E Davies, Mrs Mary Williams and the late Mr David Davies, who conducted the singing at Ebenezer Chapel for over 10 years.

Looking up the rows of pews
The gallery at Ebenezer


The late Mr Griffith Rowlands, Aberllynfell, played the harmonium at the Temperance Hall services, followed by Messrs Daniel J Williams, Lewis Rowlands, Willie Rowlands, Lewis I Williams, L Rowland Williams Port Talbot, Miss Katie Rowlands, Mr David I Edwards, Mr Daniel Rees and Mr Griffith E Williams.
On his retirement about 12 months ago, Mr T Watkin Davies received a presentation after 45 years as organist at Ebenezer Chapel.
The present precentors are Mr L D J Williams and Mrs L Hannah Thomas, children.
Organist is Mrs Mair Williams and deputy organist Mr Keith Williams.

Seats and side gallery
Side pews


The treasurers were: Mr Thomas Watkins, Paris House, Mr Thomas D Thomas Mount Pleasant, Mr Evan Kinsey, until 1923, when he emigrated to Australia and Mr L Rowlands grocer.

Steps and carpeting
The font at Ebenezer


Mr Rees D Powell colliery manager Brynhenllys was the first secretary, with Mr Joseph Williams Abergwys, financial secretary.
In 1931, Mr D G Hopkins, Dewi Glantwrch, received a presentation on his retirement after 31 years service as secretary.
Mr Willie Thomas, Abergwys, was appointed and Mr W T Davies Gorseinon financial secretary. Later Mr Tom E Williams and Mr William Thomas, Park View, became financial secretaries.
Minnie secretaries appointed were Councillor T H Williams and Mr William Edmunds.
On his return from Australia and America in 1942, Mr Evan Kinsey was appointed secretary.
Officers are: Secretary Mr DN Williams, Headmaster Cwmtwrch Welsh School; Treasurer Mr Lewis Kinsey; Minute Secretary Mr Albert Morgan.

The Voice newspaper of 16th May 1968 records the death of former minister of Ebenezer Chapel, the Rev Bleddwyn Cynwyn Davies:-


The death occurred on Saturday morning of the Rev Bleddwyn Cynwyn Davies, former minister of Ebenezer Chapel. Cwmtwrch.

Mr Davies died at the home of his son-in-law and daughter, Mr and Mrs Lloyd Davies, Alan Road, Llandeilo.

He held the pastorate at Ebenezer Chapel for 14 years, retiring about two years ago, owing to ill health. After accepting the call to Ebenezer Chapel, Mrs Davies died following a short illness. It was a sad blow to the Rev Cynwyn Davies, but he carried on with courage and conducted a successful ministry and was popular in the village.

During his illness, Mr Davies was well-nursed, receiving tender care and kindness at the home of his son-in-law and daughter at Llandeilo.

Foundation Stone

This Stone was Laid by
Levi Rees, Esq, CC
Pwllrhydypwnau, Cwmllynfell
March 6th 1893

Ebenezer Chapel, Cwmtwrch, has a memorial organ, and memorial tablets dedicated to those local members of its congregation who fell in the two World Wars. Click on the screenshot below to go to that page.


Views of Ebenezer Chapel

These photographs of Ebenezer Chapel, Upper Cwmtwrch, were taken in July 2019.

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