Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Moriah Chapel, Ystradgynlais

Some of our information on Moriah Chapel, Ystradgynlais, is borrowed from 'Y Daflen' (The Page) January 2015, the publication of the Ystradgynlais District Heritage and Language Society, to whom we have no connection. Other information comes from the local Llais newspaper, and the book "Cynnau'r Fflam" written by John Williams, and published for the bicentenary of Yorath Chapel.

Yorath Chapel, Cwmgiedd established a Sunday school in Penrhos, named 'Capel Yr Ynys' in 1850. In 1906, due to shifting demographics and the construction of the railways, and then a new road, superceding the canal as the main thoroughfare, the decision was taken to construct a new chapel on what is now Brecon Road. This building, Moriah Chapel opened in April 1906

Moriah Chapel closed in 1980 due to declining membership and the poor state of the building due to dampness. It was demolished in June 1991 and the manse, which was attached to the chapel, is now a private house. Moriah's organ and stained glass windows were transferred to Yorath Chapel.

From 'Y Daflen' (The Page) January 2015, the publication of the Ystradgynlais District Heritage and Language Society, to whom we have no connection.

From the South Wales Voice newspaper, November 1944 came the news of the death of a deacon of Moriah Chapel, Penrhos:-


The death occurred last Thursday of Mr Evan Jones, Glan[???], Penrhos, Ystradgynlais, at the age of 59. He had been in failing health for some time. Mr Jones was a fine personality and took an active interest in all local affairs. He was deacon and Sunday school teacher of many years' standing at Moriah Chapel, Penrhos. The district will be much the poorer for the passing of Evan Jones on account of his work on behalf of humanitarian organisations. Prior to his illness, Mr Jones was a miner and was presidentr of the Anthracite Miners' Association. He was a member and official of the Ystrdgynlais Ambulance Car and Nursing Associations, and a trustee of the Ystradgynlais Miners' Welfare association. He was a son of the late Mr William Evan Jones, J.P., Penrhos.
There was a very large and representative gathering at the funeral which took place on Monday, burial being at Carmel Chapel graveyard, Abercrave. Officiating were the Revs D G Jones, Moriah, Robert Beynon, Carmel, Isaac Morris, Tabernacl, Glanvill Davies, Yorath, and D R Beynon, Jerusalem. Also present were the Revs D L Williams, Rector, D O Jones, curate, and Owen Williams, Sardis. Mr Aneurin Pritchard was the organist. Messrs Henry Griffiths, William Griffiths, Thomas D Jones, William Davies, Stanley Evans, and Aneurin Pritchard were bearers.

Moriah Chapel, Penrhos

From the South Wales Voice newspaper, June 27th 1958 comes information on the recent renovation of Moriah Chapel and its reopening:


The ceremony of the reopening of the renovated Moriah Chapel, Penrhos, took place on Wednesday of last week.
The opening ceremony was performed by Mr Henry Griffiths, the oldest deacon, who well remembered the chapel being built about 52 years ago.
During the evening a memorial window was unveiled by Mr Leyshon Thomas, to the members of the family at Dolwerdd, Penrhos.
The proceedings was conducted by the former minister, the Rev E. Dewi Davies. On Thursday, special preaching services were held at which the Rev R Mainwaring, Cardiff, was the preacher.

Capel Yr Ynys

Capel Yr Ynys was built in Ynys Uchaf by Yorath Chapel in 1850. It served as a place of worship and a schoolroom for over fifty years before the construction of Moriah Chapel on Brecon Road in Penrhos. The building now forms the basis of Chapel House, a private residence in Ynys Uchaf, alongside the bypass.


A famous name associated with Capel Yr Ynys is Thomas Levi (Tomos Levi). He was born near Ystradgynlais on October 12th 1825, and though he began working in the iron industry, by the age of 21 he was preaching at Yorath Chapel. By 1855, he was the minister at Capel Yr Ynys, being ordained in 1857, and earning a wage of £40, one of the first Methodist preachers to be paid in such a fashion.

In 1862 he moved on to Philadelphia Chapel, Morriston. While at Morriston, the death of his wife Elizabeth occurred on July 22th 1871, aged 66, and she was buried in the cemetery at Yorath Chapel (Grave reference 5.6 in the burial book). He married for the second time in 1873.

In 1876 he became pastor of Tabernacl Chapel, Aberystwyth, the largest chapel in Wales at the time. There he remained until he retired in 1901, 75 years old, and he continued to preach until 1910.

An author of over 30 books, and a translator of twice that number into Welsh, he is most famous for producing the children's magazine "Trysorfa y Plant" (The Chilren's Treasury), which at its height had a circulation of over 40,000 a month.

He died on the 16th June 1916, aged 90.

The span of his life thus encompassed Yorath's decision to construct Capel Yr Ynys, the entire life of the chapel as a centre of worship, and the first decade of its successor, Moriah Chapel, Penrhos.

Thank you to John Williams, whose book "Cynnau'r Fflam" is the source of some of this information.

From the South Wales Voice September 24th 1932 came news of the death of a former pastor of Ynis Chapel:-


The news was received with regret at Ystradgynlais during the week-end of the death of the Rev. Towy Rees, Resolven. The rev. gentleman was pastor of Ynis Chapel for many years, afterwards removing to Tabernacle, Resolven, where he remained until he died. Mr Rees occupied the pulpit at Moriah Chapel, Penrhos, in the early part of August.

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