Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Tynycoed Chapel, Ystradgynlais

Tynycoed Chapel is located between Ynyswen and Penycae, near to Ystradgynlais in the Upper Tawe Valley. It was first constructed in 1774, and was rebuilt in 1829.

The Llais Llafur of 2nd May 1914 reported on large gatherings at Tynycoed Chapel :-


The gatherings held during the last week end at Tynycoed Chapel were of considerable historic interest and importance, and the memory of the proceedings will remain long with those who were privileged to take part. The chief purpose of the gathering was to celebrate the centenary of the establishment of the church, and the ordination of the late Rev James Williams, as minister, but there was a second purpose, viz., the celebration of the liquidation of the debt on the church. During the past six months a big effort has been made to realise this object, with the result that over £400 has been raised at Tynycoed and the daughter churches, there being a credit balance of about £25 in the Tynycoed funds.

On Sunday, the Rev H. Pedrog Williams, of Liverpool, occupied the pulpit, speaking to very large audiences and referring in appropriate terms to the events which were being celebrated. On Monday evening, an excellent meeting took place at the chapel, the senior deacon, Mr Morgan Price, J.P., presiding over a large attendance.

Interesting addresses were delivered during the evening on the centenary celebration by the chairman, the Rev Pedrog Williams, Messrs R W Jones, surveyor (Carmarthen), and James Williams (Aberystwyth), descendants of the first minister, the Revs C J Pipe (Abercrave), J Thomas (Onllwyn), Messrs D Mathias and David Williams (Penycae).

It is worthy of note that the church has only had three ministers during the past 100 years, the present minister (the Rev Lewis Jones), having been in the service since 1867, nearly 50 years.

The Llais Llafur of 25th October 1919 reported on the retirement of Rev Lewis Jones of Tynycoed Chapel, mentioned above:-


After over half a century of service the Rev Lewis Jones, pastor of Tynycoed and Bethlehem Congregational Churches, Abercrave, has retired from his sphere of active labour, and will take up residence near his son, Mr Jestyn Jones, at Llantwit Major.
When the Rev Lewis Jones came to Tynycoed 52 years ago, Abercrave was very different from what it is today. Soon after his coming here the collieries became inactive, and grass even grew on the trucks of culm at the sidings, for there were no machines in those days. It was in those days, too, that much of the coal was sent down to Swansea by means of the Swansea Canal, and limestone was also transported by this route to the ironworks at Ystradgynlais and Ystalyfera.
During the slack period above referred to, many of Mr Jones' people worked at Seven Sisters, and long before even the eight hours shift was thought of these men faithfully tramped to Seven Sisters in the morning and back in the night, when they often attended the week night services in their working clothes, because there was no time to wash. Some people worked at the Walters' furnace, an ironworks the founder of which was a predecessor of the Walters of Ffynone, Swansea. As Abercrave grew and developed, Mr Jones, with commendable far sightedness, worked to establish the causes at Bryn Seion, Onllwyn Schools, at Colbren and Caehopkin, and even a cause at Glynneath.

Now, when the church Mr Jones has served so well, is nearing its hundred and fiftieth anniversary, he has retired with the best wishes of friends from all over the district, and of all denominations. Families have passed through his hands, and in some cases generations of the same family.
He did not confine his activities to Abercrave, but gave of his services to all. He is naturally a well-known figure in his denomination, and a few years ago was president for a year of the Welsh Congregational Union. He was a keen supporter of Disestablishment and Disendowment, and an active and staunch Liberal in politics. During the war he was chairman of the Ystradgynlais Tribunal. He is also an author of note, and has written several text books, including "Paul yn Ewrop" and "Israel yr Hen Destament."
There was a good congregation at Tynycoed on Sunday evening, when Mr Jones preached his farewell sermon. He took as his text, Acts xx-32: "Ac yr awrhon, frodyr, yr ydwyf yn eich gorch ymyn i Dduw, ac i air ei ras ef, yr hwn a all adeiladu ychwaneg, a rhoddi i chwi etifeddiaeth ym mhlith yr holl rai a sancteiddiwyd." The retiring pastor took as his lesson the departure of the Apostle Paul from Ephesus.
On Monday evening the respect and esteem in which Mr Jones is held was clearly shown by the packed attendance at Tynycoed, when the farewell meeting was held. There were ministers present from the busy industrial districts of Glamorganshire, and from the peaceful country villages of Breconshire, to show their regard for the departing minister.
The Rev D A Gryffudd, of Troed- rhiwdalar, presided, and he was supported, in addition to the Rev and Mrs Lewis Jones, by the Revs Thomas Hughes (Cardiff), Ben Davies Pantteg), R M Rhys (Ystradgynlais), G Beynon (Abercrave), D J Aubrey (Penrhos), E Davies (Seven Sisters), Tom Price (Llannon), Lloyd (Bryn Seion), Thomas (Onllwyn), John Jones (Ogmore Vale), William Roderick (Aberedw), Rees Williams (Brychgoed), J H Parry (Llansamlet), etc.
At the opening Mr John Griffith Jones, representing Bethlehem, spoke of the regret felt by the members of that chapel on account of Mr Jones severing his connection with them. Mr Morgan Price, J.P., Glynllech, spoke for the members of Tynycoed. He said that the Rev Lewis Jones had been a great friend to thousands during his stay at Abercrave. His kindness and faithfulness could not be surpassed, whilst his sermons inspired them all to follow in the path of the Great Master. As a shepherd, an adviser and a preacher Mr Jones had proved himself to be of incalculable value. The speaker went on to refer to the fact that Mr Jones had been instrumental in clearing the debt of £4,000 on the chapels and schoolrooms. He also paid a tribute to the beautiful qualities of Mrs Jones. The speaker, on behalf of the congregations, handed to Mr Jones a silver- mounted inkstand which had been beautifully inscribed.
Mr John Powell, 84 years of age, and who is the only one alive today who signed the call to Mr Jones to become the pastor of Tynycoed and Bethlehem 52 years ago, handed to the retiring pastor a cheque for £100 on behalf of the congregations and outside friends.
Mrs Jennet Morgan, one of the oldest members, next presented Mrs Jones with a silver cake basket and hot water jug.
Mr Tom Davies, secretary of Carmel Congregational Chapel, presented a cheque to Mr Jones on behalf of the Methodists of the locality.
The Rev Lewis Jones and Mrs Jones feelingly returned thanks.
Addresses followed by the Revs J H Parry, Thomas Hughes, Ben Davies, Rhys Williams, William Roderick, R M Rhys, G Beynon, etc., after which a memorable meeting was brought to a close.

From the Labour Voice newspaper, July 1st 1922 came the information of the sudden death of the Rev J Glyn Davies, who had been pastor of Tynycoed for not quite a year:-

Rev J Glyn Davies Dies At Hospital

We deeply regret to report the death of the Rev J Glyn Davies, pastor of Tynycoed, which took place at the Swansea Hospital on Wednesday. Deceased had been operated upon for appendicitis, and peritonitis set in. Although his condition was regarded by his intimate friends as being very grave from the commencement, his death came as a great shock to alll.
Mr Davies came to Abercrave to take charge of Tynycoed Chuch in August last, and both church and pastor looked forward to a long and successful ministry, and to emulating the record of the Patriach Pastor Lewis Jones, but alas! the ministry commenced with such high hopes has been cut short with almost tragic suddeness. Mr Davies, who was but 39 years old, leaves and invalid wife and little boy, with whom the whole neighbourhood expresses heartfelt sympathy. The funeral will take place on Saturday.

The South Wales Voice of Saturday 12th September 1936 reported on the induction of Rev D M Davies as pastor of Tynycoed Chapel, Penycae, near Ystradgynlais in the Upper Tawe Valley.


Induction of the Rev D M Davies, Nelson, as pastor of Tynycoed Chapel Penycae, took place on Thursday afternoon in the presence of a large congregation. The building was crowded half an hour before the advertised time of commencing the service.

The Rev E Aman Jones BA, Gurnos Ystalyfera presided and was supported by the Rev D J Williams Ystrad Mynach, J H Evans Onllwyn, J Buckley Jones Bedlinog, D S Davies Soar Neath, W B Thomas Berthlwyd, Robert Beynon Abercrave, T M Roderick Cwmgorse, James Davies Godre'rgraig, James Evans Crynant, Ivor Jones Soar Ystalyfera, D Hubert Davies Ainon Ystradgynlais, W Morris Colbren, A E Grant Rhymney, J Seymour Rees Seven Sisters, W E Llewelyn Bethel Cwmtwrch, D J Moses Llanwrtyd, D J Lewis Tumble, the pastor elect; J T Gregory Swansea president of the West Glamorgan Union, Pumpsaint Jones Treharris and W Peregrine Williamstown.

The introductory parts were taken by the Rev J H Evans Onllwyn and J Buckley Jones Bedlinog.


Mr John Hughes junior, of the Church, gave the history of the call and said it was a unanimous one. The Tynycoed Church and had six pastors:
Rev James Williams, 45 years
Robert Lewis, 11 years
Lewis Jones, 50 years
Glyn Davies, 10 months
Ben Williams, 3 years
D T Richards, 3 years

The latter three had died and the church had suffered a great loss.
The Rev D T Richards died in March 1933 and the pulpit was occupied by local ministers. Mr D M Davies had preached on three occasions - August and December 1935 and March 1936 - was such a favourable one that he was invited to accept the pastorate.

The new pastor was welcome to Tynycoed by Mr Howell L Williams who said that the late Rev Glyn Davies was inducted 15 years ago to that day; only three ministers had held the pastorate of Tynycoed in 106 years. He hoped that the union would be a blessing and benefit to the church and district.

Mr John E Morgan spoke on behalf of the Young People's Society.
The president extended a warm welcome to the pastor and congratulated him and the church on their action.
The congregation stood for a few minutes to signify their approval of the call.
Addresses were given by Messrs William Morgan, on behalf of Peniel Nelson; Thomas Morgan for Mount Seion Nelson and Jacob Jenkins representing Moriah Tycroes.

The Rev W B Thomas Berthlwyd spoke on behalf of the ministers of Nelson and district.
The Free Churches of Abercrave were represented by the Rev Robert Beynon BA Carmel.
Speaking on behalf of the North Glamorgan Congregational Association the Rev D J Williams Ystradmynach formerly of Ystradgynlais, introduced the pastor elect to the West Glamorgan Association and Mr Davies was accepted by the Rev T M Roderick Cwmgorse secretary.

A gift of three books was made to Mr Davies by the Nelson Ministers Fraternal.
The proceedings were terminated by a prayer offered by the Rev E T Evans BA Wern Ystalyfera.
Mr J E Hughes carried out the secretarial arrangements. The singing was under the conductorship of Mr Joseph Williams and Mr David Lewis presided at the organ.

The South Wales Voice of Friday 6th September 1957 reported on the retirement of Rev D M Davies as pastor of Tynycoed Chapel, Penycae, after 21 years in office.


A special celebration service was held at Tynycoed Chapel Penycae, on Sunday evening, to mark the 21 years of service of its minister the Rev D M DAVIES.

County Councillor John Hughes, who presided, read letters of congratulations and good wishes from many churches and people. These included messages from the minister's mother church at Tycroes; Bethlehem Chapel Abercrave; Emeritus Professor John Evans of Brecon and the Rev W T Thomas of Rhiwfawr. The president read verses composed for the occasion by the Rhiwfawr minister.

Mr Hughes invited anyone from the congregation to speak and the following, without exception, spoke impromptu and expressed their good wishes in a very able manner: Mrs L James, Mrs A Watkins, Mrs G Jenkins and Mrs T Morgan, on behalf of Peniel Chapel Penrhos.

Messrs Tom Roderick, Gareth Jeffreys B Sc, on behalf of the youth and Sunday school, Evan Roderick, Gwyn Williams, Joseph Williams precentor, Richard A Davies, W Griffiths, Evan Jones, D Walters, Telych Evans and two of the deacons, Mr Evan Williams and Mr Morgan Evans.

Mr Ithel Llewelyn Llewellyn, the church's treasurer presented Mr D M Davies with a substantial cheque on behalf of his members and friends. Mr Davies responded by thanking all the local people who have been so kind to him.

The foundation stone for the rebuild of Tynycoed Chapel in 1829






The Rev Lewis Jones of Tynycoed



Cofion Cynnes, newsagent and bookshop, Ystradgynlais