Ystradgynlais History

Ynys Chapel, Ystradgynlais

Ynys Chapel, Ystradgynlais


Ynys Chapel, in Welsh '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.

The private house incorporating Ynys Chapel within it

The private house incorporating Capel Yr Ynys within it

Ministers of Ynys Chapel

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

Thomas Levi (Tomos Levi)

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.

Towy Rees

From the Labour Voice newspaper, 24th September 1932:-

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.