Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Calfaria Chapel, Ystradgynlais

Calfaria was a Welsh baptist chapel in Station Road, Ystradgynlais, constructed in 1913 but closed in 2014 when the premises were purchased by Roger Castle & Daughter Funeral Directors. Calfaria is the Welsh word for 'Calvary'

Looking along Station Road, from the town, towards where the road turns and begins to go up the hill towards where the station used to be.

Calfaria Chapel is just off the right hand side of the road, not far from the shops in Station Road, and used to be adjacent to a large bakery behind it.

The front of Calfaria Chapel has an enclosing wall, with waist-high gates, and a forecourt beyond.

The ornamental trees and shrubs provide part of the garden along the right-hand side of the chapel.

A view from the side of Calfaria Chapel

This view from the rear is taken from the area where a large bakery used to be located.

From the public highway, it is possible to get views of Calfaria Chapel from 3 directions: front, right hand side, and rear.

Calfaria in The Llais

The Llais newspaper had always included a round-up of happenings at local churches and chapels, even when these were not part of any particular story. Sometimes they advertised forthcoming events, and at other times who was preaching, or had preached there recently.

The Labour Voice newspaper, April 1st 1922 reports on a blind preacher, named as Mr Davies preaching at Calfaria. It would seem that the - before his name was intended to be filled by an initial or first name, but that they never found out what it was. Also, "despite" is spelt in a curious way.

LOCAL PULPITS - Mr - Davies of Clydach Vale, a blind preacher, preached to large and appreciative audiences at Calfaria Chapel on Sunday. Dispite this handicap, Mr Davies is a powerful and effective preacher.

The Labour Voice newspaper, January 19th 1924 reports on a meeting of the Calfaria Chapel Young People's Society:-


Mr J Gethin Evans presided over the meeting of the Calfaria Chapel Young People's Society on Wednesday evening, and an enjoyable time was spent by the large audience present. A fine programme was gone through, as follows:- Solos: Misses Bessie Davies, Mrs W J Lewis, and Miss Mary Lewis. Recitations: Misses Irene Lewis, Ella Thomas, and Mary Lewis. Reading unpunctuated matter, Miss Agnes Lewis; short paper, Miss Annie Jane Thomas.
During the evening Mr William Jones, "Garddfa" addressed the meeting.

The Labour Voice newspaper January 26th 1924 includes news of the start of practising for Baptist festival to be held in June at Coelbren:-


The preacher at Calfaria Chapel on Sunday next will be the Rev T Davies, Resolven.

The "ysgol ganu" at Calfaria Chapel in preparation for the gumanfa of the Baptists to be held at Colbren in June, has been started, and the first one held last Sunday was a distinct success, under the baton of Mr Theophilus Jones.

The Labour Voice newspaper Saturday Saturday April 10th 1926 reports on a "Wireless Concert" held at the chapel:-

A happy time was spent by the members of Calfaria Chapel on Good Friday when a social and wireless concert was held. The event, which was the first of its kind, was a success, financially and otherwise. Following a well prepapred team a wireless concert was held, being received on a set belonging to Mr W Davies, Brecon Road. Various stations were heard and those present expressed appreciation of Mr Davies' generosity in loaning the set. All the ladies worked hard to ensure the success of the event.

The Labour Voice newspaper Saturday August 28th 1926 reports on renovations to the chapel:-

The fraternity of Calfaria Chapel are busily engaged in renovating the interior and exterior of the edifice. Rev B Lewis, Salem, Llangyfelach, preached at Calfaria on Sunday. Special services are to be held there on Wednesday evening and Thursday, Sept 1 and 2, when the preacher will be the Reb Morgan Jones, M.A., Whitland

The South Wales Voice newspaper for 25th February 1933 reported on the audit of Calfaria's Sunday School


At Calfaria Sunday School on Sunday, Councillor Tom Wathan, auditor, reported on the audit of the accounts for last year. He complimented the secretary, Mr David Morris, and treasurer, Mr Harry P Evans on the manner in which they had kept the books and prepared the accounts. The balance sheet was adopted.

The South Wales Voice 17th November 1945 included a note about Calfaria Chapel:-

Calfaria Chapel - The evening service at the chapel last Sunday was of a miscellaneous nature. Miss Margaret Davies read the lesson and others who took part were Miss Lallie Puntan, Mrs Nancy Jones, Mr Willie Rogers, Mr W Walters. Elocutionist, Mrs Millier (Eithinferch), Mr Caradog Jones, Ken Jones and Jackie James, string trio. The accompanist was Mrs Trevor Jones-Davies. The meeting was presided over by Mr Rees G Richards, and thanks to the artises were proposed and seconded by Mr J C Davies and Johnny Jones.

Y Sul nesaf pregethir gan Miss May Williams, Llundain

The South Wales Voice of 30th October 1948 reports on who the preacher at Calfaria would be that coming Sunday. This was a usual feature of the Llais, mentioning guest preachers.

Pulpit News - The preacher at the Calfaria Chapel next Sunday will be the Rev. J.S. Williams, Tumble.

The South Wales Voice of 20th November 1948 similarly commented on a visiting preacher:-

Pulpit News - Rev Issac E Thomas, B.A., B.D., Glanamman, will officiate at Calfaria Baptist Chapel next Sunday, services at the usual times.

Ministers of Calfaria

The South Wales Voice newspaper, Saturday 29th November 1930 includes an article on the pastor of the English Cong, Ystradgynlais leaving the area, during which service the Reverend W S Rowe of Calfaria took a leading part.


There was a large audience at the farewell meeting of the Reverend and Mrs D T Evans, English Cong Church, Ystradgynlais, on their departure to Markham Holly Bush, Newport, Monmouthshire. The Reverend Melville Phillips, Ystalyfera, presided and the meeting was opened by the recicitation of the 120st Psalm by Miss Brenda Stephens. Recicitations were also given by Miss Laura Rees, and Mrs Nancy Evans.
The devotional part was taken by the Reverend W S Rowe, Calfaria.


Reverend D J Moses, BA, Sardis, said the departure of Mr Evans would be a loss to the place and also to the Welsh churches, for Mr Evans had always been ready to help them. Others who spoke were Reverends Aman Jones, Ystalyfera; Sol. W James, Ystradgynlais; E T Evans, BA, Ystalyfera; and W S Rowe, Calfaria.
Verses composed for the occasional were read by Mr Howell Powell, Cwmgiedd.
Mr Idris Morris presided at the organ.

The South Wales Voice newspaper for Saturday 13th July 1935 reported on the death of the sister of the Rev W S Rowe of Calfaria Chapel:-

Local Pastor's Bereavement

At the quarterly meeting of the Ystalyfera District Baptists at Nantyffin on Wednesday evening of last week, a vote of sympathy was passed for the Rev W S Rowe Calfaria in his bereavement, he having lost his sister.

The Voice newspaper, 14th April 1966 reported on the death of Reverend H Spencer Morgan, Minister of Bethania Baptist Chapel, Crynant, and Calfaria Chapel, Ystradgynlais:-


The death of Reverend H Spencer Morgan, Minister of Bethania Baptist Chapel, Crynant, and Calfaria Chapel, Ystradgynlais, occurred suddenly at his home, "Y Gorlan", School Road, Crynant.
Mr Morgan who was 64 years of age was educated at Pagefield College, Carmarthen, and the Baptist College, Bangor. He was ordained at Calfaria Chapel, Gilfachgoch, in July 1929 where he ministered for 19 years, married, and raised his family.
In September 1948 they left this country and settled in Sidney, Australia, where Mr Morgan became minister of Petersham and Sutherland Baptist Chapels for 4 years. He started a Sunday school at nearby "Gymea" which became the nucleus of a new church later.


Mr Morgan worked with great vigour and preached with his usual "Welsh Hwyl". He was not happy with the English language and longed to return to Wales to preach in his mother tongue.
"Hiraeth" for the "Old Country" prevented his settling in Australia for more than 4 years.
The family returned to Wales, where Mr Morgan received a call to minister at Bethania, Crynant, where his father, the Rev John Morgan, was the first minister, and Calfaria, Ystradgynlais, where he preached with a richness of experience and fervour, never sparing himself in any form of ministerial work.


The Reverend Spencer Morgan will be greatly missed, but "earth's loss is Heaven's gain".
He was an unassuming, shy man by nature, disliked the limelight, and was always happy to serve cheerfully in the background.
His talent as a preacher is known in all the churches he visited. His conviction was profound and truly he lived for the "cause" he loved so well, and for the work of the Lord.
Mr Morgan preached at a memorial service and administered his final communion at Calfaria, Ystradgynlais.
His memorial will be that the churches should "be strong in the Lord and in the power of his Might and having done all to stand firmly in the Faith"
Mr Morgan is survived by his wife, a son, and a daughter.

The Voice of April 21st 1966 reported on the funeral of the Rev H Spencer Morgan:-


The funeral of the Reverend H Morgan of Calfaria Chapel, Ystradgynlais and Bethania Crynant, whose death at the age of 64 was reported in last week's Voice, took place at Crynant.
The large attendance of ministers was testimony to the esteem in which Mr Morgan was held.
Officiating minister was the Rev J D Thomas, and he was supported by the Reverend Emlyn Evans, Hubert Davies, Alun Davies, G T Matthews, R G Thomas, T S Roberts, Ellis Jones, W T Lloyd Williams, D J Davies, Idris Williams, and T Inwood Jenkins.
Mr Martin L Cowling spoke on behalf of Calfaria Chapel.


Contact Ystradgynlais History
Telephone : Available on Request

Email Yeargroup:
Email Wolfian Design:
Ystradgynlais Wargraves
How To Write Alternate History

Click the cover to purchase the paperback

How To Write Alternate History is a series of articles by Grey Wolf, examining subjects such as the identity of man, whether man makes the weather, how the everyday in an alternate world is going to be changed and what names for music, vehicles, weapons etc would be different.



A D Hair and Beauty, beauty parlour and tanning in Ystradgynlais

Penybont Sports Bar and Lounge
Apparel 5, at 16 Station Road (Pethau Plant)