Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Coelbren Chapel

Coelbren Church is a Church in Wales chapel in the village of Coebren, up the hill from Abercrave on the road to Glynneath.



The Llais Llafur of 30th May 1914 records the extension of Coelbren Church :-

COLBREN CHURCH EXTENDED
OPENING BY BISHOP OF ST. DAVID'S

Tuesday last was a notable day in the history of Colbren Church, for it marked the reopening of this edifice after important structural alterations and extensions. The work which has been in hand for several months, was designed by Mr J Cook Rees, of Neath, and has been carried out by Mr Henry Smith, contractor, of Kidderminster. The alteration has resulted in an increase in the seating accommodation from 105 to 180, and has cost roughly £600.
The reopening ceremony was performed by the Lord Bishop of St. David's, Dr Owen, who also attended a luncheon in the schoolroom, prior to the ceremony, the caterers being Mr Shopland, of Prices' Arms. Mr J B G Price presided at the luncheon, and supporting him in addition to the Bishop were Mr and Mrs J E Moore-Gwyn, Dyffryn; Mr and Mrs C F Gilbertson, Abercrave House; Mrs Gough, Yniscedwyn House; Mrs Jenkin G Hughes, Abercrave; Mr Howell Price, Ongar, Essex, and a large number of local clergy including the Revs J G Hughes, Abercrave; D Hughes, Callwen; Ogwen Davies, Cray; J Davies, Rural Dean, Devynock; J. Jones, and J. H. Harris, Ystradgynlais; and J. Secundus Jones, Ystalyfera. The Vicar of Colbren (Rev John Williams) was unfortunately unable to attend owing to illness.

BISHOP'S ADDRESS
At luncheon Mr Moore-Gwyn, J.P., proposed the health of the Bishop, and in replying His Lordship referred to the great efforts made in the diocese during the past three years in regard to the building of new churches and the restoration of ancient edifices. He looked forward to the future with confidence. In regard to the present situation, as far as the Welsh Bill was concerned, he said he regretted to read in the press accounts of resolutions passed at various religious assembles against any concessions in the Welsh Bill. All that feverish excitement in passing drastic resolution showed that those who supported the Bill did not look to the future with very great confidence. They did not know, of course, what the future would bring forth, but he (his lordship) was quite certain that the ultimate fate of the Bill would not be settled in Parliament, but in the country. (Hear, hear).

THE OPENING CEREMONY
Subsequently, Dr Owen consecrated the new burial ground, and the deeds were signed by the Bishop, the Rural Dean and the Vicar of Ystradgynlais.
Then the choir entered the Church singing "Onward, Christian Soldiers," and a formal service specially prepared for the occasion, was taken by the Rev J G Hughes, and the Rural Dean, the Bishop preaching the sermon. Upwards of 250 persons attended, and there was also a large gathering in the evening, when a Welsh service was taken by the Vicar of Devynock. After the reopening service, the Bishop proceeded to Dyffryn, where he was the guest of Mr and Mrs Moore Gwyn.
Prior to the proceedings on Tuesday, about £500 had been raised towards the cost of the extensions, and we understand that the collection on that day will practically clear the expenditure made.

GIFTS TO THE CHURCH
Several handsome gifts have been made to the Church including a lectern by Messrs J B G Price and Vaughan Rice Price; candlesticks, altar desk, service books and mats by Mr and Mrs Moore-Gwyn, Dyffryn; cross and vases by Mr and Mr C F Gilbertson, Abercrave House; Glastonbury chair by the children of the Rev and J Williams, Colbren; books for reading desk, and mats by the Mothers' Union.

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