Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Nant-y-Ffin Chapel, Penycae

Due to the condition of the building it was closed for services in the summer of 2011 but the cemetery remains open. Nant y Ffin Baptist Chapel Penycae was built in 1809 and renovated in 1833. The cause started in the house of Will Llewellyn in 1795.

From the South Wales Voice newspaper, 13th July 1946:-


The Church at Nant y Ffin celebrated its 150th anniversary on Wednesday and Thursday, 3rd and 4th of July. It was memorable occasion and those present will never forget the great spiritual atmosphere which prevailed from the very outset.

The services were conducted by the pastor the Rev E S Cox, who, in a few well chosen words welcomed all the visitors and old friends of Nant y Ffin.

On Wednesday evening the services opened with a reading and prayer by the Rev C J Pipe Whitchurch, a former pastor of the church. This was followed by two powerful discourses from Prof Emlyn Davies Cardiff and Rev Herbert Morgan Aberystwyth, the latter having spent his early years in this district.

The chapel was filled to overflowing on Thursday afternoon when several speakers bore witness to the great work done by this little church in promoting the gospel throughout the valley of the Tawe. The pastor presided and the service opened with reading and prayer by the Rev Hubert Davies Ystradgynlais. The representatives of the various organisations were then called upon to say a few words.

The first speaker was County Councillor Howell Watkins J P who had been secretary of the church for many years and he gave an account of the progress of the cause during his long period of office. He was followed by Mrs Jones Dolycoed, speaking on behalf of Noddfa Abercrave. Mrs Jones who is well over 80, kept the congregation spellbound for over 10 minutes with her timely and well chosen words of hope and encouragement. Mr David Lewis J P Wernddu, spoke on behalf of Moriah, Colbren and described how the latter church was the fruit of the seed sown at Nant y Ffin. Other speakers included Mr Ithel Llewellyn, on behalf of Tynycoed; Rev W P Thomas, Cwmtwrch, on behalf of the West Glamorgan Baptist Association; and Mr Gwilym Phillips, Cwmtwrch on behalf of the Ystalyfera District Meeting.

The president then read out two very interesting letters, one from the Rev Richard Hopkins, Queens County Canada, who had been brought up in Nant y Ffin and another from Rev E D Lewis Ystalyfera, in which he regretted his inability to be present. Mr Tudor Watkins MP sent a telegram of congratulations from the House of Commons. After the singing of 'Y Delyn Aur' by the special request of the Rev Richard Hopkins, two short addresses were given by the Rev C J Pipe and Rev Herbert Morgan. A memorable service brought to a close by the singing of a well-known hymn and the benediction by the Rev Robert Beynon Abercrave.

Tea was provided between the services by the sisters of the church and great credit is due to them for the generous way in which they provided for the needs of all present.

The concluding service on Thursday evening, opened with a reading and prayer by the Rev D M Davies Tynycoed. Two heart searching sermons were preached by the Rev D H Morgan Clydach and Prof Emlyn Davies Cardiff, to a crowded congregation.

The service concluded with prayer by the Rev W Williams Blackwood Monmouthshire.

Nant-y-Ffin Chapel, Penycae

Nant-y-Ffin Chapel Cemetery, Penycae

The Llais Llafur of 2nd May 1914 has an interesting story, regarding the famous Welsh bard Ben Bowen:-


There was a good audience at Nantyffin Chapel on Wednesday evening, when the Rev Robert Beynon B.A., Carmel, gave a very interesting lecture on "Ben Bowen", the famous young Welsh bard.
Mr Beynon is an authority on this eminent author, who was so persecuted for his alleged unorthodoxy and his lecture was all the more enjoyable by reason of his enthusiasm for the subject.
The Rev C J Pope presided, and the profits will be devoted to church funds.

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