Friday, 3 June 2011

Bwlchgwynt Vestry

Front of Vestry by roadside.
Plaque just visible on left embedded in the side of the steps to upper floor.
Probably the ground floor was used as a stable.

Rear of Vestry by graveyard.
c. Pearl and Bill Harries

Plaque set into Vestry side wall:

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Ciffig Church 1710

From Genuki
Griffiths, G. Milwyn. A Visitation of the Archdeaconry of Carmarthen, 1710   National Library of Wales journal. 1974, Summer Vol XVIII/3.
Extracted onto the pages of GENUKI with the kind permission of the National Library of Wales

The walls of the Chancell & Church should be new rendred. The Glass-windows mended & the floor made even. No Canons, Homilies, nor Table of Degrees. No house nor glebe for the Minister. [f. 35] Mr James Morgan Curate to Mr Philips, who lives at Llacharn the Mother Church & is diligent in his duty there, is resident here . 75  Mr Morgan has the small Tyths to his own use, & besides 20 £ a year out of the augmentation made to Lacharn paid at four quarterly payments. Prayers are read here once every Sunday, & every other Sunday here is a Sermon in Welsh or English. The Children are catechiz'd every Sunday. There are in the Parish two dissenting Families. There was a Meeting house here about 3 years since, but upon proceedings against the Preacher at the Quarter-Sessions at the charge of Mr Philips for serving more Congregations than one, this Meeting was & continues to be deserted. Bread & wine at Easter found by the Impropriator. Communicants at Easter about 60. at other times from 10 to 20. Families in the Parish about 60. An Ash growing out of the wall & Ivy on the (Church, deleted) wall at the west end of the Church, & Ashes growing in several places out of the wall on the South side & at the east end of it should be destroy'd & the wall new pointed.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Bwlchgwynt Graves

c. Keith Bowen

More information on Bwlchgwynt Chapel and graves can be found on Keith Bowen's site at:
Keith has pictures of many of the graves and also some transcriptions - so please pay a visit.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Bwlchgwynt Chapel and Ministers

Bwlchgwynt - meaning Windy Gap/Pass

Plaque set into Vestry side wall:

  c. Humphrey Bolton under C.C.L.  Taken 2005

A plan of extension of  old Bwlchgwynt graveyard 1885
c. Pearl and Bill Harries

Interior of Bwlchgwynt
c. Pearl and Bill Harries

The following is taken from The History of Whitland by Rev'd William Thomas [1868] (translated into English by Ivor Griffiths)

Bwlchgwynt was built near Pal Mountain.
The 'cause' was stared here by the ministers of Molleston and Rhydwilym.  The ministers of the two churches preached here periodically for many years.  The connection remained from 1756-1794.
Members formed their own church here on 29th October 1794.
When incorporated the church only had 21 members, 19 from Molleston and two from Rhydwilym.  They were supported by ministers from the mother churches for four years after incorporation, i.e. until 1798.
In 1817 the Baptists held a Great Assembly at Bwlchgwynt.
In 1834 Bwlchnewydd received permission from Bwlchgwynt to be incorporated as a regular church on its own, but under the same minister.
Ministers form Bwlchgwynt were expanding their territory and would preach in Whitland on Sunday nights.  Baptists had been preaching here for about forty years before this at the Swan Inn on alternate Sundays with Henllan and Bethlemhem but had given up the work for many years.
The work was re-started by Messrs Davies and Thomas in 1845 and they preached in the Fisher's Arms (the house of Mr Hughes for many years).

The result of this preaching in Whitland was the building of Nazareth in Whitland in 1849 which opened in 1850.

John Thomas d. 1860 aged 60, buried at Bwlchgwynt,
 and one of the founders of Nazareth Chapel
c. Keith Bowen
All members of Bwlchgwynt living at Trevaughan and its vicinity left to form the church at Nazareth.

Possible 200 Year Celebrations in 1956 -
with a marvellous cake depicting Bwlchgwynt Chapel
c. Clifford James

Some Ministers
Rev'd WIlliam Williams (from Maenclochog) was ordained in 1798.  There were also three deacons: Benjamin Phillips (Garnwen), Theophilus Thomas (Blaenlliwe) and George Thomas (Gelli y Beili).
Rev'd Williams also oversaw the opening of Bwlchnewydd.
For a period Sunday services were held at Bwlchgwynt in the morning and Bwlchnewydd in the afternoon, with the sacrements in both places.  Later morning and afternoon services were held in both places on alternate Sundays.
Rev'd Williams served at Bwlchgwynt for 32 years and gave up in 1830 because of old age.

Rev'd Owen Williams was ordained in 1829 as an assistant to the old minister but served only until 1832.

Rev'd Zerubabel Davies was ordained in 1836, but did not serve here for long as he went to Australia.

The Rev'd D.Evans of Login preached successfully here for a while and baptised many.

Theophilus Thomas 1802-1874, Blaenlliwe, and David Davies 1818-1878  of Tycoch were members of Bwlchgwynt and were ordained as ministers of Bwlchgwynt and Bwlchnewydd on 4th May 1844.

Rev'd D.Davies

c. Ivor Davies
(From Ivor Davies, grandson) Baptised at Llanddowror December 12th 1818.  Baptist minister around 1840 for Bwlchgwynt and others, a travelling minister.  Known as 'Dai Twice'.  Died July 7th 1878.

Rev'd D.Davies buried at Bwlchgwynt
c. A.A.Thomas

Rev'd Morgan Jones
c. Clifford James
Served both Nazareth and Bwlchgwynt from 1906.
In 1937/8 he occupied the Chair of the Welsh Baptist Union.  Four year's later Rev'd Jones attended the World Baptist Conference in Philadelphia.

Rev'd Alun Davies
Alun Davies - tall gentleman in centre
c. Clifford James

Rev'd H.Roberts
Some congregation with Rev'd H.Roberts
c. Clifford James

Early Nonconformity

From History of Whitland by Rev'd William Thomas [1868] (translated by Ivor Griffiths)

Nonconformity started in the area with Eglwys y Palmawr (now Great Pale?) in Ciffig parish.
The chapel was formed by the venerable Stephen Hughes of Meidrim, Presbytarianism.  It is not known what year it was established.  Stephen Hughes was born in Carmarthen around 1623 and died in 1688 aged 65 years.
There is more on him in the History of Nonconformity in Wales.

Rev'd Owen Davies was a successor to Rev'd Hughes at Palmawr ad was ordained in 1688 - he was called Owen Davies of Henllan.  Rev'd Davies served at Palmawr for 8 years until 1696.
Palmawr is now a farmhouse, not far from the S.W.Railway.  "I have been told that there is a spot near the present house called 'twyn y Capel'".  (translates as 'chapel hillock'.)

Later the Palmawr congregation divided into two - one group went to Laugharne and the other to Henllan.

from Genuki - A History of Carmarthenshire
Lloyd, Sir John E., (Ed.). 2 vols., Cardiff, London Carmarthenshire Society (1935, 1939).

The Older Dissent--Expansion and Organisation
"It may be well to exemplify this process (of expansion) by giving some detail of the 'life history' of one or two of the 'mother-churches'...............No better example could be chose than the historic Presbyterian-Independent church of Henllan Amgoed. Henllan meeting house itself (1696-7) was but the metropolis of a far flung community which straggled over the whole of Carmarthenshire west of the river Cynin, and even strayed across the eastern Cleddau and the Crunwear brook into Pembrokeshire. Its members had been worshipping at private houses, duly registered in accordance with the Toleration Act; such were..................and Pal Mawr in Cyffig. The householder at Pal died, and the house ceased to be available, whereupon its congregation was diverted in part to Cefn Farchen, becoming in 1696 the Henllan congregation proper................"

Ciffig Church

The following is from a small booklet published in 1986 by Pauline Houseman entitled A Historical Guide to Ciffic.

Some History
The Book of Llandaff (written in the 12c from older documents) mentions Lann Ceffic as having 105 acres of land.
The earliest part of the church is 13c (Nave area) but it was rebuilt in the 15c.  It was remodelled after the Owain Glyndwr uprisings, the Chancel was added and a new Aisle added to the north - the rough arcade of three arches was made by piercing the original walls.  A massive tower was built on the west end.
There has possibly been a place of worship here for 1300 years.
There is no evidence that it was ever called Saint Cyffig or even Llangyffig.

1889/91 c. Church Plans Online
Plans are avilable to view online (Church Plans Online) - see list of links on right.

The church consists of a Nave, Chancel, North Aisle, Tower and Bellcot. 

There is one bell, inscribed Walter David (Davies?) Minister 1793.
The font is possibly from the 13c but has bene redressed.  The font cover is from 1973 in memory of Stanley Brace, Blaenffynnonau.
The south west door is not now used, there is evidence of a porch being once there.
There is a stoup to the right of the tower arch and a squint behind the pulpit.
To the right of the entrance gate is a stable (restored in 1978) which had at one time been used by the vicar to stable his horse.
One stone behind the east end of the church is a memorial to five children of Maurice and Amelia James Old Pale who died between 1871 and 1878 - all aged under 7 years.
In 1710 prayers were read every Sunday and evry other Sunday there was a sermon in either Welsh or English.  There were about 60 families in the parish.
Ciffig became independant of Laugharne in 1777 and the curate became the vicar.  He was paid £8 a year - half on Lady Day and half at Michaelmas - in the church porch between 9-11am.
Both Ciffig and Marros Churches were in receipt of Queen Anne's Bounty (for impoverished clergy).
In 1790 it is recorded that the church had two bells - 'one fell down'.  They also had a bier and black hearse-cloth.
In 1914-18 the regular congregation was around 30.  By 1930 it had fallen to about 6, but then the numbers increased again.
In the early 1920s Rev'd John Evans lived at the Vicarage in Red Roses and would walk the old paths to Ciffig Church - he handed Ciffig over to Whitland in 1925/6.  This broke the connection with Laugharne which went back to at least 1563.
In the 1980s services were held at 2.30pm every other Sunday.
Electricity came to the church in 1959 when lights were installed in the South Aisle, ceiling heaters were fitted later.  The North Aisle did not have lights until 1982/3.
In 1966 some restoration was carried out - the wooden partition at the base of the tower was rotten and replaced with  a stone wall.

Some Memorials Inside the Church
Opposite the south door by Robert Walters in memory of his wife, her parents William and Jane Jones of Sick (Syke) Farm, Red Roses.
Wiliam died aged 91 and Jane 100 years a few months apart in 1811.  The death of their 11 year old son is also commemorated.
The memorial was erected in 1814 (Robert lies under a stone to the east end of the North Aisle).
Nearby are the remains of two brothers aged 19 and 21 years who died within a few days of one another in 1775.

The East Wondow is of three lights:
Left - crown and IHS (Jesus Saviour of Man)
Centre - Jesus the good shepherd
Right - Badge of the Welch Reg, Prince of Wales feathers and Ich Dien - I Serve
Underneath is the motto of the regiment:
Gwll Angau na Chwilydd- Better Death Than Dishonour.
In memory of:
Cpt. Howells of the 8/5 Battalion Welch Regiment died of wounds on the 10th August 1915 on the hospital ship, Valdovic, off Gallipoli.  His name is inscribed on the Memorial at Helles, Turkey and who lived at the White Lion.  The memorial was from his father, William John Howells.
This window was made by the same craftsman who constructed the east window at Marros Church.

Additional information from Mrs Pearl Harries - Cpt. Howells was a pupil at Tremoilet School, then went on to Whitland Grammar School and later Aberystwyth Uni where he gained a  BA with Honours. He then moved on to work in Lampeter College before enlisting in the 1914 war.