The Parish Churches and Chapels in the Glasbury Area
This article was prepared by M. A. V. Gill in 2005 for the "Glasbury Book" (unpublished), and
was first published with annotations in Brycheiniog Vol XVIII 2012 . The excellent artwork is also by the same local author


This chapter will be dealing with local churches and chapels principally as buildings; but a church or chapel is more than an empty shell – it is a congregation of people who gather together in common worship, whether in prayer, praise and thanksgiving or in listening to the Word of God preached from the pulpit. At the beginning of the twenty-first century throughout the country many are in decline with waning numbers and ageing congregations. A hundred years ago the situation was very different: churches and chapels were all well attended, and each played an important role in the life of its community. J.W. Hobbs, reminiscing of his years as station booking clerk at Three Cocks (1902-1905), wrote that there were good congregations at St. Peter’s church, “chiefly the gentry, retired people, visitors at the Hotel, and some of the large farmers. Most of the working classes were chapel, except those employed at Gwernyfed or Tregoed. The strongest chapel was the Baptist at Glasbury, which was always full on Sunday nights, and often packed. Baptisms used to take place about once a year in the River Wye, which runs alongside the chapel. The chapel was the chief source of social entertainment. During the winter months was held what was called a Christian Union. The two Glasbury chapels and Felindre combined and held two entertainments in each chapel every winter. These always had to be arranged for the week of the full moon, so as to have moonlight on the way home. Our Three Cocks choir and band used to attend frequently. The chapel anniversaries were great events, both children and adults would take part and there were recitations and dialogues, solos, duets and quartettes. There were also frequent tea parties, lectures, Christian Endeavour and Prayer meetings, and concerts, but only on rare occasions were outside artistes engaged; we made our own amusements. Sometimes we would go farther afield, to Penrhoel or Maesyronen chapels or All Saints church, always on foot. We were not afraid of walking in those days;”



Less than half a mile from Aberllynfi church lies the site of Pipton or Peperton chapel, whose foundation also may predate the Norman Conquest. Although the earliest specific references come from the latter part of the twelfth century, when Kenebano and Renegim (chaplains of Piperton) were witness to deeds among the charters of Brecon Priory, it was probably one of the chapels granted by Bernard de Newmarch to the abbot and monks of St. Peter’s abbey at Gloucester. It is mentioned on several occasions in the chartulary of Gloucester in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Geoffrey de Hennelawe (Bishop of St. David’s 1203-1214) names Pipton and its chapel in a charter confirming the abbey’s possessions in Wales; and Glasbury is referred to as the mother church. In 1325 the abbot undertook to provide a priest to minister daily in Pipton chapel during the lifetime of Lady Etheldreda, and three times a week after her death. Following the dissolution of the monasteries, Pipton was granted to the Bishop of Gloucester, and its tithes and emoluments ‘together with all landes tenements, rent portions and pensions’ were leased.

Sometime during the eighteenth century the chapel fell into disuse. The local historian Jane Williams lived for a period around 1824 at Pipton Cottage; she states that: ‘Even tradition has forgotten the site of Pipton Chapel, of which every vestige was effaced during the same century from Pipton Green’. However, a surveyor’s report for the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1855 mentions the remains of the chapel; further particulars added in the Glanusk (1911) edition of the History of Brecknockshire noted that the foundations could still be seen to the left of the river Llynfi, just below Pipton Bridge; and the site is marked on earlier ordnance survey maps (close to the hawthorn covered tump).


Three chapels-of-ease for Glasbury are listed in Edward Lhwyd’s parochial queries of 1697: “Capel y felindra. Capel y Klâs. Kapel y ffin”. In notes made at the beginning of the nineteenth century Jonathan Williams remarked that both Velindre and Pipton chapels “have been suffered to fall into decay and ruin, and the whole duty has been transferred to the church of Clasbury”. The tithe map of 1841 marks the ‘site of Old Church’ in the triangle of land on which the village hall now stands, and a few stones at the rear of this building may have been part of the ruins. However, an ancient archway incorporated into the porch of Gwernyfed Old Hall is reputed to have come from the nearby chapel; this would indicate a Norman date for its construction. Otherwise, little is known of the chapel at Velindre. The earliest specific references are to be found in the oldest of St. Peter’s registers, where there are occasional records of baptisms, marriage and burials from the 1660s onwards, the latest burial having taken place at Velindre on 27th February 1714(5).

An account book of the overseers of the poor of the parish of Glasbury around the turn of the nineteenth century contains minutes of parish meetings stated to have been held at Velindre chapel. The accounts include payments for ale or cider consumed at the meetings, also for the use of the house. On 31st January 1794 the overseer was “ordered to Pay Wm. Williams at necessity and for the Trouble of the House at this meeting”. Although the chapel had fallen into disuse many years earlier, it would seem from these entries that part at least of the building was still standing and inhabited by one of the poorer parishioners who was paid for providing houseroom for the meetings several times a year. In February 1801, the “trouble of the house” was thoughtfully paid for in kind with “a Bag of coal for 2/6”.


Among the papers of the Rev. John Williams (vicar of Glasbury 1720-1749) is a copy of his reply to a questionnaire dating from about 1745. In response to a series of questions relating to any chapels within the parish, he wrote: “There are three Ruinated Chapels in the Parish where Divine Service has not been performed within the memory of Man to wit: Glasbury Chapel and Pipton Chapel both within a quarter of a Mile to the Place where the old church was and Velindre Chapel which is about a mile distant from the Parish Church”. The precise location of Glasbury Chapel is uncertain; it was possibly in the vicinity of Cwmbach. It is mentioned in two mid-seventeenth century documents. In one dated 3rd November 1647, Ievan Thomas carpenter purchased a messuage with an orchard and two gardens in the village between Gardd y gove, the land of Roger William John David and the house of Watkin Prosser, and lying “both sides the waie that leadeth from Glasburie Church towards the Chapell of Glasburie”; and on 30th May 1657, Thomas leased “All that little p(ar)cell of land contayninge by Estimacon half a q(uar)ter of an acre or thereabouts lyinge between the pounde, the lande of the said Evan Thomas, and the waie leadinge from Glasburie church towards the Chapell there”.

Source : -- "A Chapter on the Churches and Chapels in the Parish of Glasbury " by M.A.V. Gill