NONCONFORMIST CHAPELS AND MEETINGHOUSES
In a period when so many Nonconformist chapels
throughout Wales are being made redundant and demolished or converted
to secular use, no fewer than three in the parish of Glasbury appear
in Anthony Jones’ monograph Welsh Chapels (1984), listed as
buildings which should be “saved at all costs”: Maesyronen,
Capel-y-ffin and Treble Hill, each representative of a different
period and style of chapel building. In J.W. Hobbs’ reminiscences,
he describes the Chapel Sunday school Anniversaries as great events,
when children and adults would give songs and recitations: “One
year a grand ‘Dialogue’ was given by the men of the
Chapel. It was called ‘Noah’s Ark’ and the part
of the patriarch was taken by the white haired old stationmaster,
Mr. Jones. There were about a dozen men and boys taking part, but
the only two names I remember were a Mr. Holder and the jovial old
Precentor, Mr. James Morgan, who added a touch of humour by rushing
in, getting stage fright and instead of the grandiloquent speech
he should have delivered, looking blankly around and then blurting
out, ‘the river has ruz, and I’m feared as most of my
ships have been washed away’. I was a sinner who repented
and arrived after Noah had entered the Ark (the Chapel vestry),
and heard the solemn words from inside ‘Too late, too late,
the door is shut, you cannot enter now!’”.
CWMBACH WESLEYAN METHODIST CHAPEL
the summer months of 1805, a preacher was frequently to be seen
standing on the village green proclaiming the truth of God. Though
opposition could not quench his ardour, winter threatened to put
an end to the open-air preaching unless someone would volunteer
to provide accommodation for the visiting preacher and his horse.
The name of the preacher is forgotten, but oral tradition remembered
that of the woman who persuaded her husband to invite him to their
house: Sarah Price of Ciltwrch. After some years, the home at Ciltwrch
was broken up and meetings were transferred to Boughrood. However,
to the local squire Richard Hargest of Skynlas traversing his fields,
everything about him even the birds seemed to cry “Lost! Lost!
Lost!”; he climbed the mountains to pray alone, but found
no peace. Then, crossing a meadow one summer day, he heard the voice
of God saying “Give that corner of this meadow to the Methodists,
and build a chapel”. Accordingly in October the squire gave
the site for the chapel, subscribing handsomely towards its erection,
and on 1st December 1818 Cwmbach Chapel was dedicated to God. It
is typical of its period with its sidewall façade, slated
hipped roof and pointed round-headed windows. In 1836, on learning
that a young woman of the membership who was dying had expressed
a wish to be buried near the sacred chapel, he gave the adjacent
land for a burial ground. For himself, he intended that his own
body should be buried “on the west side next the Turnpike
Road of the same Yew tree as my brother Robert Hargest and rest
of his family are buried under about one yard from the Trunk of
the Tree in Glasbury Church Yard and a Tombstone erected over me
at the discretion of my executors”.
In 1867 the chapel was renovated, and during the 1880s there were
further improvements to the interior, including the replacement
of the candlesticks with lamps and a chandelier, the lowering of
the pulpit and replacement of the old communion table; and the exterior
of the building was stuccoed, as it is today. One of the tombstones
in the chapel yard records the sad fate of James Bynon, “an
esteemed leader and local preacher of the Wesleyan Connection”.
On 28th September 1850, he and his seventeen-year old son were both
drowned in the River Wye with three other persons “while attempting
to cross the river in a ferry boat after the fall of Glasbury bridge”.
Oppressed with grief, having witnessed the untimely death of her
husband and only son, his widow died within a month.
Source : -- "A
Chapter on the Churches and Chapels in the Parish of Glasbury "
by M.A.V. Gill