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This article was prepared by M. A. V. Gill in 2005 for the "Glasbury Book" (unpublished),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


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!’”.


During 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