Pillars Of Faith
Remembrance of Nonconformist and other chapels in The Rhondda
More Facts And Figures
This page will act as a stepping stone for additional content.
In my introduction on the project page I made reference to the quotation that first appeared in E.D. Lewis's excellent book 'The Rhondda Valleys' published in 1958 .
The source of the quotation was The Royal Commission On The Church Of England And Other Religious Bodies In Wales And Monmouthshire 1910. Volume Six (Appendix) includes Nonconformist statistics as at 1905.
I have transcribed the section relevant to the Rhondda Urban District which now appear on the following pages omitting the financial statistics. I have kept the original pagination as it appeared in the volume. All appropiate chapels (those that are already listed on this site) have been hyper-linked back to their original entry which now gives the user another method of accessing an individual chapel (use the browser's back button to return to the source page).
Quite understandably, the report lists chapels that are not currently present. What is not so understandable is that there are also chapels that I would have expected to see quoted but they are not there. In addition, there are some significant variations in the quoted seating capacities when compared to the official yearbooks/handbooks.
One matter that I will mention as it was quoted on the pages was that one chapel was included although its incorporation was later than 1905. So, in this context, the 151 has now become 150.
If you have followed the review that is discussed here, you could well have come to the same conclusion as mine that the statistics are incomplete and inaccurate. I consider it unforgivable to exclude any denomination from the count however small. Would that have happened to one of the larger ones if they had not been represented at the initial meeting ?. So, apart from the Unitarians, the Salvation Army was also excluded (information of whom would have been invaluable to this researcher).
There are all manner of inconsistencies when one compares the various sources and I summarise these here. It crossed my mind to present an alternative figure of seating accomodation based on the evidence. However, would that, given implied innacuracies in the denomination publications, be more accurate than what has been handed down over the last 100 years ?. History should only be re-written if the source is indisputable.
If you look closely, you will find the same names repeating themselves in different communities.
Naturally, the inspiration for most of the names comes from The Bible so I will now present a list and an explanation of their origin.
The database provides an alternative method of viewing the list of Ministers. Select a surname and a denomination (or ".." for all denominations) and you will see a list of all matching names (in a scrollable window), the chapel, or circuit, they served (hyper-linked to a full display record - the link for the circuit will go to a list of the chapels within that circuit for the dates covered and then a further link to the individual chapel) and start and, wherever possible, end dates of that Ministry.
To view just the Ministers for a particular chapel you click the tab on the main display screen. If there are no Ministers for that particular chapel, the tab will not be active.
Note: These lists are by no means complete and others will be included as information becomes available. All the major denominations are covered. The most complete list is of the Wesleyan Methodists.
My original idea was to simply verify, wherever possible, the published statistics (especially those of sittings). However, when I started to read the report, there was much more to offer which I now present on the following pages.
The Rhondda has produced many famous sons. Yet some others, of distinction, have gone relatively un-sung.
In this latter category I would include Moses Owen Jones who came to the Rhonnda in 1863 and spent the rest of his life there. He was the schoolmaster of Treherbert Boys (Mrs Jones looked after the girls) and was the musical director at Carmel, Treherbert. Beyond that, he was an accomplished choirmaster and composer. A local historian, he also composed several essays and was successful in both National and other eisteddfodau.
For the 1902 National Eisteddfod he wrote, under his non-de-plume 'Silarist', a 300+ page essay - 'The History of the Parish of Ystradyfodwg'. This document is retained at The National Library of Wales. For anyone with an interest in this it is a most fascinating read. Like many of his peers, he does rely on that version of history somewhat altered by Iolo Morganwg but he can not be blamed for that. More eminent historians, at that time, were equally fooled.
Of interest to this site is an entire chapter devoted to the development of Nonconformity in the parish. As well as the text, the essay includes tables of the chapels over three decades. There are some errors in the tables - maybe geography was not on the curriculum of the school. Neither are they complete. But these should not detract from the overal value of them which contain information which can not be readily obtained, with ease, from other sources. I have, with written consent of The National Library of Wales, transcribed the entire chapter which can be read on the following pages.
[Note: There is a document in the Treorchy reference library which purports to be a transcript of this essay. However, this document bears no similarity whatsoever to the original]
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