History and Heritage

History of New Bethel Cemetery
Alltygrug, Ystalyfera

The New Cemetery in Ystalyfera was opened on the 31st May 1941. From the South Wales Voice newspaper:-


On Wednesday a new cemetery at Alltygrug was formally opened with the service of religious dedication. The land which is freehold was acquired by the members of Bethel Apostolic Church and the site adjoins the St David's Church yard. The entrance to the new cemetery confronts the new council houses at Penywern Road.

In the absence of Mr George Element, the oldest member of Bethel, Pastor Thomas Evans opened the gates leading to the cemetery. Despite the inclement weather a large congregation assembled representing all the Nonconformist sections in the locality. Following the opening of the gates, Pastor Evans and local ministers led the way to the cemetery site, where a religious service was held conducted by the Rev Ifor Jones Soar. After the singing of the hymn, the Rev E T Evans BA Wern read a portion of Scripture and the Rev E D Lewis Caersalem, offered a prayer of dedication.

On behalf of the members of Bethel, Pastor Evans thanked the local ministers and those present for their support. He said that the cemetery had been visualised as long as 22 years ago. Difficulties had then arisen but now the cherished ideal had been realised. Mr Evans emphasised that the new cemetery regulations did not place any restrictions as to the rites and ceremonies of the burial but everyone was at liberty to follow their own personal creed and belief. The service terminated with the singing of the hymn and the concluding prayer by the Rev Iorwerth Jones Pantteg.

Read more about Bethel Apostolic Church, Ystalyfera.

Approach to cemetery at Alltygrug.

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Turn Right at white gate to enter ground of Cemetery.

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New Cemetery Alltygrug site opened 1941.

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Cemetery enclosed by Fence with Penywern Estate in Background.

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View of Complete Cemetery.

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St David's Cemetery Alltygrug within trees to Left of Picture.

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The South Wales Voice newspaper recorded the first burial at the new cemetery in its 14th June 1941 edition:-

The funeral took place on Wednesday at the new Alltygrug Cemetery of Mr John Griffiths 34 Alltygrug Road Ystalyfera, who passed away at the age of 89 years.
This was the FIRST burial at the cemetery, which was opened recently.

The follow-up article from the Saturday 21st June 1941 edition enlarged upon this:-

As we briefly reported in our last issue the funeral of Mr John Griffiths 34 Alltygrug Road, took place at the New Cemetery. Pastor Tom Evans, Revs Iorwerth Jones Pantteg, Ivor Jones Soar, and W Mon Williams Brynamman officiated.
Mourners were: Mrs Ann Griffiths, widow; Messrs Tom and David Griffiths brothers; Miss Matilda Griffiths, sister; Mr David Jones brother in law; Mrs Eliz Jones, Mrs Ella Griffiths, sisters in law......................

Needless to say this Cemetery has like some others in the district suffered from neglect, although, over the past 2-3 years it has had its approach way cleared and the fencing maintained to ensure the local sheep no longer trample the grave sites.

I have attempted to cut my way through in past years but it looks as though another visit is on the cards after taking the photographs last year: in order to at least document the names left remaining on the headstones.
Val Trevallion

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