Ystalyfera

History and Heritage

Saint James's, Godre'rgraig

Saint James's, Godre'rgraig was initially conceived as a parish hall, but was completed in 1914 as a combined hall and mission chapel. It celebrated its half-century in 1964, from which reports in the Llais a lot of the information below comes. We are not aware of any surviving photographs of Saint James's and would be indebted to anyone who could provide us with some to use on our website. Whilst officially described as a mission "chapel", the establishment was known generally as Saint James's Church.

From the book by John Henry Davies:-

ST JAMES' CHURCH GODRE'RGRAIG
The church of St James is a mission church at the village of Godre'rgraig, some 1½ miles distant from Ystalyfera. It was founded in 1914, first as a Parish Hall for Godre'rgraig. However, the Rev Secundus Jones prevailed on the local landowner that it should be a dual purpose building, namely Church and Hall in one. It is a simple stone structure with the bell tower on its western end and has a seating capacity of 120. The Church's 50th anniversary was celebrated in July 1964, at the time of the Feast of its patron, St James the Apostle.

From The Voice newspaper, 17th July 1964

50TH ANNIVERSARY OF SAINT JAMES'S, GODRE'RGRAIG

Special services will be held at Saint James's Church, Godre'rgraig later this month to mark the 50th anniversary of the consecration and opening of the church for public worship.

Older residents of Godre'rgraig will recall the time when the little mission church was being built and how the then-vicar, the late Rev Secundus Jones, approached the late Colonel Fleming Gough, who had donated the land and suggested that what was originally intended to be a parish hall for Godre'rgraig, should be a dual-purpose church. This was agreed.

The greatest treasures of the church are a solid silver medium-sized patten and chalice - donated by the Gough family - which is used at all the celebrations of the Holy Communion.

Recently, an altar rail and credence table were dedicated by the vicar, the Rev A G Lewis, in memory of the late Rev W I Griffiths, an old boy of the parish and former Vicar of Rhayader, who died in 1962.

Special services at the church will be held as follows: Thursday July 23rd, 10:30am Holy Communion; 7pm Evensong, the Rev Tom Kelly, Vicar of Gorthbrengi, Brecon, former curate of the parish, will be the preacher.

Sunday July 26th 9am Capital of the Holy Communion; 6pm Evensong, preacher the Rev Wynford Jones, Vicar of Clydach.

From The Voice newspaper, 31st July 1964

GODRE'RGRAIG CHURCH ANNIVERSARY

Attendances at Saint James's Church, Godre'rgraigg were good for the 50th aniversary of the church.

On Thursday the Rev Tom Kelly, Vicar of Garthbrengi, was the special preacher and on Sunday evening the Rev J Wynford Jones, Vicar of Clydach. Most impressive sermons were preached on both occasions.

The services were conducted by the Vicar, the Rev A G Lewis and the Lessons were read by the Churchwardens - Messrs Willie Rees - who has been churchwarden for 40 years, and has given wonderful service to the church in this office, and Emlyn Morgan. The organist was Mrs Emlyn Morgan.

On Sunday morning, the vicar dedicated an Oak Font Cover and Brass Font Ewer in memory of Mrs Betty Ball. The Font Cover was the gift of her husband, Mr David Ball, and the Font Ewer the gift of her mother, Mrs Powell.

The Vicar, in his address, referred to the good qualities of Mrs Ball, who was such an active worker in church affairs. She was a Sunday school teacher and a member of the Parochial Church Council. Her passing at the early age of 36 years brought about a deep sense of sorrow and loss for the church and amongst her many friends.