History and Heritage

Wern Chapel Renovations 1957


Last Sunday night, Mr Timothy Jones, chairman of the Deaconate of Wern Chapel Ystalyfera, announced the splendid news through the Secretary, Councillor Elvet H Williams that a gift of $500 had been given to the church by Dr and Mrs Arthur D Waltz of Runnymede Avenue Lansdowne Pennsylvania USA.

The main purpose of the gift is to install in the chapel a stained glass window in memory of Mrs Waltz's grandparents, Mr Thomas Edwards, who was a deacon at Wern Chapel from 1869 to 1884, when he immigrated to America with his wife Mary, taking their five-year-old granddaughter Sarah Davies, now Mrs Waltz, with them.

In the letter accompanying the cheque Mrs Waltz refers nostalgically to the visit she and her husband made to Ystalyfera last August, her first return trip since leaving Ystalyfera 72 years before.

She stated that their stay here was one of the happiest episodes in their lives. The warm welcome they received from the residents, especially from the members of Wern Chapel where she, as a toddler, first learned to recite verses from the Scriptures, touched her deeply.


If she will not forget her visit here last year, neither will those who had the pleasure and privilege of meeting her and her gentlemanly husband. They both left a deep impression here.

None of the large congregation present at the farewell social held at Wern Chapel on the eve of their return to the USA will ever forget the speech of the doctor and the wonderful singing in Welsh of his talented and charming wife who at one time had been a singer of high repute.

Dr and Mrs Waltz also asked Councillor Elvet Williams to convey their kindest regards to all concerned in their reception at Ystalyfera.

Plans for the renovation of the chapel have been under consideration for some time. The installation of this memorial stained-glass window will now be included in these plans.



After being closed for many months for renovations and repairs Wern Welsh Independent Chapel Ystalyfera was officially reopened at an open-air ceremony in the main road in front of the chapel last week. The Rev Edwin J Davies Gurnos presided.
Mr Jenkin E Jones treasurer of the church read from Psalms 121 and 122.
This was followed by a hymn led by Miss R A Davies precentor of the church.
The president of the prayer and then called on Mr D R Williams to hand the key to the senior member of the, 83-year-old Mrs Gwenllian Jones, to open the doors.
Therefore work was also well in evidence in the new recess and stairway leading down to the vestry.
During his address, the Rev Davies warmly congratulated the officers, deacons and members of the Wern Chapel.

Mrs Oswald Griffiths, the donor of the new pairs of lobby glass panelled doors said she had given them to the Glory of God and to the memory her parents, Mr William Davies who was a deacon and her mother.
Two stained-glass windows were presented to the church by two people who came to this country two years ago from the USA.
They are Dr and Mrs Waltz. While on their visit they attended services in the Wern. Mrs Waltz, who is 79, was born in Wern Road Ystalyfera and went to the States when only 5 ½ with her grandparents.
It was to their memory that Mrs Waltz and her husband presented the Windows, one on each side of the pulpit.

Mr Timothy Jones, chairman of the deaconate, pay tribute to the contractors and all connected with the work of renovating the chapel.
A tablet to the memory of the chapel's late minister, the Rev E T Evans, who what held the pastorate for 35 years, was then unveiled by his eldest son, the Rev Lloyd Evans, Torrington Devon.
His mother, Mrs Evans, his sister Mrs Monica Evans and brother, Mr Lyn Evans, organist of the Wern, were also present.
Miss Megan Williams then sang a solo and a sermon was preached by the Rev E Eurfin Morgan, Tumble, who also preached in the evening.
The Rev Iorwerth Jones, Pantteg presided during the evening service.

The reopening ceremonies were carried on Sunday with the Rev Rees H Thomas Williamstown Rhondda as a guest preacher. He also presided at a special children's service.
All who took part were young members of Wern Chapel.
During the evening service, Miss Mair Thomas, the well known contralto sang a solo.
Among the local ministers and clergy who attended the opening ceremonies with the Rev T W Davies vicar of Ystalyfera; T Arfon Jones Soar; H Llewelyn Jones Jerusalem; T J Roberts Godre'rgraig; W T Thomas Rhiwfawr; Alwyn Lloyd Bethel Cwmtwrch; T Elfyn Jones Pontardawe; Dafydd Rowlands Brynamman; Cynwyn Davies Upper Cwmtwrch; D M Davies Tynycoed; W T Lloyd Ynysmeudwy; Harri Samuel Rhayadr.

Wern Chapel will celebrate its centenary in 1964.

The History and Heritage of Ystalyfera is put online by Swansea Valley researcher Val Trevallion and Wolfian Design. All copyright remains with the original copyright holder, and all original research is copyright Val Trevallion, YEARGroup.

You can contact Ystalyfera History by emailing: contact@ystradgynlais-history.co.uk or Val Trevallion by emailing yeargroup@hotmail.co.uk.


Penybont Sports Bar and Lounge