Ystradgynlais & District

History and Heritage

Rev W.P. Thomas of Beulah Chapel

Beulah Baptist Chapel in Cwmtwrch was built in 1834, rebuilt in 1860 and modified in 1903. Reverend W P Thomas took up his pastorate in January 1933 and retired in August 1951.

The South Wales Voice of 29th October 1932 records the W.P. Thomas accepting the call to Rev. W.P. Thomas to Beulah, Cwmtwrch.

Rev W P Thoms to Commence in New Year

The Rev W.P. Thomas, pastor of Bethel Welsh Baptist Chapel, New Quay, who has accepted the call to Beulah Baptist Chapel, Cwmtwrch, has tendered his resignation to his New Quay Church.
Mr Thomas, who went to Cardigan eight years ago, is a native of Llanelly. He is a powerful preacher and an assiduous worker.
He has previously held pastorates in North Wales and Tonypandy. Prior to entering Bangor Baptist College he was a well-known Rugby footballer.
He will commence at Cwmtwrch on the first Sunday in the New Year

The South Wales Voice newspaper, over time, summarised the career of the Reverend W.P. Jones of Beulah thus:-


The Rev W P Thomas of New Quay Cardiganshire was inducted to the pastorate of Beulah Chapel, Lower Cwmtwrch, on Thursday 5th January 1933.

A native of Llanelly, Mr Thomas was educated at Carmarthen Preparatory School and Bangor College. His first pastorate was at Anglesey, from where he moved to Tonypandy and then New Quay.

Prior to entering the ministry, Mr Thomas was a well known Rugby player. He has travelled extensively and has toured the United States on 2 occasions.

During the war he was in France as a chaplain to H M Forces. Mr Thomas has taken an active interest in the British Legion and was chaplain of the New Quay branch.

Mrs Thomas is also a native of Llanelly and is an accomplished musician, being an Associate of the London and Victoria Colleges of Music.

The South Wales Voice newspaper of 29th October 1932, reported on the call being accepted by the Rev W. P. Thomas, then at New Quay.

Rev. W.P. Thomas to Commence in New Year

The Rev W.P. Thomas, pastor of Bethel Welsh Baptist Chapel, New Quay, who has accepted the call to Beulah Baptist Chapel, Cwmtwrch, has tendered his resignation to his New Quay Church. Mr Thomas who went to Cardigan eight years ago, is a native of Llanelly. He is a powerful preacher and an assiduous worker. He has previously held pastorates in North Wales and Tonypandy. Prior to entering Bangor Baptist College he was a well-known rugby footballer.
He will commence at Cwmtwrch on the first Sunday in the New Year.

From the South Wales Voice Saturday 7th January 1933 came a report on his induction as pastor at Beulah.


The introduction of the Rev W P Thomas, New Quay, as pastor of Beulah Chapel, Cwmtwrch on Thursday, was marked by one of the strongest addresses ever given at such a meeting, when the Rev Ben James Tumble, a former pastor of the church, gave a message to the congregation. Mr James spoke very strongly on the duty of the members to their pastors.

The services opened on Wednesday evening, when the Rev E T Jones Llanelly, was the preacher. Mr Jones said that the modern inventions were fleabites as compared with the wonders of the creation of God. When we sin we were trying to destroy the work of God's hands. We should not expect God to do all for us; He only sought to help us on the way.


Mr James presided over the induction on Thursday afternoon and said they should always cheer our fellow beings who were in trouble.

Many people were anxious that their pastor should be Godly, while had no thought for their own Godliness. It was the duty of members to announce the good points of the Minister and to overlook his faults. None of them were perfect and they should remember that at all times, they should not encourage people who carried tales about others and especially concerning the pastor.

People who accepted and listened to such stories were likened to the whale that swallowed Jonah (laughter) but they were not as honest as the whale, who returned Jonah as he had swallowed him (more laughter).

A great deal was expected from the pastor by people who gave very little money to keep him alive. Some people spent more money on toys for their children then on the maintenance of their pastor.

Young men and women thought more of personal pleasure then of giving to keep God's man alive.

In conclusion he likened the member subscriptions to payment for a water supply and said it was for the means of conveying the water that we paid and not the water itself. The same thing applied to the gospel.


Mr Willie Evans, secretary of the church, gave a history of the call, in the course of a very able and interesting address. The new pastor, the Rev W P Thomas, replied and said he had a very difficult task to decide to accept the call.

The Rev Ivor Jones Soar Ystalyfera, offered the induction prayer and the induction him was impressively sung.

The Rev Dan Jones spoke on behalf of Beulah Church and extended a warm welcome to the new pastor. Mr Thomas had been officially welcomed on Sunday last, when he commenced his pastorate. It was worthy of note that the new pastor commenced duties at the beginning of the year.

An interesting address was given by Mr David Isaac Griffiths Cwmllynfell, chairman of the Ystalyfera District Meeting, who said Mr Thomas was coming to a district that was full of romance and history.

The Rev W P Jones Bethania, referred to the happy times he had spent with the Rev Ben James when he was pastor of Beulah. Mr James was more than a minister he was a friend to all. Mr Thomas was sure of a warm welcome and from what he (Mr Jones) had been told, Mr Thomas would fill his place in the district.

Speaking on behalf of Bethel Church, Councillor James Powell JP., extended to the new pastor a hearty welcome and said he was sure he would fight with all his might in the battle against sin.

Pastor George Griffiths, of the Mission Hall, said he had a very warm place in his heart for Beulah. In Cwmtwrch people measured one by what he was and not by speeches or actions alone. Wales had given ear to another gospel but the time was fast coming when the nation would return like the prodigal son.


Mr John Jenkins, on behalf of the churches at New Quay and Llwyndafydd, referred to the joy and sadness that prevailed at the service. It was an old custom for one church to draw away the pastor of another (laughter). He doubted that was fraternal and a Christian act (more laughter). The members at New Quay had enjoyed the pleasure of Mr Thomasís pastorate for eight years and would have continued to do so had they been given fair play (laughter). Mrs Thomas was also a very efficient and able worker in the cause and had been a great helpmate to Mr Thomas.

The Rev Esiah Williams Cardigan spoke on behalf of the Quarterly meetings at Cardigan. He said he had known Mr Thomas for over 20 years and they had been friends ever since they first met. They were not all made of the same clay, although it did not prevent them trying to be men. They liked sweet things at various times and like to hear good things said to and of themselves but they were not always ready to listen to the truth.


Mr Will John MP., who is a close friend of the new pastor, said that it was not every producer that could consume his own wares. Such was the case of the ironmongers (laughter) but Mr Thomas preached for the good of his own soul as well as those of the congregation.

Mr Thomas was fortunate in that he had a large number of young people in the church membership. It was a good sight to see young people attending the church. In the Rhondda district young people were ignoring the cause. The young people of Cwmtwrch had a staunch friend in Mr Thomas, who would help them at all times.

Emerson said that "a friend was one to whom you can think aloud." He (Mr John) urged the new pastor to look after the youth of the church who were the hope of the world. Mr Thomas was an able and safe leader; there was no better leader than the pastor of a church. Mrs Thomas had always been a fine helpmate to her husband. A ministerís wife was not his curate and she should not be regarded as such by the members. The pastor alone was responsible for the church and not his wife and family. Mrs Thomas was a total stranger to the district and he felt sure that the people would take to their hearts. He was confident that the church of Beulah would never regret their action in calling upon Mr Thomas to become their pastor.


The Rev L Glasnant Young, Llandovery spoke at length on the need for spiritual awakening. He said that people measured the success of the church by the amount of noise and rushing about that was connected with it. Signs of activity could not always be regarded as indications of prosperity. Mr Young paid a tribute to Beulah church for their support to him.

The service was opened by the Rev Rufus Roberts Rhandirmwyn; a product of Beulah church, while the Rev Hugh Evans, Philadelphia Swansea, closed with a prayer. The Rev Esiah Williams Cardigan, preached on Thursday evening, the introductory part being taken by the Rev J Glyn Davies Llanwrtyd, a product of the church.

Mr Richard Davies presided at the organ. The singing was very impressive.

The building was filled on Thursday afternoon, there being two coach loads from New Quay and Llanelly. There were present representatives of all denominations in the district.

The South Wales Voice Saturday 14th January 1933 records the social to welcome the new Reverend, combining with the annual Christmas Tree party:-

The members of Beulah Chapel gave their new pastor, the Rev W.P. Thomas, a hearty welcome at a social held at the vestry on Monday evening last. The annual Christmas Tree in connection with the Sunday school took place at the same time. The Rev. Dan Jones welcomed Reverend and Mrs W.P. Thomas, the former responding.
The vestry and Christmas Tree had been prettily decorated, the painting having been carried out by Mr Morgan Evans, Cwmphil. The tree was presented by Mr Gwynfor Griffiths. Over 400 sat down to an enjoyable tea and "Father Christmas" (the Rev Dan Jones) presented each Sunday school juvenile pupil with a gift. Mr Evan T. Griffiths presided and the following took part: Ieuan Thomas, David Lewis Jenkins, William G. Jones, Beulah children's party, Bess Jones, Hermas Evans, Ieuan Thomas, Evan T. Griffiths, Margaretta Evans, Winifred Griffiths, Isaac J. Lewis, John Eric Thomas, Gareth Jones, David R. Howells, Geraldus Jenkins, Reverend Dan Jones, William Gwyn Jones. Mr Richard Davies was the accompanist.

The South Wales Voice for Saturday November 4th reported on the death of the Rev W.P. Thomas' mother:-

The Rev W.P. Thomas, pastor of Beulah, has suffered a bereavement by the death of his mother, Mrs M.A. Thomas, Llanelli, who was 73 years of age. She was deeply interested in religious and social affairs. One of her six sons who served in the War fell in action in France. Reference to the pastor's bereavement was made at Beulah on Sunday morning and a vote of sympathy was passed. Members of the church, Sunday School and Young People's Society were appointed to attend the funeral on Tuesday.

From the South Wales Voice of 4th August 1951 comes the news of the retirement of the long-standing pastor of Beulah, Rev W P Thomas, after 19 years of ministry there:-

The resignation of the Rev W P Thomas from the pastorate at Beulah Lower Cwmtwrch, coupled with his impending departure from the district is a great loss to the locality where he has ministered diligently and loyally with notable success.

He came to the locality 19 years ago and had held pastorates in Anglesey, Rhondda Valley and New Quay Cardiganshire, previous to coming to Cwmtwrch.

His road to the ministry was hard and arduous for he had no secondary education and it was by dint of much sacrifice he was able to proceed to the Old College School Carmarthen, where he studied successfully for the entrance examination to the Baptist College, Bangor.

A native of Llanelly, the Rev Thomas, in his younger days was a prominent rugby footballer and all round athlete and at Bangor gained his University College Colours in Rugby.

He has twice visited the United States, touring and preaching in New York, Scranton, Wilksbarre, Toronto, Utica, Boston, Chicago and Milwaukee.

During WWI he went on active service, serving on the Ypres front.

As a preacher he is intensely Evangelical, convincing, forthright and sincere. He has been honoured to preach at Baptist Association meetings and in 1935, when the Welsh Baptist Union Meetings were held at Swansea, he was one of the guest preachers.

During his 19 years at Cwmtwrch, he has been an active and alert minister, always genial, genuine and generous. He was also chaplain to the local Branch of the British Legion.

Mrs Thomas also, is a native of Llanelly and an accomplished helpmate, being an associate of both the London and the Victoria Colleges of Music. For many years she was the organist at Beulah Chapel and took charge of the children of the Vestry, proving herself a good disciplinarian.

During the last World War, she rendered valuable service with the W.V.S. She is treasurer of the Ystalyfera and District Baptist Zenana** Auxiliary and last year was installed president of the West Glamorgan Baptist Women's Association.

Mr and Mrs Thomas intend making their future home at Llanelly

(The Church of England Zenana Missionary Society (CEZMS; founded 1880), also known as the Church of England Zenana Mission, was a British Anglican Christian missionary society established to spread Christianity in India. It would later expand its missionary work into Japan and Qing Dynasty China. In 1957 it was absorbed into the Church Missionary Society (CMS).)


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