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Rhymney Valley Echoes.

GELLYGAER.I

The Late Mr. Lewis Evans.

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--r-------------;c---HENGOED'S…

Newyddion
Dyfynnu
Rhannu

--r- -c- HENGOED'S HISTORIC CHAPEL BI CENTENARY THIS YEAR. A STIRRING RECORD. The records of the WeLsb Bfcpti&t Church, Hengoed, form the history of the establishment of that denomination and its progress, not only in Hengoed, but in various parts of Wal-A and Monmouthshire. In view, therefore, of the bi-oentenary celebrations this year to com- memorate the building of tho first chapel in Hengoed, the story of its career may well be retold. The history of the church as a body dates to the stirring times of Cromwev. It is one of thp three earliest churches of the Welsh Bap- tists-the other two being Olchon, on the bor- ders of Herefordshire, and Ilston, in Gower. Thesa are regarded as mother churches, and in the early days they were in close communi- cation with and rondered mutual. assistance to one another. The history of Hengoed church up to 1R31 has been writtan in Welsh by Mr. Llewellyn Jen- kins, son of the famous pro John Jenkins, Hengoed, and is entitled, "Hangoediana." A condensed history in English is now being written by Mr. Morgan Edmunds, postmaster, Hengoed. From 1650 to 1710, the meetings of the church were held in fa-rm-housea, here and there, and in residences of the more prominent members. The chief districts where they met from time to time wereLlanharran, Llantrisant, the par- ishes of Eglwysilan and Lianfabon, and later at Barthlwyd, and apparently in various houses in the parish of Gellygaer. The years from the restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 up to tho time of the reign of William IIL were years of persecution; and the strange revolutions through which the church passed were marked by deeds of heroism and sacrifice on the part of the stalwarts. After storm and stress came a period of toler- ation during which the church increased in strength, and in 1710 a permanent place of worship was erected on the top of Hengoed Hill. Its elevated situation made it visible from r afar, and doubtless it appeared to the Christians of th-age days as place of refuge. For years, devout Nonconformist worshippers wended their way from long distances to the old church, which is a quaint building of oak. To modern- ists it might appear small and erjimped; but to the pilgrims of the past it was a true temple The pastor at the time was one Morgan Griffiths, a man who persevered with Christian fortitude to bring about the institution of the Ohureh. He died in 1738, aged 69. A tomb- stone—one of the oldest^-to his memory may now be seen in the churchyard. The members of the church in that period were scattered over a wide area, including Bedwellty; the Western part of Monmouthshire, and many parishes stretching down aa far as Bridgend. The membership in 1715 was computed at 1,000, comprising men of wealth and rank. De- spit? his unremitting energy and esal, Pastor Griffiths waa unable to minister to all his scat- tered members. He was obliged to get help, and at one time had three assistants. His policy was to develop a use in certain dis- tricts until the members could form an inde- pendent church. The outcome of this was the formation of ohurches at Llantrisant (Mon.), Penyfai (Bridgend), and Bassaleg-these being the, earliest branches of Hengoed. Towards 1730 the trouble, which was general among Nonconformists—the dispute b&tween Calvin- ism and Ariyijnian-isin-a rose in the Church. The Arminian doctrine was propounded and propagated by one Charles Winter, a mano parts and native of Bedwellty. After many years of dissension, thie controversy ended, and his adherents formed an Arminian Baptist cause at Craig-Fargroed. Men of ability and fame were associated with the Church during the 18th ceatury. One was David who became minister of the Church at Limehouse, London, and author of certain controversial theological books. Aleo Dr. Thos. Llewellyn, born at Pepallta Isaf, Gellygaer Parish. He became one of the most distin- guished mexi of the denomination. His literary works included a history of the translation of the Scriptures into Welsh. He amassed wealth, and utilised it to extend the distribution of the Bible in Welsh to the poor people. The effect of this on Welsh Nonconformity is incalculable. Morgan Griffiths, the first pastor, was suc- ceeded by Griffith Jones, Lewis James, Watkin Edwards, Jaamc-s Perrott, and the before-men- tioned Dr. John Jenkins. The latter became minister in 1808, and he was one of the meet powerful preachers. He wrote books, chief of which was a commentary of the Bible, which for a long period was regarded as & standard work. He passed away in 1853, aged 73, and was laid to rest near his revered predecessor at Hengoed. Since its foundation the church has spread its influence in all directions. This is graphically illustrated by a frontispiece to "Hengoediana." The picture shows a tree, the trunk of which represents the mother church, Hengoed, and the va/rious branches the daughter churches. In 1829 a new chapel was built, and this, with con- siderable alterations, ia the existing Baptist Church, which has attached to it one oi the largest Nonconformist burial grounds. One Richard Wiiliuams, who ministered at the branch church, Pengam, succeeded Dr. Jen- kins, He died in 1878, after labouring zealous- ly for 23 years. He was succeeded by the Rev. Richard Evans, the piiesent pastor, whose faith- fulness and devotion have for many years kept alivo the faith in its ancient home. The cause is flourishing. For many years certain services were held at a emaUl church at Ystradmynach, but recently (a larger church, Bryn Seion, was opened. The rapid growth of the district con- sequent on industrial developments leads one to predict that the bi-centenary will not only mark the attainment of the two hundredth year of the strenuous existence of the denomination, but also the commencement of an era of greater" success and prosperity. A large number of friends from far and near have signified their intention of being present at the bi-oentenarv oelehrations, which it is is proposed to hold in September next. Some of the leading men of the denomination are to take Trt. Alro an invitation is to be given to MM- rPv tod Jl.}4,J?.:t- — —'< preside over a publio meeting in connection with celebrations on Thursday, September 3th, when an outline of the history of the church from its formation in 1650 to the present time is to be given by the Rev. Richard Evans, the present patter. Have yau anything to Sell? Advertise In our Want Columns, and it is as goo4 as sold.

HENGOED POLICE COURT.

YSTRADMYNACH.

[No title]

MARRIED LADIC3.