Former Seion Chapel, Glais

Former Seion Chapel, Glais

Old photo of Seion Chapel, GlaisIn the graveyard of this closed chapel is a memorial inscription to two colliers who died in the Titanic disaster – see below.

Seion Independent Chapel, opened in 1841, was a sister church of Hebron in Clydach. The congregation had started meeting in 1834 at Pentwyn, a farmhouse c.1km from here. The present, larger building dates from 1865, designed by Rev Thomas Thomas of Swansea.

The old photo shows the building’s proximity to the Midland Railway from Brecon to Swansea. The signal and signal box left of the chapel controlled the junction of lines to Swansea via Llansamlet and via Morriston.

Photo of 1905 Seion Chapel jug“People’s poet” Thomas Evan Nicholas, a champion of the poor, was Seion’s minister 1904 to 1913. His bardic name was Niclas y Glais and he founded a choir and eisteddfod here. Later he was better known to the authorities, including MI5, as a Communist who lauded the Soviet Union and often wrote about the dangers of European fascism. He wrote many sonnets while imprisoned for four months in the Second World War – on suspicion of being a fascist! Nicholas Road in Glais is named after him.

The 1905 jug pictured on the left dates from his time at Seion, when the chapel benefited from the nationwide religious revival sparked by Rev Evan Roberts of Loughor.

The interior photo shows the final service in Seion on 6 March 2019, when the graveyard was deconsecrated. The building was bought by entrepreneur Derek Hughes with the aim of conserving it and using it as a workplace.

Final service in Seion Chapel, GlaisThe gravestone of the Rogers family of Ynys-y-mond Uchaf Farm (between Glais and Alltwen) records Elizabeth Rogers’ many bereavements. First she lost three babies, then her husband John in 1891, aged 58. On 15 April 1912 her son William John Rogers (aged 30) and grandson Evan Davies (22) drowned when RMS Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg.

The 1911 census reveals that William was a coal hewer and Evan a coal haulier on the surface. They spoke Welsh and English but Elizabeth only Welsh. She died in 1933, aged 85.

With thanks to Lorna Crook and Derek Hughes

Postcode: SA7 9JA    View Location Map