Sardis Chapel, Ystradgynlais

PWMP logobutton_lang_welshSardis Chapel, Ystradgynlais

This Independent chapel opened in 1861 and reopened in 1887 after alterations. It replaced an earlier chapel on the site, dating from 1841. The main building is no longer used for worship but regular services are held in the schoolroom vestry. The schoolroom was built in 1926.

Originally the services were in Welsh. The chapel was a venue for eisteddfodau and cymanfaoedd canu (hymn-singing festivals). The vestry was sometimes used for inquests.

In 1904 “passive resisters” held a meeting here, following a sale of possessions in lieu of rates withheld in protest against the Education Act 1902. They were part of a campaign of civil disobedience (supported by future Prime Minister David Lloyd George). Nonconformists saw the legislation as an attempt to diminish their say in local schools and increase support for Anglican and Catholic schools.

Sardis Chapel’s congregation was boosted in 1905 by the Christian “revival” sparked by the Rev Evan Roberts of Loughor. Although the chapel could seat 1,100 worshippers, it was often overcrowded. Many of the 230 new members who attended couldn’t speak or understand Welsh!

In the First World War, Sardis deacon David Price sat on the local military tribunal where he represented the farming community. He himself farmed at Palleg. The tribunal listened to local men’s arguments for exemption from compulsory military service and decided whether they should go to the war or not. After his death in 1919, David was praised for his “fine judgement” in tribunal cases which needed tactful handling.

In September 1917 a reception was held in the vestry for four men who had joined the army. One of them, Private DJ Davies, had lost an arm. Another, Private Isaac Roberts, was a medical orderly behind the front line in France and died of wounds after an air raid on his hospital in June 1918.

Postcode: SA9 1JY    View Location Map

To continue the Ystradgynlais in WW1 tour, walk west on Heol Giedd and turn left. Cross the river, follow Commercial St to its end, turn right, follow Heol Eglwys to the church car park
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