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 GLASCOED

 PEOPLE & PLACES


THE HISTORY OF GLASCOED CHAPEL from its origins to 1970

by A. Glyndwr Williams

Access the book by clicking on any of the following articles.


INDEX

FRONT PAGE

Background

Meeting House

New Inn Methodist Society

The First Minister

The Cost

Local History

Usk Cause

Deacons

Opening Services

William Roberts

Christmas Evans (The one eyed preacher of Wales)

Griffith Jones

Jenkin Brown

Thomas Rhys Evans

Rees Rees

John Williams

Religious Census, 1851

Joseph Lewis

Burying of the dead

Glascoed Riots

Rev. William Morgan

Accounts

Discipline

Officers

Choir

Penpedairheol

The People

Sexton and Usherette

A Letter from Taranaki

Chapel Extension

Tea Parties

Rev. Joseph Tucker

Trustees

Rev. William Thomas

The Great Storm

Rev. William Pugh

Rev. James Watts

Rev. Joseph Lewis (The Blind Minister)

David Rees

Rev Lewis (Lewis Bach)

Rev. William Morgan


Roads

Welsh language

Rev. John Griffiths

Rev. Thomas Cothian Davies (T.C.)

William Jones

Centenary Celebrations and the Commencement of the Second Century

Building Fund

Charity Commissioners

Rev. W.R. Watkins

Building of the Manse

Ordnance Factory

Parking Bay

Rev. T.J. Newbury

Sunday School

Evacuees

Rev. Hubert Jenkins

Rev. H.J. Gurmin

New Deacons

Repositioning of Stove

Burial Ground Rules

Crockery set

Triangular Plot

War Memorial Tablet

Electric Power

Caretaker’s Wages

New Deacons

Entrance Pathway

Grant Application

Manse Trustees 1959

Rev. B.J. Morgan

New Secretary

Vestry Extension

Election of Deacons

Baptist Home Work Fund – Ministerial Grants

New Organ

Telephone

Associate Membership

Society Meeting

Burial Ground

Notice Board (Roadside)

Pastor’s Retirement

Three Way Pastorate

Link with Siloam Baptist Chapel

Rev Meirion Jones

THE HISTORY OF GLASCOED CHAPEL

From its origins to 1970


A. Glyndwr Williams

The author wishes to thank Mr Ken Roderick, M.A. (Oxon), for reading the draft of this booklet and for his suggestions for its improvement.

 

N.b. www.glascoed.com wishes to thank Glyn for his kind

permission to publish the booklet on this website.

 

HISTORY OF GLASCOED BAPTIST CHAPEL

 Background

  Before 1650 it is generally accepted that there were no Baptist Churches in Wales. The background of the emergence of the Baptist cause in Wales rested in the changes that were taking place in England. During the 1640s and 50s when Oliver Cromwell was Lord Protector many new religious beliefs were formulated and what we loosely call “Baptist Churches” began to form, but the restoration of Charles the Second in 1660 marked the beginning of a period of oppression and political, social and religious discrimination which continued until the beginning of the nineteenth century.

 The first Conventicle Act of July 1664, which remained in operation until 1667, prohibited all religious services, except Anglican ones, in which there were more present than the family and four others. It was just possible to hold family worship with a few servants only. Those who would not conform to the discipline of the Anglican Church, the “Non Conformists”, could not attend Universities, hold public office or hold services within 5 miles of an incorporated town. There was a system of fines, increasing on further offences. It was under these circumstances that our forefathers held meetings under great difficulties with much depending on the local Squire who might or might not be sympathetic.

 After the reign of James the Second, who endeavoured to restore the Roman Catholic Church, and the so called “Glorious Revolution” of 1688 they (the RC’s) were seen as the greater threat and things eased a little. The Act of Union with Scotland of 1707 recognised Presbyterianism as the established faith of that country. Yet the churches described were groups of believers who met in meeting houses, houses and generally not in buildings we would recognise. This began to change in the eighteenth century when buildings were put up. With the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts in 1828, Baptists and other Non Conformists had greater freedom and the nineteenth century was a time of great expansion and growth, especially in the new Industrial Areas. This caused places of worship to be found in outlandish places away from areas of social activity.

  Members of the Abergavenny church came from as far afield as Llangwm and Tredynog (Tredunnock). At a meeting at Brecon in 1656 a list of churches contained such names as Ilston, Carmarthen, Abergavenny, Bredwardine (Hereford), Cludoc, Llangors, and Tredunnock. Tredunnock’s pastor was Walter Prosser. These were possibly groups, not having a building of their own.

 William Thomas, in the sixteen fifties, emerges as pastor of a church which was Particular but had an open communion commitment in the parishes of Llangwm and Llantrissent. William Thomas had returned home in 1646-47 and started to gather together the nucleus of a church. From time to time he preached at conventicles at Llandegfedd and Llangybi to as many as 30-40, including “responsible” farmers and freeholders. In 1675 Thomas Quarrel was chosen to succeed William Thomas as pastor. He was living in Ty Gwyne, Llangwm, confining himself to Llangwm and Llantrissent.

 Six Welsh churches joined the London Association in 1689, among them was Llanwenarth which was the old Abergavenny church of John Miles, now extinct, and was referred to as the church of Llanwenarth. The others were Blaenau Gwent, (Aberystruth), Llangwm and Trydynog, the last two being branches, their minister was William Pritchard.

 After 1742, Llangwm broke up when its minister became a Quaker, and the members scattered. That was the demise of Llangwm, its members are unknown. We have the John Miles churches (6), and their influence from the west, Ilston (Swansea), Llantrissent (Glam), Carmarthen, Llanwenarth (Abergavenny), Hay on Wye and Rhydwlwym formed 1660-70. These in turn set up further churches, such as Blaenau Gwent (Abertillery) and Hengoed.

 Blaenau Gwent broke from Llanwenarth in 1696 and the two churches, with Hengoed, founded Penygarn in 1727. The same three, together with Penygarn, helped to found Bethesda, Rogerstone (1742).

 In “Hanes Athrofeydd y Bedyddwr” of 1832, in an appreciation on Miles Harrhy of Penygarn (its first minister), it is stated that, as an itinerant preacher, he visited Glascoed, Goetre, Blaenavon and Risca. There were six people at Glascoed who, either on horseback or foot, crossed the mountains once a month to take communion at their main church which was Blaenau Gwent. It would seem that the influence of Miles Harrhy (Penygarn) and a family connection of the Wroths, together with Blaenau Gwent, gave impetus to the small cause. The west met the east at this point. Miles Harrhy died in 1776, long before the church at Glascoed was built.

 

Meeting House

 It is a tradition that the meeting house was situated below Nine Wells (gone) – a cottage across the road from Glen View – of which one pine end wall still remains. In the nineteen thirties this was a storage place with a galvanised roof and the bedroom floor still intact. Hollowed out of the rock in the small stream nearby was a baptising pool with a stone wall to hold the water, this can still be uncovered. Tradition has it that a man six feet tall was baptised in it, must have been a tight squeeze. In the cottage lived a man by the name of Joseph Wroth, a descendant of William Wroth of Llanvaches the first Nonconformist minister in Wales. He had four daughters, one lived in Blaenau Gwent and was the mother of Lewis Lewis, the first minister.

From this tangled skein of events it is difficult to assess what influence Llangwm and the surrounding causes at Llantrissent, Llangibby and Llandegveth had on the Glascoed cause. As these were “house meetings”, and not church buildings (the houses being licensed under Toleration Act of 1689, for preaching services) giving rise to “meeting house" churches, which flourished. Some of these died out, others arose here and there, right into the nineteenth century. Glascoed had such a meeting house which functioned in the late eighteenth century.


New Inn Methodist Society

 Howell Harris grouped his adherents into Methodist “Societies” which met in public houses, barns and houses. These “societies” contained not only disaffected Anglicans but others, such as Baptists and Congregationalists, as well as others not affiliated anywhere. The name was without denominational meaning. The New Inn Methodist Society, founded between 1740-1742, had some Congregationalists. A few years earlier such societies had already been formed in Monmouthshire at Goytre, Glascoed, Trevethin, Mynydd Islwyn, Llangattog and Llanfihangel.

 This fluid situation was only settled when actual churches were built and were given a name, so which way a group went could be problematical, perhaps depending on what element was stronger. A map has been seen which gave the church at Glascoed as Methodist, but this was never so. Perhaps the above had some influence. The Penygarn influence, with Blaenau Gwent, seemed to have settled the matter with Miles Harrhy preaching at intervals.

 

The First Minister

In 1809 the church at Blaenau Gwent agreed, at a monthly meeting, that Lewis Lewis should exercise his gifts among the people of Glascoed. In 1810 he started to preach at Blaenau Gwent. He applied in 1812 for a licence to preach under the Five Mile Act and came to Glascoed. The church building was completed then, in 1817, it was registered with the Association. Actual date of completion is not known. The gallery was installed after the completion of the main building.

 To reduce the debt they sent their minister on preaching tours and it was during one of these that he caught pneumonia, having slept in a damp bed, and died on May 25 1832. He left a wife and four children. By trade he was a charcoal burner and woodcutter which he carried on during his ministry. The alder trees of the district making excellent charcoal. Charcoal could be used to burn lime and also in the making of iron.

 

The Cost

To finance the new chapel, two hundred pounds was loaned by a blacksmith from Llandegveth, his name was James Bodget Morgan (grave at the end of chapel) the loan was repaid by 1828. Officially the debt was given as one hundred and ten pounds (Basset, Welsh Baptists). Forty six pounds was subscribed at the opening service and a further ten pounds on the opening day. Whether the debt was this amount or a total cost we do not know.

 In 1822 the yard surrounding wall was built by John Lewis at a cost of nine pounds and sixpence. The roadway into the chapel was given freehold, being part of a man’s garden. The land for the chapel and graveyard (part) was given by a Quaker, whose identity is unknown.

 The original building had no fan lights in the roof (fitted during the ministry of Rev. Cothian Thomas Davies) and the west wall had no windows a stipulation of the land gift, otherwise the attendants at the public house would be able to look into the chapel from the garden. James Bodget Morgan from Llanfrechfa, who loaned the £200, later lived at Nine Wells cottage.

 

Local History

 At Lower Wernhir Farm there were two fields named Cae Forge Fach. At the west end of the former field was a mound of light soil, although the field was clay. It would seem this mound was a residue from some kind of small iron works. Rumble Street was known as Jingle Street, the trappings holding the panniers of iron ore strapped on the backs of the mules making the noise.

 In the “Story of Monmouthshire”, by Arthur Clark, he states the Mineral and Battery Company produced osmund iron at Monkswood with a furnace and forge. Tradition has it that this works was situated on the left-hand side of Beili Colas going to Monkswood (Beili Colas, a corruption of Beili Golosg, meaning a “charcoal enclosure”.)

 They carried iron ore from Blaenavon to the wire works at Monkswood because the iron ore from Graig Coed was inferior and was later abandoned in favour of Blaenavon ore. There was a tannery at Little Wern Hir (Wernhir) and also at the junction of Berthin brook with the Radyr Tump was a weir which diverted water to a tucking mill, location unknown.

 

Usk Cause

 David Jones, in his “History of South Wales Baptist Churches”, says there was an earlier cause at Usk which died out. It seemed a few members of the extinct cause resided at Glascoed and were meeting at a Glascoed residence. Could this be the known meeting house?

Deacons

The deacons were listed as:-

John Jenkins  Caerleon

William Jenkins  Llanfrechfa

Lewis Lewis  Llanbadoc

William Roberts  Glascoed (Lower Wern Hir)

Isaac Williams  Llangibby

James Bodget Morgan Llanfrechfa (Later Nine Wells)

John Williams  Llandegveth

Charles Parry  Glascoed

Henry Williams  Mamhilad

 

Opening Services

 At the opening services the following ministers took part:-

F. Hiley, Llanwenarth – Text Prov 9.5

John Evans, Penygarn – Job 17.9 (In Welsh)

Micah Thomas, Abergavenny – Psalm 25.11 (Principal of Academy)

 These took part in prayer:-

S. James, Pontrhydyryn; J. Michael, Zion Chapel and T. Jones, Abergavenny (student).

 There is no record of the opening date, which could have preceded the entry into the Association by a number of years, because the qualifying rules called for certain things, such as deacon responsibility to the congregation, to be in place before a church could join the Association. Whether this was applied at this stage is unknown.

 

William Roberts

In 1819, Glascoed sent its first student to the Baptist Academy at Abergavenny, he was William Roberts ofLower Wernhir Farm. After two years he returned to Glascoed without a “call”. His sermons did not last beyond fifteen minutes.

 In 1824 he was ordained to assist Rev. Lewis Lewis at Glascoed. In the David Jones account in 1837/8 he was living at Abergavenny, preaching here and there, but without “a charge”. He passed away in 1837/8. He was concerned with a coal round at Abergavenny.

 

Christmas Evans (The one eyed preacher of Wales)

In 1832, the great Welsh preacher, who toured South Wales, was reputed to have visited Glascoed chapel and sat on the seat which, in later years, was in the coat vestry under the window. The seat, then, was below the pulpit according to H. Williams, the Bryn.

 

Griffith Jones

 He was an official of the Varteg Iron Works of Fawcett Hunt and Co. In 1834 he accepted the oversight of Glascoed, preaching two Sundays a month. In spite of the distance he regularly came to Glascoed for years and was a God send to the small cause. Records do not mention Jones in 1840, but in 1842 he was appointed as manager of a copper works at Llanelly.

 The people of the hamlet were very poor, some gave nothing, others up to five shillings a year. Possibly because of the Industrial Revolution, which had now commenced, and which closed down cottage industries.

 It is worth noting that the wooded areas were cleared by the cottagers, who “leased” an acre of land for three years. The first year was clearing the trees, the second year was removing stubs then ploughing, the third year potatoes were planted. The following year it returned to the owner. To have continuity they leased an acre every year.

 

Jenkin Brown

 Tradition has it that he was baptised at Glascoed, later he became President of the Baptist Union. So far there is no record of this.

 

Thomas Rhys Evans

 Commenced his ministry in 1844 and remained to the beginning of 1848. Nothing more is known of his ministry at Glascoed. Who he was and where he came from has not been recorded. He is listed as one who escaped the ‘poverty trap’ by marrying Miss Prosser, the heiress of Roberts the baker, and, thus, was ‘raised above’ the many difficulties experienced by pastors of small churches in “making both ends meet.”

 

Rees Rees

 He succeeded Thomas Evans as minister in 1849. He came from Trosnant, being baptised by the minister, David Roberts. In the ‘unhappy trial’ at Trosnant, in 1843, Mr Rees went out with a party which formed Lower Trosnant (location unknown). He was ordained there, not as pastor but as ‘assistant’. He became pastor at Glascoed in 1849, but still resided in Pontypool to follow his daily labour. He devoted all the time he could spare to the ministry and strove to acquire some knowledge of English, as that language was indispensable at Glascoed.

 A native of Carmarthenshire, the desire to become a minister overpowered him, so that he was determined to succeed or die. He did much good work, so that the membership stood at 56 at his death. Mr Rees, in the dark, fell into the Berthin brook at Coed-y-cadno, where he worked, his body was found on January 11, 1862. He was much respected and was buried at Penygarn. Dr. Micah Thomas of the College officiated.

 In 1844 Joseph Lewis (son of Lewis Lewis) and Francis Morgan were baptised, both families had strong connections with the church and would influence it in the future. At a church meeting on May 20, 1848 Joseph Lewis, son of Lewis Lewis, was invited by church and minister to exercise his gifts for the ministry and, after he had delivered several private discourses, he was invited to deliver a public sermon on July 29, 1848. By 1849 the membership had fallen to 54.

 

John Williams

 In 1850 it was agreed by church and minister that John Williams should exercise his talents for the ministry and on May 12 he commenced his public labour. Scrutiny of Pontypool Baptist College entrants over that period, does not reveal his name, therefore it is presumed that he remained a “lay preacher.” Was this the John Williams who lived at Upper Wern Hir and later moved to The Steppes Farm, Gwehelog?

 

Religious Census, 1851

It gave the following information as to attendance:-

Present: A.M. – 41 and 25 scholars; P.M. – 150 and 45 scholars

AFTERNOON – 45 Scholars.

 

Signed. Joseph Lewis

Assistant for Rev. REES REES (Minister)

Hearers and members are lumped together.

 

Joseph Lewis

 In 1851, Joseph Lewis entered the college at Pontypool on Probation and was accepted in 1852. On completion of his studies he received a call from the First English Church, Tredegar, where he remained as pastor for 23 years. Later he was to return to Glascoed as its blind minister.

Burying of the dead

 A resolution was passed by church in 1856, “In reference to the custom of burying the dead on the Sabbath or Lord’s Day, at the aforesaid meeting (in order to put an end to this profane practice) we the undersigned minister and members of the church do resolve and do agree that no funeral shall come within the walls of the church or burying ground, to bury the dead on the Sabbath Day which we call the Lord’s Day. Except in the case of a pestilential disease which could not be done on the Saturday nor left till the following Monday.” Signed R. Rees, Minister, John Walkley, Francis Morgan, John Williams and John Evans.

 

Glascoed Riots

 Enclosing common land was a controversial subject.

“In 1860 a riot took place which highlighted a dispute between those with grazing rights on common land and the land hungry farmers. Glascoed Common land was originally an area of 100 acres. Many acres, which were held to have been improperly enclosed, were thrown open to the horses and asses, sheep, swine and cattle of the poor parishioners by a large band of men and women, old and young, who met in the grey light of early morning who marched across the moor from the surrounding countryside to the strains of martial music from fifes and drums, armed with spades, mattocks and billhooks. Hedge after hedge were uprooted, gate after gate overthrown and the destruction did not cease until many acres had been thrown open. Foremost among the aggressors was Mr Daniel Roberts of Hendre Farm (Henrhiw) who owned a farm in the adjoining parish of Llanbadock part of which abutted the Common, (Greenmeadow). He sought to extend his property by fencing in and appropriating to his own purposes 15 or 16 acres of waste land. Two other persons had followed his example, and shared with Mr Roberts the vengeance of the enraged Glascoedians, the chief encroacher not being an inhabitant or proprietor of the hamlet. Two policemen were throughout the day passive spectators of the proceedings. There occurred nothing less harmful than a little dog fighting by way of relaxation for the men, and hair pulling for the women for their mutual delectation.” (Free Press – Bygone days). Mr Roberts was said to be contemplating legal proceedings.

Twenty eight Glascoedians, including some of the most respectable inhabitants of the hamlet appeared before the Usk Bench of Magistrates as a sequel to the throwing down by them of fences alleged to have been illegally set up enclosing Common land in that parish. They were charged with ‘Riotously assembling to the terror of Her Majesty’s liege people and the peace of our Lady the Queen, her crown and dignity.’

A labourer on Glascoed Common giving evidence for the Prosecution, described the breaking down of fences, the pulling up of apple trees and gooseberry trees and the lighting of bonfires. He said he heard the cry “Hurrah for Rebecca.” A cry associated with the people of the Rebecca Riots. Cross-examined, the witness said he had enclosed a piece of waste land, but not part of the Common. Everyone in the parish had enclosed land. For the defence it was urged that the fences which had been destroyed constituted ‘encroachment’ on the Common land which the law regarded as a nuisance and for the abatement of which the defendants proceeded in the legitimate way by the law. The cases against four of the defendants were dismissed, and the other twenty four were committed to the Monmouthshire Assizes. The four and twenty Glascoedians returned to their homes as conquering heroes on the Saturday.

The Grand Jury at the Assizes ignored the Bill alleging riot on the occasion of the recent anti-annexation demonstration on Glascoed Common. On their way home from Monmouth they engaged the services of a band of music at Usk and, decorated with ribbons, marched homewards, the band striking up with renewed vigour as the procession passed the Hendre farm, and the cheering of the ‘rioters’ being there at its loudest.

On Monday the victory of the popular cause was further celebrated by the ringing of church bells at Usk and the firing of guns at Glascoed. (Press comment) “Glascoed Common ought to be taken in by the Commissioners who are charged with the duty of allotting such waste lands so that by a legal and fair division of the Common among the Freeholders of the hamlet all illicit encroachments may be terminated.” (Free Press).

I wonder how many church members were caught up in this? Rebecca Rioters were a militant group in Wales dedicated to the preservation of common land and the abolition of enclosures and tolls.

The Free Press also recorded that, “The average age of human life was reported to be 33 yrs. One quarter died before the age of seven, and one half before the age of 17.”

During the ministry of Rev. Rees Rees, a deacon, John Williams, gave permission for the back seats of the chapel to be used for a “biddell”, a traditional Welsh marriage celebration which proved to be a drunken affair. The church either censured him or he was removed from office (diaconate) the shame of which caused him to hang himself.

Baptisms were still held in the original pool by the meeting house, the candidates changing clothes in the old house, which was inhabited until the turn of the century.

Rev. William Morgan

Rev. Rees Rees had ministered faithfully since 1849 and was followed by Rev. William Morgan, whose family lived at Cwmbwrwch Farm. He had commenced his ministry among the Congregationalists at New Inn, but left on the question of baptism by immersion and came to Glascoed. After joining in 1861 he was given a call to become its minister in 1862, at the salary of one pound per month at the age of 22 years.

In 1869, he received into the church by baptism, 28 new members. His preaching was marred by the fact that he spoke in a monotone, making listening that much harder. He began his ministry by cutting away the dead wood and was soon rewarded by a revival in the church, he was a man of strong convictions, he had no place for half-hearted efforts by the members of his church. In 1870 he preached his farewell sermon, on his call to Monmouth Baptist Chapel. A Testimonial Fund realised eleven pounds, seventeen shillings.

He laboured at Glascoed until 1870, during which time he baptised 45 and by restoration and letter, 9; so that the membership when he left stood at 32 A.M. 55 P.M., with 45 scholars and 6 Teachers.

He then accepted a call to Monmouth Baptist Chapel. A Committee which was set up to run the Church records that “If it was acceptable to the church at Monmouth, Rev. William Morgan would be at Glascoed for communion services”,the answer is not recorded but listed payments of 12sh 6d for Rev. Morgan, at later dates, show there was an agreement.

Accounts

 The treasurer’s record of Oct 25, 1868 show there were two lots of money to be counted, one is treated as “Collection” the other as “from Box”.

For example: Oct 25 1868

Collection £1/5/4  Paid

from Box £1/3/9  Bread and wine £0/1/7

from Box £0/6/0  For Ministry  £2/16/5

Collection £0/2/6

 It would seem that collections were taken fortnightly. The Minister would then receive what was left, after debts were paid, every month. This varied from £1/6/6 to £3/5/7 a month. References to the “Box” disappeared in 1873.

 

Discipline

 The discipline was very strict at that time. For example, a church meeting, dated March 11, 1863 reads as follows, “It was agreed that Francis Morgan, should be kept back until such time that he do acknowledge to be in fault and not to annoy, minister or church again, and cause dispute again or he will be expelled.” It is known that Francis Morgan was more saint than sinner, and the worst he did was to write doggerel verse on the whitewashed walls.

   The walls of the chapel inside, up to the height of the present-day panelling, were white-washed, with pegs around for the hanging of coats. The wall on the East side was buttressed for support, the work was carried by Francis Morgan.

   In 1867, a resolution was passed that a weekly collection be made, but nothing came of it. Another resolution was passed that “If any member be absent for a space of three months, without giving just cause for such absence, he might be excluded from membership”.

Officers

Treasurer and Secretary, respectively, at this time were John Edmonds, of Upper Wernhir, and Henry Williams of Beech Farm.

Choir

 A choir was formed under the leadership of John Morgan, Llanynant, a brother of the minister, both having learnt Sol-Fa at New Inn Congregational Church. Although John Morgan worked 12 hours a day he still found time to learn new things.

 William Morgan kept school in the vestry for local children, possibly augmenting his meagre wage with this. He, himself, had been taught by a Rev. Davies, of Llangibby, who was a classical scholar. Rev. Morgan’s salary varied between one pound, four shillings and three pence and one pound, five shillings per month.

Penpedairheol

 At the top of Rumble Street is a cross roads with a few houses, this was known as Penpedairheol (top of the four roads or a crossroad). On the green and under the walnut tree, William Morgan would hold services on a Sunday night after chapel.

The People

 Henry Williams described a fight between two women. He was working in the field at Beech Farm when he heard the sound of saucepans being beaten and two parties, one from the Poplars, the other from High House direction, met on the Common Land and proceeded to abuse each other, to the delight of their followers, followed by some hair pulling. They then agreed to meet at the Cross in Pontypool to fight it out and settle the matter.

 

Sexton and Usherette

 A grave digger was appointed named Philip Meredith (The Wern), his charge to be a shilling per foot. The following entry appeared in the minutes, “It is agreed that Rachel Richards shall conduct the people (or rather strangers) to a seat for five shillings a year.” In 1870 the offerings were taken at the door, owing to the inconvenience of doing it during the service.

 A committee was formed to manage the affairs of the church consisting of:-

John Edmunds Upper Wernhir

Francis Morgan Prescoed

John Walkley

Henry Williams Beech Farm

John Morgan  Cwmbwrch Farm.

With J. Walkley as President and H. Williams as Vice President.

 On May 17, 1870 a resolution was passed instructing the secretary to write to Tredegar, asking the church if they would release their pastor, Rev. Joseph Lewis, if Glascoed gave him a call but nothing came of this, he being the son of their first pastor, Lewis Lewis.

 

A Letter from Taranaki

 A letter was received, in 1930, from Taranaki in New Zealand to the diaconate of the church, from a Mr James Knight. In it he recalled how he was baptised, in 1868, by Rev. William Morgan in the old baptistry of the Meeting house.

 He recalled the deacons as being Henry Williams, William Williams (Upper House), and other members as William Morgan (who later served as an Engine cleaner in Abergavenny) and also William Humphrey. He also mentions Sarah Lewis of Trostra Farm.

Chapel Extension

 A fund was set up for the extension of the chapel, through this the Annual Tea Party came into being. The following information is recorded:

 

Credit:

Entrance Fees, goods sold  £20/13/10

 

Debit

Painting   £0/7/6

White wash chapel   £0/5/6

Painting gate and cleaning yard  £0/5/0

 

Mrs Williams:

 

187 lbs of cake @ five and a half pence a lb £4/5/8

20 lbs of Seed cake @ nine pence a lb £0/15/4

Plain bread   £0/8/0

4 lb of tea @ three and six a lb  £0/14/0

20 lbs of sugar @ one and sixpence a lb £0/9/0

 

Mrs Griffiths:

 

20 lb Seed cake @ 8 pence a lb  £0/13/0

6 lb Sugar @ one and sixpence a lb £0/9/0

Profit    £11/18/11

 Originally, these were referred to as “tea” meetings but later were called “tea parties”. The field used was part of Pettingale Farm but later became part of Ty Newydd (New House) and still retained the name of Tea Party field.

 

Tea Parties

To account for such large amounts of cake, it is necessary to point out that attendances were between three and four hundred people. Others held these parties, such as Goytre and, in a way, each supported the other. It was a major event where young people gathered together on that day. After the tea, they would have group singing on the bank, also various games such as ‘kissing in the ring’ and so on. Later they would divide out, part to the chapel and the remainder to the public house by the chapel called ‘High Cross’ or nicknamed ‘The Sprat’.

 In the chapel would be singing of hymns, invited speakers would include ministers known for what we call ‘after dinner’ speeches. Those who went to the public house were entertained with a bare fist fight. One Lewis Watkins was known for the fact that the more they hit him the more he laughed. It was worth noting that his brother Mathew Watkins, was in the chapel and later became a deacon.

 These “Tea Parties” continued for many years and were a source of income for many years. An 1892 entry, records that 270 sat down to tea, with S/School made a total of 300. Afterwards, Rev. A.T. Jones, of Maindee, gave a lecture on Christmas Evans.

 When one looks at the membership total, one asks the question where did all these people come from? The answer probably lies in a few facts, larger families, farms carried up to two farm labourers, with a young girl to help in the house. The catchment area extended from Lower Wernhir to Trechumydd, New Inn, moving around to Little Mill, (William Evans was a member), in the south Tyn-y-Cae Farm, Llangibby; the Watkins family, and Coed y paen area had members in Glascoed.

 In its infancy, Glascoed was the only Baptist cause for miles around, being older than Usk, Llangibby and Llangwm but was a contemporary of Goytre.

 

Rev. Joseph Tucker

 In 1872, an assistant preacher, called Joseph Tucker, in the church at Crane Street, Pontypool was ordained. He was given a call by Glascoed which was accepted. He was a native of Ebbw Vale. He seemed to have been fairly well educated, also had a considerable knowledge of music, was able to be generally useful and had the ability to manage people.

 Several were added to the church every year of his ministry. During his ministry he baptised 45 and 16 were restored by letter and restoration. In 1874, a subscription list for a clock and lamp yielded £6/19/0. Membership at the close of his ministry was 71 with a Sunday School of 50 and teachers numbering 5.

 He was a railway clerk, which job he kept on for a few years. His salary was conditional, a rise being promised after the chapel had been enlarged and the debt cleared. A letter to the diaconate in 1875 reminds them of their promise and asks for the raise of ten shillings a week. In 1876, at a Church Meeting, they offered £3 per month. He did not move to Glascoed, but lived in Pontypool walking out to Glascoed as required.

 Everything was set for the enlargement. A committee was formed and the work was carried out, at a cost of £200, in 1874. As the extension was from the last roof truss to the pulpit wall, which would cover the grave of a daughter of the first minister, so a stone was placed in the exterior wall on the east side. A loan of £29 was made by Henry Williams, of Beech Farm.

 In the same year, the first clock was purchased at the cost of £4/4/0. Nevertheless, they were still in debt, the interest being given as £1/9/0. The debt was repaid in 1875. Tradition has it that the Welsh Baptist Union sent representatives around the country churches to assess them. The representative sent to Glascoed made his way to the chapel, expecting to see people making their way along the road, but was disappointed, not a soul in sight. He concluded that this would be an empty chapel but there was a surprise in store when he opened the door he found it was full – it was necessary to go early to get a seat.

 Glascoed now tried to unite with Goytre but they would not agree to share a minister. In 1878, Rev. Tucker resigned the pastorate and settled at Griffithstown Baptist Chapel where he laboured with considerable success until the beginning of 1886 when he had to leave on account of his morality. In 1889, he was reinstated in the church at Forge side, Blaenavon. Where he laboured until December 30, 1894 when he removed and settled at Church Street, Marylebone, London. The church tried to obtain the services of Rev. Joseph Lewis again, but in vain.

Trustees

 The original trustees were now dead, so they appointed new ones under the Chairmanship of Rev. William Morgan. They were as follows:-

 

John Edmunds       Upper Wernhir

Henry Williams      Beech Farm

John Morgan

William Stinchcombe  Monkswood

William Williams     Upper House (Llanbadoc)

John Griffiths

George Griffiths

Lewis Watkins

William Arthur Morgan

 

Rev. William Thomas

 He was given a call in 1877. An assistant pastor at Forge side, Blaenavon, he was ordained, inducted at a salary of one pound a week, and, if possible after twelve months, given a gift.

 William Thomas’ ministry was short. He was invited to take charge of the church at Llanthewey Rhydderch, leaving in 1879. He added by baptism 14, by restoration and letter 17, the membership now standing at 82 with Sunday School at 50 and 5 Teachers.

 Some came to chapel in frock coats (a kind of gown coat). One Roger Williams, of Beech Farm, always stood in the coat vestry for the whole service, he never sat down.

 

The Great Storm

 In 1879, a very severe storm blew down what was known as the ‘Big Beech’ at Beech Farm. It must have been some tree as it took six men, with arms outstretched, to encompass its trunk and such was its height that, tradition has it, sailors in the Channel used it as a landmark. Such was the ‘crack’ that the noise was heard at the Cross Farm. In an article written for the Free Press, July 25 1868, a distinguished journalist, commenting on the view from the Folly Tower, wrote, On the crest of the ridge right in front of us is the ‘Big Beech’ popularly, but erroneously, supposed to mark the centre of Monmouthshire, as much like the figure of a crouching lion as it is possible for a tree in a state of nature to be.”

 

Rev. William Pugh

 Mr Pugh, of Pontypool College, accepted a call and settled here in 1882. He was a native of Caio, in Carmarthenshire. A bright young man, he was above average in the point of education. He rendered considerable assistance in the work of tuition at Pontypool College during the President’s absence.

 He was delicate in his health when he settled in Glascoed. Believing that the pastorate of a country church would benefit his health, he had accepted it.

 He was very much liked, having laboured here about 12 months he took charge of Bethel, Nantyglo, and settled there in the Spring of 1883. Membership when he left was 72 with Sunday School of 40 and 4 teachers. After removing to Nantyglo, Mr Pugh’s health remained in a precarious condition and in 1887 he, on doctor’s advice, emigrated to New South Wales, Australia, where he remained to the end of his life, dying of tuberculosis.

 

Rev. James Watts

 In 1883, Mr J. Watts accepted the call of the church, and removed here from Ararat, Whitchurch, Cardiff, Glam. He was a native of Merthyr Tydfil. His salary was £3 per month. At his Recognition Services, the preachers were all past pastors. Mr Watts’ pastorate was short, he accepted a call to Merchants Hill Chapel, Pontnewynydd in 1886.

 At a church meeting in 1884 it was agreed that the walls be painted up to the pegs (clothes), a subscription list being opened to cover the cost. This painting was subsequently carried out.

 The present building at Merchants Hill was erected in 1888 under his ministry. During his ministry they used to go out from the evening service to cottage prayer meetings, no wonder the little church flourished.

 He preached three times at his farewell service, the afternoon in Welsh, every service being crowded. For the farewell service, new pulpit lamps (paraffin) and a new stove had been installed. The stove was situated between the ‘Big Seat’ and the long seats in the centre. Its pipe was vertical for six or seven feet, then angled out through the south wall above the gallery. When the stove was hot any one sat on the gallery below and it was well cooked.

 Tea party profits of £11/16/5 were applied to the building of a wall to surround the graveyard – the gift given by Captain Lister of Cefn Ila – with a new closet at a cost of £30/2/0. Records reveal that 310 sat down to tea at the party.

 In 1886 the first organ made its appearance at the price of twenty guineas. It was a pedal organ and was played by William Henry Williams of the Bryn, then 8 years old.

Rev. Joseph Lewis (The Blind Minister)


 

Mr Emmanuel Sainsbury related how he was at a prayer meeting at Twyn y Cryn and Mr Lewis failed to appear, so he was sent to look for him. He found him on the School Common, he had lost his way and he did not know it. His wife used to wear a poke bonnet with tassels which she would flick during the service, causing the tassels to bounce about, much to the delight of the younger generation. Her favourite colour was terra cotta.

 In the minute book, the membership stood at 56 in 1894. The minute book recorded the following tribute,“Our dearly beloved pastor the Rev. Joseph Lewis departed this life on Thursday May 24, 1894 having failed to preach on only one Sunday, in six years, and had he preached one day more he would been in the ministry for forty years.” On the following Thursday the funeral took place when all that was mortal was buried near the door of the chapel and by his late father’s tomb.

 No less than ten ministers took part in his funeral service. His wife passed away six months later. During his pastorate 11 were received by baptism and 26 by restoration and letter. Membership at the close of his ministry was 60 with a Sunday School of 30 and 4 teachers. Ministers at his funeral agreed to supply the pulpit for 12 months and Mrs Lewis to receive the stipend. A Church Meeting on Sept 18, 1894 agreed to erect a headstone on the grave of Rev. and Mrs J Lewis. A beloved minister indeed.

 In 1894 the yard wall was built with 3,500 bricks at a cost of £3/13/0, with lime extra at £6/0/0.

 David Rees

 Was not originally a Baptist, was trained at Bala, but a change took place in his views, and he was baptised. He took charge of the church at Aberfan in 1892 but came to Glascoed from Llanhilleth, in 1897. His wife was a dressmaker.

 He was not here for many years because he received a call from the church at Caersalem, Ystalyfera and closed his ministry on Nov 19, 1899. During his ministry 12 were added to the church, membership stood at 55 and 30 Sunday School scholars with two teachers.

 

Rev Lewis (Lewis Bach)

 Rev. Lewis supplied for 12 months. He was an “electrifying” preacher when dealing with ‘Evolution’, as he wore hob nail boots and, as he stomped back and fore the pulpit, he held the congregation spellbound. When the diaconate met to consider asking him to take the pastorate, two voted ‘for’ and one ‘against’. He was not given a call.

 At an Association Meeting, when Dr Davies of Brighton failed to turn up, they asked Lewis to ‘substitute’, which he did. Dr Davies arrived in the meantime and heard the discourse. Then they asked Dr Davies to take the second part he replied, “Why do you want to listen to me when you have a man who can give you gems as you have heard.”

 He came from Noddfa, Abersychan. Such was his influence on the young men that when he was given a call to Zoar, Henllys, they walked to Zoar from Glascoed to enjoy his services. He held a joint pastorate at Henllys along with Penheolybadd.

 A deacon at Henllys tricked him, because he disliked him, by taking him to Newport. Lewis Bach had a weakness, or shall we say ‘a nervous craving’ (as certified by a doctor) for a stimulant, just one glass of beer was enough. The deacon persuaded him to have one glass, that was enough, it caused him to stagger along the main street much to everyone’s astonishment. Zoar disowned him, but Penheolybadd kept him till he passed away and was buried there.

 

New Secretary

 Emmanuel Sainsbury was appointed Secretary in place of Henry Williams, who was Secretary and Treasurer, in 1902.

 

Rev. William Morgan

 In 1901 he began his second ministry at Glascoed in a joint pastorate with Llangibby, services being alternate. Glascoed paid £30 pounds a year. Rev. William Morgan queried whether the salary included money from raffles, when Henry Williams affirmed this was so, he said “Make my money less that amount received from the raffles”.

 The story was told of a prayer meeting, it was almost time to begin, there was no sign of William Morgan, dead on the stroke of seven he walked in, saying This is how it should be, all ready and waiting”. He had spent all day at Llangibby, visiting, and had walked back to Glascoed. He retired from the ministry in May 1905. He was very straight, when a lady was added to the church, a little titter was heard because she had not kept a very clean home, and dressed indifferently, very quietly he said “She is as good as you.”

 The vestry was used previously as a stable, when a man was making a nuisance of himself, during service,Henry Williams removed him to the stable. When he went to let him go, he found slates had been removed, the culprit had gone.

 

Roads

 These were stoned, threshing tackles were not able to use Coed Chambers as it was still stepped rock. Carts had to go around Usk to reach Coedypaen.

 

Welsh language

 The older generation spoke Welsh but, as the children were taught English and used it in their conversation, the Welsh language died. Teachers were forbidden to teach Welsh in school, some attempted to circumvent this by teaching Welsh songs. At this time the church withdrew from the Welsh Association and joined the English Association on April 29, 1901. The real change had begun in the eighteen seventies when services were changing to English.

Lack of records make it impossible to pin point when the present baptising pool was built. The old baptising pool, as mentioned before, can still be seen. The last person to be baptised in the old meeting house pool was Louise Williams of Upper House (Lanbadoc) and the first to be baptised in the new pool was Richard (Dick) Williams of Beech Farm, later of Pant-y-cw-cw Farm.

 

Rev. John Griffiths


Rev. Thomas Cothian Davies (T.C.)

 At a Church Meeting held on May 10, 1915, at which Rev J.J. Rees of Pontrhydyrun presided – with Rev. Meredith Jones of Newport present – it was jointly agreed, with Llangibby, that the two churches appoint a minister in a joint pastorate. The working schedule was to be 3 Sundays at Glascoed and one at Llangibby.

 The stipend arrangement was as follows:-

 Glascoed to pay £50 per year and Llangibby £20, or as near as possible. This to be under the Sustenation Scheme, which, one understands, would guarantee the overall sum, but this was not stated.

 The Rev. T.C. Davies was invited and inducted in Nov 1915 to the Joint Pastorate. Known as T.C. he came from English Baptist Church, Bedwas. A heavily-built and sombre man, who was deeply interested in phrenology (a study of the shape of the head). He lodged at Coedypaen and cycled over every Sunday or as necessary. He came off his bicycle in 1921 and broke a leg, so the pulpit was occupied by a Rev. Rees, under whom a mini revival took place. 29 were baptised at one time, who included Mr. Sid Payne.

 A large number were baptised in 1922, who included Miss Elsie Williams. (Rev. Rees later became pastor of Pontrhydyrun Baptist Chapel). Some recall the habit of T.C. of saying, from the pulpit, “Don’t do as I do, do as I tell you.”

 His, was the second car on Glascoed, the first was Mr Rouse the schoolmaster with a red Bugatti; T.C. had a Humber and was later followed by Matthew Watkins with a Morris. He was jokingly called ‘pussy foot’ by the younger generation, because he bought footwear of American type called ‘pussy foot’ (not “Hush Puppy”).

 He resigned the joint pastorate of Glascoed and Llangibby in 1924 and accepted a call to the church at Crickhowell. While at Crickhowell, he married his housekeeper. He died at Llandough Hospital in 1937 and was buried at Bethel, Cain, aged 74 years. He was a man of independent means, not entirely dependent on church stipend.

 During his ministry the licence of ‘The Sprat’ was revoked on the grounds that it kept “an immoral house”, but at the Sessions, measurements taken by Mr Hunt, of Newland, Hunt & Williams (“Newlands”), of the property were held to prove it was not suitable for a public house. No evidence was called to prove the “immoral house” charge.

 The conductor of the choir at this time was Mr Alfred Williams, of Rose Cottage, he had previous association with a brass band. For anniversaries they had a stage rising approx. at 30 degrees to the rear wall, later replaced by a level one on trestles. The conductor stood on the stove. A new organ appeared on Feb 5, 1916.

 

William Jones

 Every church has its characters of the past, such was William Jones. He was employed by Nabor Crump at Estervarney Farm, where work started at six o’clock in the morning. This made it impossible for him to make morning service on Sunday, having to walk from Keeper’s Cottage, Cefn Mawr Lane, to the chapel. He resorted to a way to solve his problem, which would flabbergast our modern society; start work at five o’clock and be there. The precentor was Henry Williams, who would stop the singing and ask “Brother Jones can you keep in time?” to which William Jones would reply “BrotherWilliams if I want to praise the Lord, I will praise the Lord.”So he would continue to be half a line in front of everyone else.

 His daughter, Clara, had a beautiful soprano voice, unfortunately she died young. On Aug 29, 1917 Mrs Howells, the Cross House, relinquished the post of caretaker, Mrs Parry, Nine Wells, being her successor. The story is told, by Miss Elsie Williams, of how the children, on their way home from school, would all troop into the chapel, all over the floor which Mrs Howells had scrubbed, yet she never said a word of reprimand.

 

Centenary Celebrations and the Commencement of the Second Century

 This was held on 9th and 10th of Dec 1917. The services were to be as follows:-

Dec 9th - Pastor to preach at Morning Service. Pastor to preside over a Children’s Service in the afternoon.

Dec 10th - Monday at 3 p.m., Rev. Evan Williams to preach.

Tea to be provided at a charge of 9 pence each.

 

Building Fund

 It was proposed to establish same with a sum of £100. This must have taken place because later discussion centred on ways to invest this, whether in War Bonds or otherwise.

 On Jan 8, 1918 it was proposed to approach the agents for the Cefn Ila Estate, Messrs James & Co. of Merthyr and Messrs Westlake of Newport, the owners of the land required, to ascertain the terms of sale. No further reference is made to what happened after this. Ground must have been purchased, on which to build the vestry, but how and when is unknown.

 

Charity Commissioners

 In 1929 application for registration as a Charity by the church at Glascoed made, in writing, to the by the undersigned:-

William George Williams Upper House Glascoed Farmer

Emmanuel Sainsbury Twyn Villa, Pontypool Rd Builder

William Henry Williams Lower Wernhir Farmer

James Stephens  Bittia Farm  Farmer

 The above acted in administration of the above mentioned charity where of there are no legally appointed Trustees. The agreed to appoint, with themselves, the following:-

 

The above named people and

Joseph Lewis  New House, Llanbadoc

Mary Sainsbury  Ty Mawr, Glascoed Married

Celia Price  Glen View, Glascoed Married

Hannah Maria Williams Upper House, Glascoed Married

William Henry Williams Bryn Farm, Glascoed Farmer

 

Rev. W.R. Watkins

 Mr Davies had a brother-in-law called Mr A.E. Jones who was very generous to the little cause, he had some connection with shipping. He was a “Good Templar” and a partner in James and Emmanuel, coal exporters. He very often presided at the Sunday School Anniversary. Rev. Watkins trained Mr Cliff Pardoe to be a lay preacher, he often took services on a Sunday evening. Mrs Watkins had a very good singing voice and was able to play the piano, which she did for the Sunday School. The choir at this time had three very good voices Mrs Alfred Williams of Rose Cottage, Mrs Celia Price of Glen View and Mrs Watkins.

 Under Rev. Watkins’s ministry and that of his successor, Rev. T.J. Newbury, the Sunday School won the English Baptist Sunday School Union’s scripture examination three times, then were barred for a year, winning again on re-entry. This shield (see photograph) was lost during World War II; the Association subsequently queried whether Glascoed had retained it. Its whereabouts remain a mystery to this day.

 The ground for the Manse was given by Mrs Celia Price of Glen View with the proviso that, if the chapel ceased to function, then the ground ownership would go to the Baptist Union Fund for the upkeep of minister’s widows.

 Rev. Watkins was very methodical, every member could expect a visit from him once a month, this he carried out with the aid of a bicycle, necessary because the area to be covered was quite large. None of his congregation went to sleep when he was preaching, he had a strong voice which he used to good effect.

Back Row: (Left to Right)

Cliff Pardoe, Merfyn Williams, Don Knight, William Knight, Jim Jones, Cyril Williams, Philip Williams, Rev. W.R. Watkins

Second Row: (Left to Right)

Dick Knight, William Parry, Lyndon Topham, Glyn Williams, Gwenfron Watkins, Pat Lewis, Olwen Allen, Ciss Lawrence, Mrs Watkins, Sybil Williams, Mrs G. Williams

Third Row: (Left to Right)

Fred Allen, Roy Jones, Roy Knight, Denis Davies, Jack Meredith, Doris Leaves, Nancy Parry, Lily Topham, Jean Meredith, Betty Knight, Rose Smith, Nancy Herbert, Hilda Price

Front Row: (Left to Right)

May Jones, Glyn Pardoe, Merfyn Lewis, Bob Goodhall, [SPACE] Freda Parry, Clarice Topham, Margaret Lewis, Gwen Jones

Building of the Manse

 Church Meeting held 19. Oct 1929. Present: Mrs C Price (Glen View), Mrs Porch (Poplars), Mrs Lewis (Green Tree), Mr John Jones (The Cwm, Llanbadoc), Mr James Stephens (Bitia) with Mr Alfred Williams (Rose Cottage) as Chairman.

 Suggested by Chairman that each member be interviewed, with a view to obtaining a promise as to how much they were prepared to subscribe per year towards the upkeep of a minister. Also to look for a grant from Sustenation Fund to support a minister on his own. There is no further reference to either suggestions being fruitful.

 Church Meeting held Nov 12, 1930 gave the following details: Fencing site, sinking well, fixing pump, building Manse amounted to £762/0/0 and, after using up available sources, the debt was £291/13/3 owing to the bank. An interesting proposition concerns the organising of a penny-a-week subscription scheme, Bros. Ernie Howells and John Jones to run this. Every way and means was pressed into service to lower the debt, thank offerings, concerts, watch night service with lantern slides at 9 pence entry fee, carol parties and, finally, the Tea Party. A rating demand for £9 was accepted as fair, which proves the manse was already built by this date.

 Officers were: Secretary – Mr Emmanuel Sainsbury, Treasurer – Mr W.H. Williams and Sunday School Supt – Mr Clifford Pardoe.

 Minutes of Feb 25 1931 show Harvest Festival offering as £6, they agreed to divide this equally between the “Baptist Missionary Society and Rev J.J. Griffiths of the Cayman Islands, he being a former Pastor.”

 In 1932 a vote of thanks was passed, thanking Mr & Mrs John Lewis, Upper House, Glascoed for the gift of a new stove (this one had a internal diameter of about 18”, it certainly took many buckets of coke to fill it).

 In 1936, Rev. W.R. Watkins resigned the pastorate on being given a call to Zion, Forge Side. An annual statement of December 1935 gave the membership as being 74 with weekly offerings totalling £83/4/0 and loose collection £9/13/8. It also showed a bank overdraft of £175/2/11.

 

Ordnance Factory

 The Ministry of Supply made known their intentions of acquiring certain properties, in 1936, to build an ordinance factory. The initial work was to sink bore holes to check the geological structure of the valley. Morgans of Cardiff was the main contractor with Nuttalls (London) carrying out tunnelling requirements.

 The eventual removal of the people in the purchased properties affected the cause in a minor way. Mr W.H. Williams removed to the Bryn Farm; William Williams of Bryn Farm to Allt yr Bella, Llangwm; Mrs H.M. Williams, Mrs A. Williams and Mr W. Williams to Penlan Farm, Coed-y-paen, from Upper House, Llanbadoc; Mrs Knight and family from The Bungalow to the Berllan; Mr & Mrs Williams, Berllans to Llangwm area. All these had connections with the chapel, although some were able to maintain their membership afterwards. The following properties were destroyed – Lower & Upper Wern-hir, Little Cefn Ila, Bryn Bungalow and buildings at Middle Wernhir, also two bungalows in Graig Coed.

 At its peak 20,000 were employed there, which included many local people.

 

Parking Bay

 The removal of earth, to create a parking bay on the roadside in front of the Manse, was carried out by members and non-members. These included Mr Cliff Pardoe, Mr Price (Glen View) and Mr W.H. Williams (who provided the horse and cart) among others. A stepped pathway was made up to the front door but, on request from their next Pastor, this was closed up and a new one made out to the garage for easier pram access. The garage was erected by a member from Coed y paen, Mr Will Lewis, who was a local carpenter.

 

Rev. T.J. Newbury



Signed:

Celia Price

W.H. Williams (Wern-hir)

M. Sainsbury

W.H. Williams (Bryn)

E. Sainsbury


 On Wed, Sept 1. 1937 the Ordination and Recognition Services of Rev. T.J. Newbury took place at Glascoed. On Sept 5, the Recognition Service for Little Mill Baptist took place with Mr. C. Rogers (Sam) in the chair. At Glascoed the Ordination was carried out by Principal T.W. Chance in the afternoon and at 6.30pm the charge to the Church by Professor Edward Roberts. The charge to the church at Little Mill was given by Professor T.H. Robinson.

 Rev. Newbury had a car, the first minister to do so. It was very convenient because of a young family and the work at Little Mill. Mrs Newbury worked in the Ordinance Factory for a while but did not enjoy very good health, having suffered from Tuberculosis. In 1939 they held a sewing class, in preparation for the Cherry Tea.

 A new practice was begun in 1941. It was proposed, at an after service meeting, that the organist should receive an honorarium from church funds (this did not last long).

 In 1943 the Pastor accepted a call to Hengoed Baptist Chapel. He resigned the pastorate of Hengoed and went into teaching, but was unable to keep two homes going. He went to work for the Coal Board as a Storekeeper. This enabled him to carry on a preaching ministry far and wide, especially to the smaller churches.

 

Sunday School

 Because of the absence of the young men and because Rev. Newbury took an afternoon service at Little Mill (necessitated by the blackout) the Sunday School was kept going by Mrs Pat Williams, Mrs Newbury and Mr Sainsbury.

 

Evacuees

 A group of children, with a master came from Barking, London, being allocated around the district. Some of these children came to Sunday School.

 

Rev. Hubert Jenkins

  

Rev. H.J. Gurmin

 

New Deacons

At a Church Meeting of July 3rd, 1949 the following were elected as deacons and deaconesses:

 

Mrs Emily Williams  New House

Mrs Agnes Jones  High House

Mrs Florence Price  Poplars

Mrs Margaret Knight  Berllans

Mr Harry Williams  Pentwyn

Mr Harry Lewis  Lower Prescoed Farm

Mr Merfyn Williams  Wellfield Farm

Mr Vernon Knight  Berllans

Mr Glyn Williams  New House

 

Repositioning of Stove

 At an Officers Meeting held Aug 12, 1949, it was proposed that the stove be removed from the vestry and the outlet pipe be relocated in the East Wall of the Chapel. This was eventually carried out because the previous location gave no heat to the congregation.

 

Burial Ground Rules

 At the same meeting it was decided to draw up a set of burial ground rules.

o Application for the right to buy be made first to the Secretary.

o If not available, then the Treasurer, then the nearest available Officer.

o The yard be available to bury any person.

o For a member, child up to eighteen years of age be 15 shillings.

o Reopening a grave 7 shillings 6 pence.

o For non members the charge should be 30 shillings for a new grave.

o Reopening of a grave 15 shillings.

o The charge for taking a monument into the yard be 20 shillings.

No curbing or headstone to be more than 3 feet wide by 7 feet long. Also a space of 12 inches to be maintained between each grave. Also included in this proposition was the fact that a family may choose a row, providing it was in strict rotation. Further, a member may reserve ground on payment of the usual fee. It was also agreed that a cross, in the centre of the grave, should be equal to a headstone. A register of all graves to be kept. Note – a charge for the burial of a member is not stated. In fairness, it should be stated that there was a big demand for a grave from people outside the church circle.

Fees:

Officiating minister – 10 shillings.

Organist 2/6 for member, 7/6 for non member

Caretaker, for opening chapel, 2/6

It was proposed that all ground and monument fees be set aside for the upkeep of the churchyard.

 

Crockery set

 At the annual church meeting held March 9, 1950, the Young People’s Secretary, Miss Margaret Lewis, stated that they proposed to replenish the crockery set. In the 1951 meeting a vote of thanks was passed for the replenishing of the set.

 

Triangular Plot

 It was decided at the Annual Meeting March 7, 1951, to fence off the triangular plot – bought from the Government – by voluntary effort. No further details given. This was completed. Parking Space in front of Manse – After discussion it was decided to hand this over to the Council on the understanding that they kept it in a proper state of repair.

 

War Memorial Tablet

 Permission to be sought, from relatives of those who made the supreme sacrifice in the 1939-45 war, to have their names inscribed on the tablet – recorded in the Annual Meeting held Feb 1952. In the 1953 minutes it was proposed that the Secretary write an urgent letter to Mr Reynolds with regards to his promise to inscribe the names, seeking a definite date and, failing this, to get in touch with someone else to do the job.

 

Electric Power

 A special church meeting was called on Oct 7, 1953, to consider installation of electric power. Company terms: For the provision of overhead cables to the Manse, Chapel and High Cross, the cost would be £15, with £12 per annum for electricity consumed. The quotation was accepted.

 

Caretaker’s Wages

 An increase in the caretaker’s money of 5/- was passed at a church meeting of March 1954. The caretaker was Mr Loveridge, who not only repaired shoes, but was odd job man for the manse. Special thanks were recorded, for the splendid effort Mrs Nellie Jones made to collect £20 towards installing electric light in the Chapel, Manse and Cottage.

 A question arose as to replacing the vacancies caused by the decease of 3 Deaconesses. Proposed by Mr Roy Knight and seconded by Mr Merfyn Williams that it be left in abeyance until the next Annual General Meeting.

 

New Deacons

 The following were elected in July 1956:-

Mr Roy Knight

Mrs Gladys Pritchard

Miss Betty Knight

 

 Special Church Meeting April 10, 1955 – owing to the death of Mr W.H. Williams, who had been Treasurer for over 40 years, his son Mr Merfyn Williams was appointed to succeed him. It was further agreed that a bank account be opened in the joint names of Secretary and Treasurer. This shows that debts were previously paid by cash, or the Treasurer using his own account. The Annual Balance Sheet for 1956 gave the membership as 42, with a weekly offering total of £181/2/0 and loose collection standing at £24/18/5. Minister’s stipend was £147/5/0. Cleaning came to £26/3/0 and Sale of work realised £22. Building account stood at £236/6/8, with Auditors named as Mr A.E. Williams and Mr J.H. Lewis.

 

Entrance Pathway

 In 1957 it was proposed to tarmac the pathway. In the Church Meeting of Feb 24, 1958, Mr Vernon Knight proposed the Guild balance of £4/2/6 be used to carry this out. After some discussion it was proposed that it be delayed until the water service was laid. It was also agreed that a wreath be given at the funeral of all members.

 

Grant Application

 The Trustees made an application for a Council Improvement Grant on the Manse. Cost of improvement was £253/10/0, a grant of 50% gave them £126. (Dated 22nd May.)

 

Manse Trustees 1959

The following were appointed Manse Trustees:-

Mr Emmanuel Sainsbury  Ty Mawr

Miss Catherine Sainsbury  Ty Mawr

Mr A.E. Williams  Greenpool Farm

Mr Roy Knight  Berllans

Mrs Margaret Knight  Berllans

Mr Harry Williams  Glen Isca, Llanfair

 Rev. H.J. Gurmin gave up the Pastorate in 1958. For a time he stayed in the Manse, then he moved to the Town Centre, Cwmbran. He and his wife took up membership with Pontrhyd-y-run Baptist Chapel. He continued to preach for many years and lived to ripe old age.

 The Church was now without a minister and as Little Mill was under the pastorate of Crane Street Baptist Chapel, in order to qualify for a grant from the Sustenation Fund, another partner had to be found. Llangibby Baptist Chapel agreed to consider a joint pastorate. On this basis, in 1961, a call was given to a Mr Hyde, who turned it down because of the distance to the main Pontypool – Usk road. On March 18, a Special Church Meeting appointed Mr Glyn Williams as organist, with the help of playing members, and Mr Vernon Knight as Treasurer in the place of Mr Merfyn Williams, who had resigned both offices.


Rev. B.J. Morgan

 Meeting, held on April 9th recorded that the Pastor stated the cooker had been installed satisfactorily and was now in action. Rev. B.J. Morgan stated that he had received the cheque for £100, given to the church by Mrs N. Perrot of Upper Twyn, Glascoed – Church Secretary to acknowledge same. It was stated that possibly it was best to notify South Wales Power before installing any type of electrical heating to ensure that the system was not overloaded.

  Deacons’ meeting held Tuesday Aug 28th noted that the cementing of the wall on the west side of the manse had been completed, also the damp in the vestry taken care of. A Prayer Meeting at 10.30am was inaugurated on Communion Sundays. The new hymn book (second issue) was now on sale and it was agreed to ask members to purchase the new issue, that the new tunes might be learned.

 

New Secretary

 Owing to the death of our late Secretary, Mr E. Sainsbury, it was necessary to appoint a new one. Mr Glyn Williams was voted into the office on March 26, 1963 with Mr Roy Knight as Assistant Secretary. He had been Secretary for 61 yrs.

 

Vestry Extension

 On 28 July, 1963 the church accepted the drawings of the extension and authorised the Secretary to submit them to Planning Authority for approval. Mr Lyn Rickards had drawn up the plans. Application made to the council 4 Sept 1963 to cross the road with the water supply pipes. Vestry extension building permission granted 23.9.1963. At this time it was decided to discontinue the insurance on the Manse, which was with Mr V. Etheridge of Usk, and seek to raise a policy with The Baptist Insurance Co. An application for a rate reduction below the 50% granted was refused on the grounds that the ratepayers might not understand, and was difficult to justify. A preliminary enquiry to the development of ‘High Cross’ (ex public house) was rejected on seven different grounds (dated 19th Aug 1963).

 

Election of Deacons

 As the diaconate had fallen below strength, nominations were sought to fill the vacancies and, as the number nominated was equal to the vacancies, the church accepted them “en bloc” at a Church Meeting dated Sept 15, 1963.

Nominated persons:-

Mrs Greeta Parry  The Ton

Mrs Sybil Williams

Mr Lyn Rickards  Coedypaen

Mr Harry Watkins  Radyr, Usk

Mr Gareth Williams

 The Harvest Festival fruit and flowers were now being offered to the Cheshire Home at Llanhennock, which they gratefully received. Pontypool Hospital turned the offer down. The old clock on the gallery, which had not functioned for years and had become an eyesore and a source of delight for youngsters to push the hands around, was now to be replaced by the gift of an electric clock from Mr and Mrs George Wilde of Bethesda, Rogerstone. Since the early fifties three bass singers, one contralto and one soprano (their wives) had joined the anniversary choir every year for this event. They came from Rogerstone for a period of 20 years. The Sunday School on average was 20-25 scholars.

 

Baptist Home Work Fund – Ministerial Grants

 A letter received from the above stipulated that the following scale of wages should be paid to ministers. Accommodation and rates to be paid in addition.

Accredited Ministers: Per Annum

(1) Married  £520

(2) Married with a Child £552

(3) Single  £480

(4) Single (aged over 40) £520

(Dated March 1963).

 

New Organ

 The church had been well served by pedal organs since the late 1870s. At a Deacon’s meeting, dated 14.4.1964, an offer of a new electronic organ was made by Mr Gareth Williams, which the Church gratefully accepted. The Church contributed £25 from the Organ Fund.

 

Telephone

 This required two poles and, within a few weeks, the telephone was installed. The Manse was now up to date with all “mod cons”.

 

Associate Membership

 A Deacons’ meeting on 15.10.64, agreed to recommend to the church that an Associate Membership List be set up to cover the following situations:

 (a) That applicants are bona fide members of another Evangelical church and are able to provide evidence of this membership, a transfer to be effected, membership to be given, subject to minister’s, deacons and church decision.

 (b) If applicant is in membership with another Evangelical church, this membership having lapsed and, not being traceable, a trial period being passed, would be eligible, subject to minister, deacon and church decision.

 These to accept this appointment at all times of a minister who believes and practices the sacrament of Believer’s Baptism.

 

Society Meeting

 When this meeting was first commenced it is not known, within living memory it was always so. This practice of members remaining in the church, after the service of worship, was held for any person who wished to become a member to remain in their seats. Secondly, the Secretary or Treasurer would comment on the word of God they had just received, it also gave an opportunity for any urgent item of business to be raised. This set a division between members and non members and cut out any contact between them. It was agreed to discontinue this practice. The following were asked to serve at the door, to shake hands with people coming in and going out – Mr V. Knight, Mr R. Knight and Mr Harry Watkins.

 

Burial Ground

 At a Deacons’ Meeting dated 17.8.65, a recommendation was put forward that the practice of having curbs around graves be ended, in the interest of easy grass cutting. Only headstones to be allowed after completion of the current row.

 Mr Gareth Williams stated, at a Deacons’ Meeting on 26.1.65, that he would be taking up the position of Organist at Griffithstown B.C. but would retain his membership at Glascoed. Subsequently, at a Deacons’ meeting on 9.11.65, the Membership request was granted, also a leaving gift of £5 was given, our pastor saying that we were disappointed at losing him.

 

Notice Board (Roadside)

 Notice board was made by our pastor’s son-in-law, Mr G. Hawley. Thanks were expressed at a Deacons’ meeting dated Aug 8, 1967.

 Miss May Sainsbury gave a gift of £100 to the church, which was gratefully received.

 Meeting of Male Section of Diaconate for discussion on Burial Ground.

The following was agreed to:

 When the whole committee was not available, any matter in doubt or dispute should be referred to any three of its members and their decision would be final. All applications for burial must be made through the Church Secretary but, if he is not available, then the Church Treasurer should be sought and if neither of these can be found the nearest officer or deacon must be seen. The ground would be open for the burial of any deceased person.

Charges:  Grave Fee

Non Member Adult £5/0/0

Member Adult £2/10/0

Child up to 10 years £2/10/0

Minister’s Fee £2/0/0 (to be varied at minister’s discretion)

Organist Fee  £0/15/0 (to be varied at Organist’s discretion)

Caretaker fee £0/15/0

Scattering Ashes £2/10/0

New ground to be kept for future burials.

New ground head stone to be firmly fixed in concrete.

 

Pastor’s Retirement

 Rev. B.J. Morgan presided over his last Deacon’s Meeting on 17th June, 1969, before retiring. He expressed a wish to meet as many of the members as possible before giving up the pastorate. He and his wife retired to Litchard Hill, Bridgend, having pursued a very gracious ministry among the people of the hamlet.

 

Three Way Pastorate

 At a meeting of the Deacons, held 3rd Dec, 1968, they instructed the Secretary, Mr G. Williams, to write to Llangibby and Little Mill Baptist Churches to explore the possibility of a three-way pastorate, as our present pastor had intimated that he would retire next year from the ministry. A further meeting, held 2nd April 1969, revealed that Little Mill had answered positively and it was proposed, by Mr A. Panting, that we go forward with Little Mill, seconded by Mr H. Watkins.

 

Link with Siloam Baptist Chapel

 The Area Superintendent had come forward with a new proposal, that Glascoed enter into a joint pastorate with Siloam, possibly with Little Mill added. A vote was taken amongst all the members, 47 ballot sheets sent out, of which 43 were returned with a 100% “Yes” vote. Rev. Mathias Williams was informed and a meeting was to be arranged with Siloam. Little Mill turned this proposition down.

 It was agreed to check all applicants for medical condition and that they were not to exceed 59 years of age. If the applicant had no car, it was agreed this was not a hindrance.


In 1887 Rev. Joseph Lewis resigned the pastorate at Church Street, Tredegar,

after 29 years. He returned home to Ty Newydd (New House) which he owned. He was raised on Glascoed, went to Pontypool College in Jan 1852 and was ordained in Usk in 1854. From there he moved to Raglan in 1856, then to Tredegar in 1858. He had laboured under much difficulty in his latter years because of his failing eyesight, which caused his resignation. In 1888 he was given a call, which he accepted because of his love for preaching. As the years passed, he became completely blind and tapped his way around the parish, he was beloved by his church and ministry. His wife did not take much care of him, Henry Williams related how he wiped the lather from his face, left after shaving, before he entered the church.


 Mr Emmanuel Sainsbury related how he was at a prayer meeting at Twyn y Cryn and Mr Lewis failed to appear, so he was sent to look for him. He found him on the School Common, he had lost his way and he did not know it. His wife used to wear a poke bonnet with tassels which she would flick during the service, causing the tassels to bounce about, much to the delight of the younger generation. Her favourite colour was terra cotta.

He was a product of Penygarn Baptist Chapel he was given a call Oct 10, 1906 at a salary of £1/2/6 per week. He was given 3 Sundays holiday and it was stipulated he should live locally. A tall man, he was beloved of the children, it was a common sight to see him going along the road with three or four children holding his hand on either side. He lodged at Ty Newydd with Joseph Lewis and his sister, Anne.

 A story is told of when visiting a lady member with a large family and a further child expected, he put his hand deep into his pocket and pulled out sixpence, which he offered to the lady. Many years later the child that was then to be born queried her mother, “Why did you take it?”to which she replied, “It was his last, how could such generosity be refused?”.That sixpence was kept for many years and the story retold. He left Glascoed in 1916, for the West Indies.

 In 1944 a letter was received by his niece at Penygarn which gave news in of his death at Santa Cruz. He did not go as missionary under the B.M.S but took a church out there. The letter spoke of a hurricane that had swept Jamaica, in which he had lost everything. The tribute paid to him was “We learned to love and respect him,” surely a blessed servant of the Lord.

 The church tried to reach agreement with the owners of the ‘High Cross’, Messrs. Lloyd and Yorath, to install windows in the west wall, but the terms laid down by the Directors were deemed to be unacceptable (May 24, 1911).



Was a mature student in Cardiff College. Didn’t really want to enter the ministry but was persuaded by others to do so. A very able preacher, deeply theological, he entered the College and was looked upon as being an excellent student, especially in Greek, indeed they tried to persuade him to enter a degree course but, as his father was blind, and he contributed to his welfare, such a thing was an impossibility. When he supplied the pulpit he came with a plaster on his leg, caused by a student prank at the college. Below is a copy of the “call” document:-

 Copy of call to the Rev. T.J. Newbury May 10, 1937.

o We beg to post you terms of Pastoral Stipend £90/0/0.

o Holiday Sundays 4 per annum.

o Month free as previously stated.

o Term Limit as per rules of Ministerial Settlement Board, Sept 30 (Usually 5 years).

o Churches to contribute Two and a Half percent of Stipend for Superannuation.

The church remained without a pastor until they gave a call to Rev. W.R. Watkins, of Rhyl, in 1929. The church now had a problem, they did not have a manse, so they decided to build one. Tenders were sought and Mr Emmanuel Sainsbury, the Secretary, was allotted the contract. In the meantime, Rev. Watkins lived in New Inn until the Manse was completed in 1930. The cost was given as seven hundred and fifty pounds which imposed a severe strain on the little church.

 As the recession of the thirties began to bite and church income dropped, the bank began to query the Treasurer over the small amounts that were being paid off. A new headmaster was appointed to the village school and W.H. Williams, a school governor, fought for the new Headmaster to be resident in the schoolhouse. The new Headmaster, A.E. Davies, came from Abersychan and was in membership at High Street Baptist, where he was a deacon. It was his idea that set in motion the ‘Cherry Tea’ and, from it, the church was eventually able to pay off its debt. Because many of the small places had cherry trees, also ‘Aberaeron’ had a prolific orchard, there was no problem in obtaining large quantities to give each person at the table a quarter pound of cherries


On May 21, 1944 the above-named, of Goodwick, Pembs, was given a call to the joint pastorate of Glascoed and Little Mill. On Monday Sept 18, 1944 he was inducted to the joint pastorate, with Rev. R.J. Scannell in the chair, the charge to the Minister was delivered by Rev. Griffith Harries (Area Superintendent) and, in the evening, the Charge to the church by Rev. E.W. Price Evans, M.A. (Pontypool).

 He was a very short man, who was barely visible over the pulpit lectern, but was a very good preacher and popular with the young people but he did not stay very long. During his ministry, the cottage and garden known as High Cross was for sale, and an offer was made of £150, which was duly accepted by Mr Topham. There is no record in the media of a farewell service or party when he accepted a call to a church in Abingdon, Oxfordshire.

  In 1947 when the great fall of snow came, because the authorities were unable to clear it, pathways were cut through it. Because of his shortness, Rev. Jenkins could not be seen when he was out walking. Borstal boys were used at Coedypaen, cutting the drifts at two levels then using a caterpillar tractor to finally clear. The caterpillar tractor was owned by Mr Percy Jude of Common Farm.

 The balance sheet, dated Dec 31, 1946 gave the envelope membership as 57, with a weekly offering amounting to £147/18/2. Ministerial stipend as £115/0/0.


He came from Radnorshire, where he held pastorates over a group of churches. A ‘Free Press’ report of July 23, 1948 mentions Evenjob, New Radnor and Gladestry but, after the death of his wife, he gave up the ministry for a number of years. He later remarried and accepted the pastorate of Glascoed and Little Mill.

 A man of exceptional ability, he studied at home and passed the Baptist Union final examination. He would reminisce of when he started to preach, sermon preparation was under the tuition of his minister. After submission of a sermon he was told “go back and think”, this was the answer five more times, no wonder he was an able preacher. He was a very able judge of character and possessed the ability to be very scathing, a quality he never used but sometimes he would say “I might have said …” but never did, all this with a quiet chuckle, after removing his pipe from his mouth. He took great delight in doing things. He made himself a greenhouse from any oddments he could find, kept chicken and did a bit of gardening but none of this detracted from his work as a minister.

In 1961, Rev. B.J. Morgan was inducted to the pastorate of Glascoed and Llangibby. He was a native of Church Village, in Glamorganshire, and Mrs Morgan a native of Anglesey. They came from the Baptist church at Twickenham. On Thursday 12th Oct 1961, a simple induction was held at Glascoed with Rev. J.A. Jones (Mon. Bapt. Assoc.) as President. The following ministers took part: Revs. Alcwyn Jones (Raglan), H. Gurmin, J.D. Monger (Monmouth) with William Davies giving the address. Mr E. Sainsbury and Mr. C. Granville spoke for their churches respectively.

 At a Church Meeting of Feb 20, 1962, the question of the church heating was discussed because, when the wind was in an adverse direction, it was impossible to see our Pastor in the pulpit clearly, because of the smoke being blown back down the outlet pipe.


At a further meeting held on March 12th, various forms of electrical heating were examined. A further suggestion was put out, that we ask Mr. Bob Price to join the committee and obtain samples of various types of heating costs from which to make a selection. The question arose of the installation of an electric cooker in the Manse.



Rev Meirion Jones



Eventually, the Rev. Meirion Jones was given a call and was inducted to the Pastorate of Mount Zion, Glascoed and Siloam, Upper Cwmbran on Sat 11 April, 1970. The Afternoon Service was presided over by Rev. B.J. Morgan (Former Pastor), with Prof. Dafydd Davies (Cardiff Baptist College) giving the Sermon and Rev. George Evans (deputising for Area Supt.) carrying out the Act of Induction. The Evening Service was held at Siloam Church, President Rev. Colin Lewis, Mon. Baptist Association. The Sermon was given by Prof. Elfed Davies (Cardiff College).

 

“On this Rock I will Build my Church” Matt 16.18