About the Society
Historical Notes






The Baptists


The Baptists showed the most phenomenal development of all up to 1850.


The Rev William Lewis returned to Carmel Penpownd at the time when the four denominations at Hirwaun were branching out on their own.
June 15th, 5 members of the Particular Baptists registered their own meeting place at Hirwaun — Ramoth. On June 18th, Ramoth was consecrated under the ministry of the Rev William Lewis and there were 50 members.


With a membership of 74, Ramoth became a separate church and in


Ramoth became a completely separate church from Carmel Penpownd when William Lewis resigned the pastorship of the Hirwaun Church.


Ramoth was served by the Rev Thomas G. Jones.


Ramoth was served by the Rev Benjamin Evans.

According to the statistics of the church, the membership rose as follows:

1840   97                         1846   165 .


April 15th. The offertory at the Anniversary services, (which were intended to pay off the chapel debt), came to £196..1..0. It was made up to £200 by a few members. A local newspaper commented that this was a remarkable achievement particularly in view of the fact that with 2 or 3 exceptions most of the congregation were of the working class.


William Lewis remained the minister of Carmel during the period.


The chapel was enlarged.


William Lewis departed and the church extended a ‘call’ to Mr. Thomas Price a student at Pontypool Baptist College and he was ordained at Carmel on January 1st 1846. Thus began the most colourful and influential nonconformist ministry in the parish during the 19th century, it lasted 42 years until Price’s death in March 1888. By his 40th anniversary, he had performed 1596 baptisms. His association with the local Board of Health, Board of Guardians, School Board, Friendly Societies, relations with Anglicanism, Ministerial and Library activities reveal him as a man of many parts; references to these will be made in the appropriate sections. When he became minister there were 91 members by the time they moved across the road to Calfaria in May 1852, there were 496 members and 290 Sunday School scholars. By 1863, there were 1031 members and 1214 Sunday School scholars and 131 teachers. Accommodation was obviously inadequate for such vast numbers hence chapels were built at Cwmdare, Abernant, Ynyslwyd, etc during the early 60s. When the move to Calfaria took place, 58 members remained at Carmel and formed an English Baptist Church. English Services had been held in the Long Room of the Horse and Groom as early as 1850.


Carmel incorporated as an English Baptist Church. The first minister was the Rev James Cooper who was not a success “because he was a monoglot Englishman”.


By the end of this year, there were 50 members and 28 Sunday School Scholars at Carmel and the church did not really thrive until the late 50s. It is noted that the membership of Carmel in


was 114 compared with 91 in 1846. This decrease was due to the incorporation of a new Baptist Church at Abernantygroes, Cwmbach on 15/16 January 1845, which drew much of its strength from Carmel. Prior to that there had been a Baptist Conventicle registered at Abernantygroes since 1841.

One of the pioneers of the Baptist movement in Cwmbach was the Rev Morgan Lewis who became a victim of the cholera epidemic of 1849.


The church had 114 members and 100 Sunday School scholars.


Meanwhile early in this year under the inspiration of Thomas Price, Carmel had set up a Sunday School at Heolyfelin. This proved to be successful especially when Thomas Joseph moved from Hirwaun to Trecynon in order to open the Ysguborwen Pit and in so doing, brought with him many Hirwaun Baptists.


With the exodus of the Wesleyan Methodists to Zion, the Trecynon Baptists took over Pentwyn Bach for a short while but they continued to be members at Hirwaun or at Carmel until


when Heolyfelin Baptist Chapel was built to the design of Thomas Joseph who was also a competent architect.


The new Church was consecrated on the 15th of December and there were 60 members and 65 Sunday School scholars. The same missionary enterprise was shown with regard to the lower end of the valley.

1848 June 15

121 members of Carmel Penpownd incorporated into a separate Baptist church in the Long Room of the King William Hotel, Aberaman. Plans were immediately embarked upon to build a chapel to be called Gwawr and to induct a minister the Rev David Bevan Jones (Dewi Elfed). The choice proved to be disastrous (vide Mormons) and the Baptists lost the use of Gwawr until November 1851. It then reopened under the care of the Rev J.B. Williams of Cwmbach (who followed the Rev Morgan Lewis) but its membership was reduced to 61.