About the Society
Historical Notes






Primitive Methodists


Primitive Methodists first appeared in Aberdare during the first half of the 19th century and during the 1840s about 30 members used to meet in a room in the village. Their Pastor was a Rev Mr. Mullin.


Roman Catholicism


Shortly after 1850, it was estimated that there were about 300 Catholics at Aberdare and about 200 more in Hirwaun. Services were conducted in the Long Room of the Horse and Groom. Their Priest was a Father Muldoone.


The Mormons


The Mormons, (The Latter Day Saints), had started their missionary activities in Wales circa 1843/44 making Merthyr their headquarters under their leaders William Henchman and Capt. Dan Jones. A branch was established at Aberdare as part of the Merthyr District. Mormons were noted for their acceptance of polygamy, their religious fervour and their claim to spiritual gifts particularly the gift of prophecy. An event in 1845 appeared to substantiate the last named.


A number of Mormons were employed at Powell’s Pit, Cwmbach. It appears that one of them was warned in a vision not to attend work on a certain day in this year. On this same day, 28 lives were lost in the colliery and it is claimed not one of these victims was a Mormon. See ‘Theirs is the Kingdom’, W.J. Ashton, Salt Lake City, 1945.


According to figures published this year, there were 85 Mormons in Aberdare with branches at Cwmbach, Aberdare village and Hirwaun. The Aberdare Branch met at the Welsh Harp, (the residence of Philip Rees), which was licensed as a place of worship on the 4th October 1848; and the Hirwaun Branch at the Patriot Arms, which was licensed on January 15th 1850 NLW Mss 11/P.D.M./21 and 241. One of the most prominent Aberdare Mormons was William Howells who later became a missionary in France.


UTGORN SEION September pp 171/4 : A party of Mormons from Aberdare under Capt Dan Jones emigrated to America in the Buona Vista.


A party of Mormons sailed to America including some from Aberdare. It appears that some had become Mormons before embarking in order to get cheap passages with the help of “The Saints Permanent Emigration Fund for New Orleans and St. Louis”. These were promptly excommunicated aboard ship.


Gardd Aberdâr states that the number of Mormons in Aberdare was circa 250. This is borne out by the figures published after the Glamorgan Conference 31st.December 1848 – 1st of January 1849.







John Price




Joseph Davies




Daniel Evans



Their numbers declined during the 50s and the remainder of the century until by the 1880s there were not any left.




An incident concerning Gwawr Chapel


The Rev D.B. Jones of Rhymni, (Dewi Elfed), newly ordained Minister at Gwawr became a Mormon as a result of which he was called to appear before the Baptist Association. He refused claiming that the Association had no jurisdiction over him. He was excommunicated in absentia. In the meantime, Jones had altered the Trust Deeds in his favour. There followed a legal action, culminating in the Assize Courts in 1851, when a verdict was arrived at in favour of the Association. To ensure that justice was done the Rev Thomas Price with two thousand Baptist followers marched on Gwawr together with the Law Officers. Jones and one supporter locked themselves in the Chapel, but Price and one of his deacons eventually gained access through a window. After a wild chase round the chapel galleries, Price literally booted Jones out of the front door. Jones later threatened to bring a case against Price for assault but his bluff was called and the matter dropped.