History and Heritage

Saron Independent Chapel, Rhydyfro

Saron Independent Chapel, Rhydyfro was built in 1904, to replace what is now Saron Old Chapel, which was converted into a schoolroom for the chapel. It is located right at the top of Rhydyfro, as you head up the hill from Pontardawe. The current graveyard lies behind the chapel.

Saron Old Chapel, the original chapel was first constructed in 1815, but was rebuilt in 1843, then modified in 1857. This is the building which now stands as a Grade 2 listed building. The original graveyard is adjacent to this building.

Saron Old Chapel

Saron Old Chapel and the graveyard, right by the main road

Saron Old Chapel as it is today; the name stone says Built 1845

Saron Independent Chapel

Saron Independent Chapel on the right hand side of the road

Saron Independent Chapel and the architecture of the front

8 windows in 2 rows of 4 on the side of Saron Independent Chapel

The setting of Saron Independent Chapel, with the graveyard behind

The Foundation Stones

Cosodwyd y carreg hon can Miss Violet Olwen Williams, Maesygwernen Hall, Corphenaf 30 1904

This stone was laid by Miss Violet Olwen Williams, Maesygwernen Hall, July 30 1904

Cosodwyd y carreg hon can Miss Mary Dulcibel Frances Gilbertson, Glynteg, Corphenaf 30, 1904

This stone was laid by Miss Mary Dulcibel Frances Gilbertson, Glynteg, July 30, 1904

Ministers of Saron Chapel, Rhydyfro

Thank you to David at Pillars of Faith for this information.

From its rebuilding in 1843, the minister of Saron Chapel, Rhydyfro, was the Reverend Rhys Pryse who remained until 1869. He had at the same time minister at Cwmllynfell 1835-1869 and at Gibeah, Brynamman 1842-1869.

Between 1870 and 1884 the Reverend John Jones was minister of Saron Chapel, Rhydyfro. He had begun his ministry in Anglesey in 1850, and was joint minister of Maentwrog, Nerion and Utica until 1865 whereupon he took up the joint ministry of Carmel, Gwaun-cae-Gurwen and Gwrhyd Chapel until 1881, thus seeing an overlap with his ministry at Saron, Rhydyfro, though he remained at the latter three more years.

From 1888 to 1890 Saron, Rhydyfro and from 1886 to 1890 Gwrhyd Chapel both shared the Reverend David Deryn Walters as minister. He went on to be minister of Bryn Seion, Abercych 1890-1926 and Newcastle Emlyn 1890-1901.

The minister of Saron, Rhydyfro between 1891 and 1893 was the Reverend J.J. Evans.

The Reverend John Rhys Price was minister of Saron, Rhydfro between 1897 and 1934.

The Reverend Idwal Jones came to Saron, Rhydyfro in 1936, and was still there in 1939. He had previously been minister of Llanrhiadr & Maengwynedd between 1933 and 1936.

From the Llais

The Llais newspaper had always included a round-up of happenings at local churches and chapels, even when these were not part of any particular story. Sometimes they advertised forthcoming events, and at other times who was preaching, or had preached there recently.

From the South Wales Voice 13th November 1926:-

Mr Fred Jenkins, Ty Capel, Rhydyfro, has been indisposed for several months owing to knee trouble, believed to be the effects of an accident received about 10 years ago. He was employed at Messrs Gilbertsons' alloy works, and is the caretaker of Saron Chapel, Rhydyfro.

From the South Wales Voice 9th February 1935:-


Saron annual Eisteddfod, Rhydyfro, one of the few events of its kind remaining in the district, is increasing in popularity each year. This year's Eisteddfod which is the 14th, will be held at Saron on May 5th and the programme is being prepared for the event.