Radical Resistance

Llwynrhydowain was the mother church of Unitarianism in Wales and the centre from which grew a remarkable group of  Unitarian chapels (14 in all) in Dyffryn Tywi and Dyffryn Aeron, Ceredigion, an area that later became known as Y Smotyn Du (‘The Black Spot) to some hostile nonconformists. The first chapel was founded by Jenkin Jones, an Independent minister, after he became dissatisfied with the orthodox Calvinism of his co-pastor at Pantycreuddyn. Jenkins adopted Arminian views and built the first chapel in 1733. Apparently, the chapel was enlarged in 1754. It was rebuilt entirely in 1834. Forty two years later, in 1876, the congregation was evicted for failing to vote in accordance with the landlord’s wishes in the 1868 election. The then minister, William Thomas (Gwilym Marles) – grave in front of chapel – held services in the open air until a new wooden chapel (Ty Cwrdd) was built at Castell Hywel, followed later by a stone chapel on the Pontsian road.

[WELSH RELIGIOUS BUILDINGS TRUST Report to Buildings Sub-committee, 15th September, 2005 HEN GAPEL LLWYNRHYDOWAIN, Rhydowen, Llandysul. References: G & J Hague, The Unitarian Heritage (1986); D R Barnes, People of Seion (1995)].