Dyfi Valley Churches and Chapels.

The Dyfi Valley was probably no different from anywhere else in rural Wales in the way that the Non-Conformist movement took off with fervour during in the 1800s. There must have been a flurry of building work going on, with the different denominations providing alternative places of worship for their flocks, often right next door to each other, or just across the street from the Established Church. Each village had its chapels, as did even the most remote areas of the minor valleys, and one wonders where the congregations came from - and where they went. The growth of mining attracted large numbers of workers, and when the industry collapsed so the population would have moved on. Similarly, the mechanisation of the textile industry in the North of England had a dramatic effect on the need for local home-based weaving.

The styles of the chapels vary immensely, from very small, simple, one room buildings to massive elaborate structures, decorated with classical columns or fancy spires. Chapels were usually built from the local slate, the smaller buildings being simply stuccoed in white, and a few had their walls hung with roofing slates. One or two of the more ostentatious chapels seem to be constructed in dressed stone, and most are roofed with the ubiquitous slate. The very smallest buildings are simply clad with corrugated iron sheeting, painted green or brown. One, at least, was entirely made of wood. At the other end of the scale, the churches are often very grand affairs, impressive in their architecture, and usually of quite ancient origin.

There's one further "chapel" that I think qualifies to appear in this list: it's the simplest imaginable - and all that remains now is a faint carving on a rock wall. It was found in an abandoned quarry not far from Machynlleth, back in the late 50s. At that stage it comprised a rough slate altar, a carving of the crucifixion, and a crudely painted religious text on the slate wall that started with the words "tuch [sic] nothing but thine breast...". To one side was a jam jar with flowers in it, and to the other a tin with some coins in it with a note to the effect that if you needed money, take some, if you could spare some money, leave some. At the time it was thought to have been built by and for the tramps who used to pass through the town every year. I returned to the site in 2007 and attempted to take a photograph of what remained. I enhanced the carving by rubbing chalk into it, and then outlined the cross with a damp tissue. Here's the results. Interestingly, it obviously hasn't been entirely forgotten, because in recent times someone's affixed a gold-coloured crucifixion pendant to the rock face. All very mysterious. (Click on the thumbnail pics to see bigger/better versions.)
quarry chapel quarry chapel quarry chapel quarry chapel

The religious fervour of days gone by has of course greatly declined and, although some chapels continue to survive with tiny congregations, the area is left with a legacy of largely redundant buildings, some in total ruin, but many converted to other uses. With a bit of research, I've identified over 160 locations of chapels or churches in the area, and so far fleetingly located 67 of them on my travels. The following table shows where they are, their denomination, the current state of the buildings, and which ones I've seen for myself. Inevitably my research is incomplete, but as I have the opportunity I continue to update the list. If anyone has any additions or corrections, do please get in touch with me.

Entries in black represent buildings currently/apparently used as places of worship.
Entries in red represent buildings being used for other purposes, ruinous or demolished.

See: 19th Century Dyfi Valley Parish Map.

Location Name Denomination Built Current
Llanymawddwy St. Tydecho's  Church    In use
Llanymawddwy Bethesda  Cong  1884  In use
Nr Erw-Garegog (s of Llanymawddwy) Bryn Coch?  Wes    House   
Abercywarch Sunday School  Calv    No sign of it. +
Cwm Cywarch/Penrhyn Tarsus  Calv  1877  Hay Barn 
Cwm Cywarch/Penrhyn Bethlehem  Ind  1876  Disused
Cwm Cerist, nr Llwyn-y-Grug Hermon  Ind    Barn   
Dinas Mawddwy Bethel  Calv    Commercial Use?  +
Dinas Mawddwy No name  Wes    House 
Dinas Mawddwy Ebenezer  Ind/Cong  1867  In use 
Mallwyd St. Tydecho's  Church    In use 
Mallwyd Bethsaida  Ind       
Mallwyd Peniel  Calv  1873  In use 
Cwm Cewydd          
Pen-rhiwcul, (Cwm Dugoed)   Ind       
Aberangell Horeb  Cong  1899  In use 
Aberangell Bethania  Calv  1902  In use 
Aberangell Hebron  Calv       
Hendre Ddu, nr Aberangell Soar  Prim Meth    Derelict   
Cwm Llinau Sammah  Ind  1819  In use 
Cwm Llinau Soar  Wes?  1870  Poss in use 
Cemmaes No name  Calv  18th C?  In use 
Cemmaes St. Tydecho's  Church    In use 
Cemmaes Rd Nebo  Ind    In use 
Commins Coch No name  Wes    Poss disused? Overgrown grounds. House on end. 
Commins Coch  Ty Cerrig  Wes    House?   
Commins Coch/Waun Capel Lleuad  Calv?    House 
Commins Coch/Gelliau Seion  Calv       
Cwm Ceirig, nr Mathafarn Seion  Calv    In use 
nr Dolfor, Cwm Ceirig, nr Mathafarn   Calv?    Poss an old schoolhouse, 
converted to residential use. Brown painted corrugated iron. Very smart, with newly mown grass.
Llanwrin St. Gwrin's  Church    In use 
Llanwrin Zion/Saron? No name evident. Calv  1825  House 
Aberfrydlan No name.   Wes    Disused? But tidy.   
Darowen St. Tudor's Church 14th C church replaced in 1864.  In use 
Darowen Ty Capel   Calv 1823-1987  House 
Abercegir Saron  Wes    Good condition. In use? +
Tal-y-Wern Seion  Bapt    In use 
Tal-y-Wern     General Bapt       
Tal-y-Wern     Particular Bapt       
Melinbyrhedyn Beerseba  Calv   Poss disused. House on end. 
Dylife Capel Coed  Ind   Timber built, burnt down.  
Dylife St David's  Church & Graveyard 1854  Ruins
Dylife/Rhyd-Wen (Rydwen) Capel Seion  Welsh Bap(Particular)  1852  House 
Dylife/Rhyd-Wen (Rydwen) Peniel/Pen Capel/
Nebo Rydwen
(are these the same?)  
Calv  1841  House   
Pennant Capel Pennant  Calv       
Pennant   Wes?    Disused   
Bont Dolgadfan   Calv  1769     
Bont Dolgadfan No name found  Ind    Poss not in use - building work in 2003.
Bont Dolgadfan Bethel  Calv       
Bont Dolgadfan Capel Newydd/Capel y Bont  Calv & Graveyard   In use 
Bont Dolgadfan/ Wern-gerhynt   Calv Sunday School      
Tafolwern No name  Ind    Furniture maker's/carpenter's workshop 
Llan, nr Llanbrynmair  St. Mary's  Church  15th C or earlier.  In use 
Llanbrynmair St. John's  Church    Demolished +
Llanbrynmair Soar  Wes    Demolished  +
Llanbrynmair   Ty Mawr  Bap    House?  
Llanbrynmair/Dolfach Hen Gapel  Ind/Cong  1739  Good condition. +
Llanbrynmair/Nant-yr-Ysgoldy, nr Rhyd y Meirch.   Ind      Not found. Missed it: try again. 
Pandy, nr Llanbrynmair No name seen  Ind    House 
Aberhosan Bethlehem  Ind/Cong  Early 1860s      
Aberhosan Hen Gapel    1808-1860     
Aberhosan/Aber-Draw Hen Gapel  Meth  Early 18th C to at least 1770     
nr Talbontdrain   Cong       
Penegoes St. Cadfarch's  Church 1877  In use 
Penegoes Ebeneser  Ind/Cong    Poss in use +
Penegoes Bethesda  Wes    Disused?   
Penegoes     Calv       
Forge Bethel  Calv  1872  Rarely used
Nr Forge (Pant Glas)   Church       
Nr Forge (Blaen-y-Pant)  Pen-y-capel  Wes       
Machynlleth/Doll St Bethesda   Bapt
1896. Orig at "Dovey View", Brickfield St.
Disused. +
Machynlleth/Penrallt St. St. Peter's  Church & graveyard. 1745. Mentioned as early as 1253. Rebuilt 1827 and mods in 1840s,1894. Tower1904  In use. +
Machynlleth/Poplar Sq   Calv    Demolished +
Machynlleth/Penrallt St Tabernacl  Wes  1880  Art Gallery 
Machynlleth/Graig Fach Graig  Ind/Cong  1789, rebuilt 1824   
Machynlleth/Graig Fach   Wes  pre-1894     
Machynlleth/Penrallt St   Eng Presb  Early 1870s  In use  +
Machynlleth/Maengwyn St Maengwyn  Welsh Presb  1867 to repl Capel Norton  In use  +
Machynlleth/Maengwyn St Christ Church  Church 1904.   Demolished 1965. +
Machynlleth/Maengwyn St Sant Mair  RC 1965, repl one built1939  In use 
Machynlleth/Llynlloedd Lane  Capel Norton  Calv  1784. Repl by 1886. Demolished  +
Machynlleth/Vane Place Salem  Calv  Bef 1853  Vane Hall now on the site.    +
Machynlleth/Maengwyn St Capel Larkin  Eng Wes    Private House +
Machynlleth/Dyfi Bridge Pen y Bont  Sunday School Ind/Cong    House 
Machynlleth/nearby quarry "Paddy's Shrine" Unknown  1959-ish? Delapidated, but possibly still in occasional use. (See article, above.) +
Pantperthog   Calv       
Esgairgeiliog Ebenezer  Calv  1840  In use. +
Esgairgeiliog Tabernacle  Ind/Cong  1895  Private House?  +
Corris Carmel  Wes  1838  Private House.   
Corris Salem  Ind  1868 In use. +
Corris   Prim Meth       
Corris Siloh?  Wes       
Corris Rehoboth  Calv  Destroyed in storm 1922, and rebuilt. A massive building. In use? +
Corris Holy Trinity  Church    In use. +
Corris Noddfa  Bapt    Occupied as a dwelling place.   
Corris Uchaf Christ Church = "Eglwys Sinc"   1886 until ~1920 Still present.  +
Corris Uchaf   Prim Meth       
Corris Uchaf Bethel  Cong    Other use   
Corris Uchaf Bethania  Calv    Derelict.  +
Corris Uchaf Moriah  Wes       
Aberllefenni Bethesda  Calv    Private House +
Aberllefenni Capel Ratgoed Calv    Ruined  
Aberllefenni   Calv    Private House (on right, as you enter the village from Corris)  
Pennal   Calv    Disused +
Pennal Carmel  Ind   In use again as a Community Centre, having services, and doing weddings and funerals. +
Pennal   Wes       
Pennal St Peter ad Vincula  Church   In use +
Pennal   Calv       
Cwrt Capel-y-Bryniau?  Calv    Closed   
Cwrt Sunday School?  Ind       
Aberdyfi St. Peter's  Church  1837 In use +
Aberdyfi/Pen-y-Bryn   Cong 1845-1880 Closed  
Aberdyfi/Sea Front   Cong 1880-1997 Closed  
Aberdyfi Bethesda         
Aberdyfi/Bath Place Capel Baddon  Bapt       
Aberdyfi/Church St. Bethel  Wes  1828. Rebuilt 1868. Altered 1924.    
Aberdyfi Nebo  Ind       
Aberdyfi Christ the King  RC  1939. Rebuilt 1974.    
Town Square
Tabernacl Calv 1828-1864 Assembly Rooms; Market Hall. Now shops.  
Aberdyfi Tabernacl Calv 1864- Converted into flats. +
Aberdyfi/Nantiesyn Ty Coch Calv 1796-1822    
Aberdyfi   Eng Pres/Calv  1893 In use. +
Aberdyfi/nr Trefri          
Derwenlas    Church      
Derwenlas   Calv   Looks to be converted. +
Derwenlas Bethania  Ind/Cong  1849  Converted to private house 
Derwenlas   Wes   Converted into a dwelling - "Wesley House".   +
Glaspwll/Pensarn Bethel Wes   Disused and overgrown  +
Glaspwll Peniel? Cong    Small; doesn't look like a chapel at all, but seems well cared-for.  +
Glandyfi   Calv    Site reportedly built over   
Eglwysfach Ebenezer  Wes  1823  Houses 
Eglwysfach St. Michael's  Church & graveyard 1833(orig Llanfihangel Capel Edwin, b. 1633)  In use 
Eglwysfach "Iron Room"    Small green corrugated iron building used for church meetings. In use  +
Eglwysfach Capel Bach  Ind  1900  House  +
Furnace Capel-y-Graig    1808  Sold in 2003, and since then has been under restoration, the owner hoping to create a non-commercial arts space/ gallery. 
Ystrad Einion Capel Cwm  Calv       
Tre'r Ddôl Soar  Wes  1876?  Sold, as of 2005 
Tre'r Ddôl Hen Gapel  Wes  Earliest grave 1845  Was a museum, now closed, but in good condition.
Tre'r Ddôl Capel Ucha      Used as a dwelling in 1891 Census. Semi-derelict house today.  +
Tre'r Ddôl/Blaenclettwr Old Chapel  Meth   Mentioned in Tithe Map.  
Tre'r Ddôl/Ynys Tudur   Meth    Demolished - house built on site 
Llangynfelyn St. Cynfelyn's  Church    In use
Pen-y-sarn-ddu nr Bedd Taliesin   Soar  Ind/Cong  1867?  Ruinous +
Taliesin Rehoboth     In use +
Talybont Bethel  Ind/Cong  From 1805  In use? 
Talybont Tabernacl  Bapt  1814?  Disused? 
Talybont St. David's  Church  1876, rebuilt 1909  In use 
Talybont Nazareth  Calv  From 1815?    +
Talybont Soar?        
Ynyscapel?        No sign  
Staylittle, nr Talybont   Bethania  Ind  1865  Demolished +
Dolybont/Penybont Babell  Calv  1874  Poss in use. 
Llandre St. Michael's  Church    In use 
Llandre Bethlehem  Calv   1876 In use  
Llandre Sunday School      No sign. +
Wallog? Capel Kilvellen (Cynfelyn?)     Unlocated  
Llangorwen All Saints         
Llangorwen Hepzibah  Ind 1836     
Borth/Rhydmeirionydd Church Mission Room.    House being built on site. +
Borth   Pres       
Borth Soar  Calv  1831  Later became RC Church - see below. 
Borth Libanus/Gerlan Sunday School Calv  1806?  Recently renovated.  +
Borth St. Matthew's  Church   1876 Renovated in 2005. +
Borth Siloh  Wes  1806  Scruffy garage 
Borth   Ind  1870     
Borth Our Lady of the Sea  RC  Originally built as Soar Chapel - see above. Seems to be disused now. +
Cwm Ceulan Seion  Ind  1835?  House   
Cwm Tynant, E of Talybont Bethesda  Ind  1855  Disused   
Nr Cwmere, "Cwm Leri", E of Talybont   Bapt       
Bont Goch St. Peter's  Church  1868   In use. Associated building opposite in poor state.  +
Bont Goch Tabor-y-Mynydd/ Capel Sbaen  Wes or Ind?  1871     
Bont Goch Ebenezer  Wes  1836  House