by  • July 18, 2013 • Chapel, Modern, Pembrokeshire, Period, Post-Medieval, Site Type, St. Dogmaels • 4 Comments



    Plaque of original Gerazim Chapel, September 2010 (c) Glen K Johnson

    Plaque of original Gerazim Chapel, September 2010 (c) Glen K Johnson

    The chapel was built in 1847-48 on land at Esgyrn (a. k. a. Esgair), the property of John Llewelyn, replacing the earlier Soan Baptist Chapel. They rented the site for 2s. 6d. a year for 999 years. The new chapel was completed at a cost of ca £300. It opened on 14th & 15th June 1848. There were 72 members. On September 3rd 1848 Leah Phillips, daughter of James Phillips of Hendre, was the first to be baptised here. Rev. W. Thomas of Blaenwaun Baptist Chapel, Bethsaida Baptist Chapel and Gerazim Baptist Chapel, was succeeded as Minister that year by Rev. J. P. Williams. Rev. J. P. Williams was the Minister in 1848-61. On 21st November 1849 the following Deacons were appointed – David Rees of Gernos; John Rees of Cippyn; John Llewelyn of Esgyrn; Thomas Llewelyn of Esgyrn Fach; and John Rees of Granant. In 1851 average Sunday attendance was 164 in the morning and 152 in the evening. In December 1861 Rev. J. P. Williams died aged 44. He had announced his intention to retire on 17th February that year. He was assisted in his services by John George of Ffynnoncoronau, Bridell.

    Rev. Isaac Thomas, Minister of Gerazim 1868-71 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Rev. Isaac Thomas, Minister of Gerazim 1868-71 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    In 1863 there was a temporary misunderstanding between Gerazim and Blaenywaun Chapel, and no Minister came to conduct services for a time, which affected membership. They were reunited later that year. By 16th October 1868 the Minister was Rev. Isaac Thomas, until 1871. In 1871 Rev. Seth Jones became the Minister until 1882. On 18th March 1874 the following Deacons were appointed – Benjamin Rees of Granant; George Llewelyn of Esgyrn; D. Richards of Gernos and B. Rees of Cippyn. In 1879 George Morgan of Carmarthen, architect, inspected the chapel, and observed that the walls were too badly cracked to be repaired. In 1880 the chapel was rebuilt to designs by George Morgan, architect, by Henry Owen Davies, builder, of St. Dogmaels and J. Williams of Moylegrove. The new building cost £601. 13s. 2 ½ d. It re-opened on 29th & 30th September 1880. There were then 118 members. On 9th October 1880 the following appeared in the ‘Cardigan Observer‘:

    Gerazim Chapel circa 1880 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Gerazim Chapel circa 1880 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    “…OPENING OF GERIZIM BAPTIST CHAPEL.— These meetings were held on the 29th and 30th ult. In the chapel, on the evening of the 29th, the Revs. John, Neyland, & Harries, St. David’s, preached. At 10 and 2 o’clock the following day, in a field, the Revs. Jones, Llwynpia, and Hughes, Maesteg, preached. At 6, in the chapel, the Revs. Morgan (Middle Mill), Jones (Fishguard), and Harris (St. David’s), preached. Sermons were preached also at Bethsaida, St. Dogmells, at seven o’clock on both evenings. Collections were made at the various meetings towards the building fund, which amounted to nearly £20. The sermons were good and impressive, and the large congregations appeared to enjoy them. The weather was favorable, and the preparations by the neighbours were ample. Although the old chapel was only built 32 years ago, the work had been so badly done that soon it would be in ruins. All the haulage to the present building was done gratis. The total expense amounted to nearly £ 600, of which about  £ 80 remains unpaid. The chapel is neatly and strongly built, the walls being rock-work, and grouted with Aberthaw lime. The contractors- Messrs. J. Williams, Moylgrove, and Hy. Davies, St. Dogmells— did their work well…”

    Rev. E T Jones, Minister of Gerazim 1882 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Rev. E T Jones, Minister of Gerazim 1882 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Rev. Seth Jones left, disgraced, in 1882. In 1883-92 Rev. E. Talfryn Jones was the Minister. On 29th October 1893 the following were appointed as Deacons: George Rees, Granant Uchaf; D. Morris, Pantygroes; Evan Jones, Gored; Thomas Rees, Cwm; W. Jones, Cnwce; and Thomas Llewelyn, Glanymor. On 21st August 1894 Rev. Hugh Jones became the Minister.

    Rev. George Williams, Minister of Gerazim 1898-1902 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Rev. George Williams, Minister of Gerazim 1898-1902 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    In April 1897 the chapel broke with Blaenwaun Chapel and linked with Tabernacle Baptist Chapel, Moylegrove. There were then 94 members. On 20th November 1898 Rev. George Williams became the Minister. In 1899 the Trustees were listed as follows: Benjamin Rees, Granant; David Davies, Graig; John Rees, Hendre; John Morris, Pantygroes; Thomas George, Esgyrn; George Llewelyn, Esgyrn; William James, Esgyrn; Thomas Rees, Cwm, Esgyrn; Griffith Evans, tailor; David Richards, Penrhyn; Thomas Llewelyn, Glanymor; Benjamin Williams, Manianfach; and John Jones, Tyhir. On 3rd August 1900 John Rees of Hendre, Deacon, died aged 80. In July 1902 Rev. George Williams’ pastorate ended when he accepted the call to Pontardulais.

    Ticket for Cantata, Gerazim, 01/01/1917 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    Ticket for Cantata, Gerazim, 01/01/1917 (Glen Johnson Collection)

    In 1905 Rev. William Henry Jones became the new Minister until 1934. In September 1909 tenders were sought for repairs. A cantata was performed here in 1917. On 8th January 1926 tenders were sought for the installation of an asbestos ceiling. On 16th November 1934 Rev. William Henry Jones died. On 13th January 1937 Rev. Roger Jones was inducted as the Minister, and remained here until 1957. On 9th March 1945 Senior Deacon William Jones of Manian Fawr died. In July 1945 Mr. D. G. Davies of Penrhyn Mawr became the Treasurer. Rev. Roger Jones ceased to be the Minister here in October 1957 when he decided to accept another calling at Talybont.

    On 22nd July 1960 Rev. David Carl Williams was inducted as the new minister and remained so until September 2010. By that time only two members remained, and the chapel was scheduled for closure.


    Gerazim in February 1999 (c) Glen K Johnson

    Gerazim in February 1999 (c) Glen K Johnson

    In 1999 the following observations were made:

    Gable-fronted Baptist Chapel of c1880 in snecked rock-faced cut stone with sandstone dressings, pitched slate roof with crested ridge in terracotta. Three bay façade has centre door with pointed Gothic arch having decorative carved columns and moulded hood with red brick arch over. Boarded timber doors. Above is massive traceried round window containing small round lights – 6 arranged around a centre light of equal size. Tiny rout lights between these near outer circle edge. Leaded coloured glass. The whole beneath an arched painted hood, with inscription beneath window in painted lettering – ‘GERIZIM BUILT A D 1848 REBUILT 1882’. To gable is ventilation opening – narrow slit with yellow brick dressings. Weathervane to apex. Outer bays have tall arched headed lights with horizontal sandstone division with 3 panes above, 2 below. Yellow brick string course to level of arch springs. Four window sides with tall arch headed lights and similar yellow brick string course. Plain stucco rear.

    Gerazim's pulpit in September 2010 (c) Glen K Johnson

    Gerazim’s pulpit in September 2010 (c) Glen K Johnson

    Interior described in September 2010:

    Lobby has rectangular internal window divided into arcade of three arched headed lights with small glazed panels between heads. Coloured leaded lights. Chapel has timber pews with vertical slats. Simple Gothic pulpit with canted sides and open arcade with Gothic arched heads. Base panels have diagonal slats. Pulpit rear has broad recessed arched with raised stucco band rising from florid terminals. Small gallery above lobby with ladder access only. Gallery front has quatrefoils and Cardigan clock. Asbestos panelled ceiling.


    Slater’s Directory 1850

    Kelly’s Directory of South Wales 1875

    Cardigan & Tivy-Side Advertiser 1880; 1885; 1894; 1905; 1909; 1917; 1926-27; 1930; 1933; 1937-38; 1940; 1945; 1948-49; 1952; 1954; 1956-57; 1960

    Hanes Blaenywaun, Benjamin Rees 1899

    Ticket – Cantata, Gerazim Chapel 01/01/1917

    Concert Poster – Gerazim 1936

    The Religious Census of 1851, Ieuan G Jones & David Williams 1976.

    St. Dogmaels Uncovered, Glen K Johnson 2007

    © Glen K Johnson 18/07/2013.



    1. Catherine Goss
      July 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      Very interesting. I’ve been researching my Family Tree for years but am still finding snippets! Your article on Gerazim mentioned that one of the builders was J Williams, Moylegrove. I assume that this is John 1842-1919 as I know from family that he and his brother David renovated, rebuilt and built schools and chapels, as well as homes, in the area. Unfortunately their papers were kept in an old shed that burnt down years ago (a relative told me!). This John’s grandfather was also a stonemason as were the sons.
      Will read more of your articles in future. Thanks.

      • glen
        July 22, 2013 at 2:08 pm

        Thanks for your kind comments. Interesting to hear more about John Williams.


    2. ann sheehan
      July 19, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      Grew up in Pengarnfawr farm. Went to Gerazim with my dad. Alfred Jones son of William Jones Manian fawr. Remember Rev. Roger Jones his son John went to school with me and Rev carl attended my wedding. Esgyrn fawr families were a big part of my life. So many happy memories.

      • annmorgansheehan@hotmail.co.uk
        July 19, 2015 at 7:14 pm

        Gerazim was the social hub for our family as I grew up . Iremember the outdoor baptisms.Christmas concerts etc.,

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