Rev. William Williams 1807 - 1877               
Minister Nebo Independent Church Hirwaun

Rev. William Williams

He was a witness before the Employment Commission of 1842:

“I have been four years minister of this place. My congregation consists of a large number of Welsh and some few English, chiefly employed in the iron and coal-works. I occasionally address the English in their own language, but most usually preach Welsh. There are at present many girls working in the mines, which is pernicious to their morals and totally disqualifies them for domestic duties: it corrupts their minds and makes them callous to religious impressions; in fact, until the establishment of Sunday-schools the people were very dark (ignorant) in these parts. The majority of the females here are unacquainted with the English language and from the continual contact with men of coarse habits, become as degraded as the most vulgar of the male population.

Children go very young into the mines, which certainly does injure their health and they always have a less healthy appearance than those who work above ground. I cannot speak of the actual state of health of the people, but I know there is a good deal of consumption here, and many are afflicted with rheumatism. Many of the cottages are built on very low ground and no attention whatever is paid to drainage.

There are five Sunday-schools in operation here: two with the Independents, one with the Baptists, one with the Wesleyans and one with the Calvinistic Methodists. The average attendance at my school is about 200, teachers and scholars.

There is one day-school for boys, but I do not think there is a female school; the attendance at the day-school is about 50.

Children generally leave at eight years of age to go to continuous employment. I think they ought to be allowed to remain at school until 12 or 14 years of age at least; their present early removal has a tendency to weaken the whole system of the body and the powers of the mind.”

Tomb of Rev William WilliamsTomb of Rev William Williams
Tomb of Rev William Williams
Aberdare Cemetery

J. R. Williams 1851 - 1888 

A Congregational minister and author, was born in the parish of Pencareg, near Lampeter, Cardiganshire. Like Livingstone, he was a weaver by trade, and like the Blantyre boy, he plodded day and night at his books. In 1873, he was ordained at Libanus and Cwmcamlais, Breconshire, where he worked hard and successfully. In 1878, he received a call from Nebo, Hirwaun, Glamorganshire, to be the successor of the venerable Rev. W. Williams, and there he laboured with remarkable acceptance. He was a man of great intelligence, and of varied reading. His aspirations were high, and his convictions were deep, and his preaching was powerful and earnest. He had made himself a necessity in the press, and in the pulpit of Wales; his great service to the Sunday school will not soon be forgotten, and his book entitled "Llawlyfr yr Athraw" (The Teacher's Handbook), was very favourably received, and found to be of great practical use. (Congreg. Year Book, 1889)

Thomas Williams 1823-1903 

A self-made man, was a native of Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, and for many years prior to his death resided at Gwaelodygarth, in that town. He began his career as a grocer's assistant, and, in 1844, removed into business at Hirwaun, Glamorgan, and later on to Aberdare. He was very successful, and, by stint of hard work and perseverance, he became one of the richest men in Glamorgan. He filled many positions of influence in municipal affairs, as well as in religion and politics. He was a prominent Congregationalist, and was the first layman to be elected to the chairmanship of the Welsh Congregational Union. He left the bulk of his estate to religious and philanthropic institutions. (The British Weekly.)