Yr Hen Dy Cwrdd (Chapel) Trecynon

This was Cynon Valley first Non-Conformist chapel was established on this site in 1751 by members of the Cwm-y-glo chapel, which was on Merthyr Mountain. The chapel cost was precisely £753.00 and 15 shillings and 4 old pence and the appearance was designed to be simple and strong, reflecting Unitarian beliefs in liberty.

Many eminent and respected members graced the chapel but the most famous was the Rev. Thomas Evans (Tomos Glyn Gothi). He was a prolific hymn writer and author of one of the first English-Welsh Dictionaries. In the early 1800’s he was imprisoned for two years for allegedly singing a song which the government felt treasonable. He died in 1853 and was buried in the chapel graveyard. Legend has it that eighteen years later, when is grave was opened for the burial if his daughter, his skeleton was found to be lying face down. The rumours were rife around Aberdare that the unfortunate man had been buried alive.

The Rev John Jones minister of the Aberdare Hen Dy Cwrdd from 1833-1863 and several of his congregation were well known advocates of “moral force Chartism” and contributed regularly to “Udgorn Cymru” Trumpet of Wales, the Chartist newspaper published in Merthyr Tydfil.

This congregation has included several notable figures over the years, the most prominent is Griffith Rhys Jones and the people of Aberdare knew as “Caradog” in 1872 and 1873 he led the South Wales Choral Union to victories in the Crystal Palace Challenge Cup. (Caradog was born at the Rose and Crown Inn Trecynon in 1834).

Thomas Dafydd Llewellyn was also a member of the congregation. In 1858 he brought the song “Maes Hen Wlad Fy Nhadiau” (Welsh Anthem) to public notice at the Llangollen Eisteddfod. He his is buried with parents in the Burial Grounds of the Chapel.

In memeory of Dafydd Llewelyn of this Parish Who died on September 19th 1857 Also of Martha Llewelyn wife of the above Who died Febrauary 19th 1877 Also of Thomas Dafydd Llewelyn their son Who died August 3 1879

Poem by Nathan Dyfed (on gravestone)
Wyf argel fangre Llewelyn-Alaw
I am the hidden place of Llewelyn-Alaw
Golofn gerdd a thelyn
A pillar of art and music
Gaed gyda’I gladdfa’n y Glyn
There came with his laying in the Vale
Angladd i’w gan a’I englyn
The funeral of a fine song.
Bri ei anian oedd byw I rinwedd-bur
His life’s delight was virtue-a true
Ddyn a bardd gloew fuchedd
Man and bard of good name
Er rhawd o glod a rhydedd
Although much praised and honoured
A dim a fu-dyma’I fedd
He was of nought-this is his grave
It is also said that the National Anthem was sung unofficially at this chapel on Christmas Eve.