Horeb Chapel, Cwmdwr

Horeb is an other-worldly place set just yards away from the busy A40 a couple of miles down the road from Llywel, but all noise ceases and centuries disappear once over the threshold into the graveyard. Hanging on to the hill for dear life,  this churchyard is full of proud local dissenters from the farms next door who built the place well away from any village or town – either because they couldn’t afford or weren’t allowed the land there or else sought isolation and fellowship along this verdant valley floor.  The construction is in the vernacular and entirely functional style of rural chapel, put up probably by its thrifty and hard-working adherents with stone from the quarry next door.  Precarious and teetering walls, sometimes joined by rotting lintels, threaten further collapse and mean we don’t tarry in the doorways.  We’re amazed nothing falls away but still don’t touch the walls   What little internal stone and plaster ornamentation the Baptists tolerated inside, is smashed on the floor alongside the remains of rude fires.

Moss and lichen covered gravestones perch lopsidedly, fall into each other and battle with the ferns, who are winning.  On a wet day the tree wood on the ground was strangely dry and made a good camp fire later.

The quarry behind is known amongst geologists for its early plant and animal fossils.  Many of these were discovered in the early nineteenth century and we wonder what the Baptists thought of these little million-year-old challenges to Biblical timelines.

As visited by G. and D. Jones, May 2015

Capel Horeb was built by the Baptists at Cwmdwr in 1820, was substantially rebuilt in 1905, but is now derelict.  In the 1851 religious census it had space for 150 worshippers. It lies just off today’s A40, very close to the hamlet of Halfway (between Llywel and Llandovery) It is also very close to both Gellfain and Crug-y-Bwbach farms and we can surmise from this and some little remaining evidence that our Morgan family was closely connected with this small and remote chapel.  We see for example, below, in September 1917, Mrs Margaret Morgan’s interment there is recorded in the local paper.  We have Morgan Richard Morgan and his wife Jane and another headstone commemorates Urania Morgan, his daughter.  She had married Thomas Williams, referred to here as a Minister, at Llywel Parish Church on 28 December 1821.  He would have later connections to Nantyffin Chapel at Penycae,  also connected to our families. In the 1851 census, this couple are recorded at Llanfihangel Nant Bran, he as a Baptist Minister.   By 1861, Thomas has died and Urania has the visit recorded in the census of her 15 year old great-niece and namesake, Urania Morgans at Soar. Horeb Chapel closed sometime after the second world war and is now totally derelict and collapsed. 

All photos on this page by G. Jones, 2015.

The Weekly Mail, 1917

See information about Horeb Quarry at the British Institute for Geological Conservation  

© (the written content and authorial photographs) Gareth Jones 2015-19