Merthyr’s Chapels: Ebenezer Chapel, Cefn Coed

The next chapel we look at in our continuing feature is Ebenezer Welsh Independent Chapel in Cefn Coed.

Ebenezer Chapel in 1983

The cause at Ebenezer started in 1836 when four members of Bethesda Chapel called Jededia Jones, Thomas Williams, Morgan Morgans and Henry Thomas started meeting in two small rooms in Cefn Isaf, Cefn Coed belonging to the ‘Hen Dafarn Bach’.

In 1837, as the congregation grew, they decided to build their own church, and a piece of land was bought from Lady Gwyn Holford, and a chapel was built at a cost of £400. The first minister was Mr Evan Williams, a teacher and part time preacher at Bethesda Chapel.

In 1838 the Chartist Rising began, and as many in the church supported the points of the Charter and Evan Williams the minister opposed them, it was agreed that it would be better for him to leave. Following this Mr William Moses took over as minister, but the arguments over the congregation’s support of the Chartist’s methods of violence to enforce social reform continued.

More disagreements occurred over Mr Richard Evans and Mr Walter Williams, members of the chapel, going to preach at Adulam Chapel in Tredegar which strongly supported the chartists. The East Glamorgan Association of Independent Churches strongly disapproved of this, but the chapel continued to allow them to preach in Tredegar with the result that Ebenezer was excluded from the Independent Union for many years, effectively cutting them off from the other Independent chapels in the area.

The disagreements culminated with the minister Mr Moses leaving the chapel with a number of the congregation and starting their own chapel at Tabor in Cefn Coed in 1842.

That same year, Richard Evans and Walter Williams were ordained as joint ministers at Ebenezer which further angered the Association, and both men were excluded from preaching at any other chapel in the area.

After the chapel had been outside the Independent Union for five years, reconciliation was made, Ebenezer joined the Independent Union and Richard Evans and Walter Williams were accepted as ordained ministers. The congregation subsequently grew and a larger chapel was built in 1861 at a cost of £700.

In 1913 a burst water main undermined the foundations of the chapel and the front and one of the side walls gave way. The front wall and most of the side wall had to be rebuilt at a cost of £500.

During the 1960’s the number of members severely declined, and they were unable to maintain the fabric of the building. The chapel closed in 1970 and services were held for a number of years in the Chapel’s schoolroom in Holford Street, until that too closed.

Ebenezer Chapel is still standing, but is in a very sorry state.

Ebenezer Chapel in 2012

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