Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Zoar Chapel Origins

Map extract showing location of Zoar Chapel - not sure if it is very visible but there is a tiny blue circle in the south western corner of the wooded area which was the Baptism Pool.  The chapel had a wooded area to the north and south of it

Since their institution in 1854 both Saunderfoot and Zoar have shared the same ministers.
Baptists began to worship in this neighbourhood in a grain loft at Long Lane farm, occupied by Tom Phillips. A chapel was then built on a large plot of land given free by two brothers, William and John Thomas, of the Griggs, a small farm close to where Zoar stands. The land formed part of the field called Long Park and the conveyance also gave the right to construct a Baptistry in Well Park and conduct water from the well.  These brothers were turners and coopers by trade and faithful members of the Baptist church at Glanrhyd, Narberth. In addition to the land they bequested £2 per annum to the little cause.  One of the founders was John Morgan, who built a two-roomed cottage at the side of the Chapel in a lean-to fashion at a cost of £20, to be used as a caretaker’s house. The Chapel cost only about £60 to build, and David Evans of Trelissy, a prominent member and deacon did most, if not all, of the haulage for free.  John Phillips the Corner was an outstanding member - he would have his children test him on the Bible, which he knew from cover to cover.  Lectures were being held there in the 1880s. For one lecture in July 1886 the cost of printing tickets was four shillings, with ten shillings being paid to the lecturer.  The seats form a rising gallery with space underneath. At one time there was a little doorway from this space to the kitchen of the caretaker’s cottage. The original object was to provide space for coal and firewood, but the late John Davies of Greenacre related that one old woman living there kept chickens in this space but because the cockerels competed with the singers above, the opening was closed.  The Davies family of Milton in the early part of this century presented the Chapel at Zoar with a set of individual Communion Cups.

1854 Conveyance

A copy of the original 1854 document was kindly given to Llanteg History Society by Mrs Kathleen Phillips of Narberth - some extracts are included below:
The Conveyance is dated 23rd june 1854.and is between William Thomas of the Griggs and Mr Theophilus Evan Thomas and others (listed below).
Mr William Thomas was paid £5.
All that piece or parcel of land already marked out and fenced and measuring length 155 yards or thereabouts and breadth 32 yards or thereabouts being part of the field called Long Park, parcel of land on the farm and lands called Griggs and on part of which said piece of land the said persons are building a chapel or meeting house and also all that strip or piece of open or waste land laying between the Highway and the easternly hedge of the said mentioned piece of land together with the right to construct a Baptistry in the field called Well Park in the occupation of William Isaac and to conduct the water there from the well in the said field and with full permission for the Minister and congregation for ever to go there for the Ordnance of Baptism.
To be a place of worship for the Particulat Bapists who are now meeting at Long Lane.
Also to have a burial place and be able to erect houses or stables.
This conveyance was signed by:
William Thomas of the Griggs together with
Theophilus Evan Thomas, Minister, Trehale
William Reynolds, Minister, Barry Island
John Davies, Farmer, Brynairon ?, Llandissillio
David Meyler, Draper, Narberth
Evan Thomas, Farmer, Panteague ?, Llanddewi Velfrey
Thomas Humphreys Evans, Colliery Agent, Saundersfoot
Owen Griffiths, Minister, Blaenconin, Llandissillio
Henry Thomas, Farmer, Tyhen ?
Thomas Jones, Farmer, Dyffrynconin, Llandissilio
Caleb George, Merchant, Haverfordwest
Thomas Lewis, Merchant, Haverfordwest
Theophilus Thomas, Minister, Blaenllw ? Llangan
David Davies, Minister, Tywch ?, Kiffig

(This is just a layperson's attempt to extract some basic information from the Conveyance and if you wish to know the finer details the original document must be consulted.)