Galltraeth Chapel

Galltraeth Chapel is practically in ruins, but the church yard is quite well looked after, and it’s in this churchyard that two brothers lie, brothers who had such a row that they spent the rest of their days not speaking to one another, even though they lived in the same house, Mountain View, and worshiped at the same chapel, Galltraeth.

The chapel goes back a long time, and it was Baptist by denomination, and services took place there before Bethesda the Baptist chapel at Rhoshirwaun was built, and that was built in 1904 on the site of a previous building. The visiting preachers would walk from Llangian to Galltraeth chapel every Sunday, a round trip of ten miles, walking past Neigwl Plas, Llandegwning and Gelliwig, and Mrs Annie Hughes Bronllwyd Bach used to make them cups of tea to help them on their way.

There would be a sermon on one Sunday per month during the latter years, and towards the end, there would only be the two brothers in the service, Griffith Jones taking the service and leading the singing in the forefront and his brother Watkin Jones at the very back, as congregation, the service going on as natural as anything.

Watkin Jones was a very good weather forecaster, and he was invited to talk about the subject on the radio, a most unusual happening in those days. Griffith Jones was the musical one, and as an organ never passed through its doors, he had to rely on his tuning fork. He also repaired buildings and took it upon himself to keep the chapel in good repairs. One of his secrets in making concrete was to use cow dung, to mix it well in, he always insisted on it. Poetry was another aspect of his life, he was a master of the craft, his bardic name was “Ehedydd Mai” (May Lark).

For a period of about two or three weeks during the Second World War, they were joined by the congregation of Tyddyn chapel (a nearby chapel different denomination) while their own chapel was being painted.

Watkin Jones was the first to die in 1942, and a horse and cart were used for the funeral, the horse and cart were normally used to goods out of the Brynllan shop in Bryncroes, and probably used to carry goods to and from Pwllheli, carrier fashion. Watkin Jones was 78 when he died.

Griffith Jones’s story is a bit more exciting. He had two dogs, one was a faithful terrier that followed him everywhere, the other was a fierce and dangerous animal that was never let loose.

One Saturday’s winter evening Griffith Jones went to Tyddyn Siencyn, a nearby farm, to fetch some potatoes, followed by his terrier of course, snow had started to fall, and it was still snowing when he set off for home after lingering there a while. Next morning the neighbours saw the terrier walking the lane between Mountain View and half way along the lane, and when they went to investigate, they found Griffith Jones’s body lying in the snow.

They needed to take the body into the house, but as the fierce dog’s shed was so near to the path leading to the house no one dared approach. A policeman was called, as well as a neighbour, Richard Hughes Bronllwyd Bach as he had a gun, with the intention of shooting the dog as it rushed out, but for some reason – some said it was the smell of the gun- the dog would not leave its shed. In the end, they had to remove some slates from the roof of the shed, and shoot it from there. Their problems were not yet over, as it was still snowing on the day of the funeral, with a steep hill from Mountain View to the chapel, causing great concern in case the cart was to slip into the mare, causing chaos all round. They solved the problem by tying ropes to the cart, with the neighbours hanging on to these, controlling the rate of descent. This was the winter of 1944 and Griffith Jones was 74 years old.

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"Galltraeth Chapel Today"

The chapel was closed around 1949 and the windows and slates were used to repair nearby cottages. No one seems to know where the pulpit went. There was a bit of a commotion at the time, as some of the workers doing the job would not approach the building or remove anything, as it was a sacred place. The Bible was found open at a page with a verse saying whoever interfered with the building in any way would be punished. Eventually, the contractor himself had to do the job.

Photograph by Mr Wil Williams, Thank you very much.

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