Tabernacle Independent Chapel - Hirwaun (1905)

Hirwain, a village with a population of about 3,000 inhabitants, was visited by Mr Evan Roberts today. The little place presented a most animated aspect. Besides the big crowds which arrived by each train from Aberdare, as well as those who walked from the neighbouring villages, there was a number of visitors from distant parts of England and Wales, together with a few persons from Australia and India. Morning and afternoon meetings were held at each of the chapels, all of which, to avert the eventuality of undue overcrowding, had been thrown open. Mr Evan Roberts attended Tabernacle Welsh Congregational Chapel, which was crowded to its utmost capacity. During quite twenty minutes the congregation rendered in immediate succession quite an array of songs. Prayer after prayer followed, but it was not until a stranger unbosomed himself in a sobbing voice of an earnest supplication that the meeting became filled with such enthusiasm that the building echoed with “Amen” and “Diolch Iddo.” A striking prayer was that of a young man, who gave thanks for having given strength to those who had become revivalists at Banger College, the smoking-room of which had been converted into a place of prayer. The Rev. J. Grawys Jones (Ebenezer Welsh Congregational Chapel, Trecynon) now proceeded to give an address, and a coloured gentleman, named Mr Franklin, who had been an actor for seven years, took the lead in singing “Arglwydd dyma fi.” Mr Franklin addressed the meeting, which, he said, he had attended to obtain more of the “fever” for the purposes of importing it to South Africa, where the heathen bowed to wood and stone. Continuing, he said that he had come to England to go through a course of missionary training, but he had chosen the stage on which he was well known as “Uncle” at Cardiff and elsewhere. Thanks to the Welsh revival, however, he had quitted the stage and, after the necessary training, he intended to return to his native country to teach the Word to the heathen, who were compelled to perpetuate their wood and stone worship by those very persons who went into their midst under the pretence of bringing light to them, but who really poisoned their very life through the sale of spirits that they might make a fortune. He (the speaker) had been told about one missionary who had in that wise made £2,000; but, with the grace of God, he would return to the wilderness of Africa to work for the salvation of those whose worship now consisted of wood and stone. It got abroad that Mr Roberts would be at Ramoth Chapel in the evening, and the place was filled to overflowing shortly after five o’clock. The revivalist arrived at 7.45. The audience had in the meantime passed the time in prayer and song. Mr Roberts spoke, and the congregation sang “Wrth gofio’i riddfanau’n yr Ardd.” Scarcely had the last note died away than Mr Roberts opened the Bible with trembling hands. Suddenly his face became distorted with pain. Evidently, he was in a stubborn contest with his feelings, for every fibre of his being seemed to twitch with agony, and the next moment he was in a lying posture. For quite ten minutes he lay prostrate, and but for his sobs there was no indication to show that he was at hand. All eyes were riveted upon him, and when he got up his face were a smile of majestic calmness. He said presently that he had emerged from one of the hardest ordeals he had ever experienced,and had had a further testimony of Christ’s agony in the garden.

From, 'The Western Mail', 18th January 1905.

Additional Information

The chapel has been destroyed. Where it was is a problem. I have looked at old maps and it seems to be where I marked, however, the only information on the internet, a government site, says it was in Harris Street, but no old maps confirm this.

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