St Gwynlleu's (St Cynllo's) Church, Nantcwnlle, Bwlchllan, CardiganshireDenomination: Anglican
Dedication: St Gwynlleu / St Cynnlo
Note 1. The church is in a big rounded churchyard, at the head of a wooded valley. The church is closed. Daniel Rowland was curate here and at Llangeitho from 1735 until deprived in 1764. When Rowland was ordained deacon by the Bishop of St Davidís at Duke Street Chapel in London in 1734, he walked all the way there and all the way back! He was appointed curate at Llangeitho and Nantcwnlle. By this time his father had died and his elder brother had taken over these two parishes. The same year he married a local farmerís daughter and lived on their farm for a year, until his brother John married and moved away to Llanddewibrefi when he then moved into the vicarage at Nantcwnlle. In 1763 the bishop removed Rowland from his church. His followers were thought to be unameanable to Church discipline so he was no longer permitted to preach in the Church. As a result nearly the entire congregation left. The only person to remain was one of his own sisters. Sunday after Sunday, the Church was empty except for the new curate, the clerk and this one old lady. [Source: UKWells.org website, dated 2009]
Photograph (above right): John Ball
Date: 25 April 1999
Camera: Agfa ePhoto-307 digital
Camera: details unknown
Note 2. In 1708 Daniel Rowlands, the father of the Revivalist, was appointed vicar. He was here until his death in 1731. He had two sons, John and Daniel. John was ordained in 1726 and worked as his father's curate serving in Llangeitho and Nantcwnlle; on his father's death in 1731, he was appointed to the living. At that time it was not necessary for young men to have a degree or go to college before being ordained. Several pupils of the grammar schools in Ystrad Meurig and Lampeter were ordained before St David's Theological College, Lampeter, was established. Some say that Daniel Rowland was born in Llangeitho Rectory but it is more likely that he was born in Pant-y-beudy (Nantcwnlle) in 1713, the youngest of six children. Daniel received his early education in Pany-y-Gido, near Llanarth and then in Hereford Grammar School. From there he was ordained by Bishop Clagget of St David's, in March 1733 in London, when he was only twenty years old, three years before the usual time for ordination. Daniel Rowland was ordained curate to his brother, John, in Llangeitho and Nantcwnlle, for £10 a year. John drowned accidentally in Aberystwyth in 1760, after being the Vicar of Nantcwnlle for twenty-nine years. It is likely that Llangeitho and Nantcwnlle until that time went together as one living under the same vicar because, when John Rowland died they were separated and Rev. Isaac Williams was appointed Vicar of Nantcwnlle. As Isaac Williams did not need a curate it was expected that Daniel Rowland would be appointed Rector of Llangeitho after his brother, John, but his son, John, was appointed in his place, and it is likely that he was none too pleased about this, although he continued as curate to his son. Before long he began to kick against the traces and went to preach wherever he was asked to do so and, before long, Capel Gwynfil was built for him, where he preached with great conviction. Some say that he was expelled from Nantcwnlle Church but there is no truth in that because when Rev. Isaac Williams came here as Vicar he did not want a curate, so that was the end of Daniel Rowland's curacy in Nantcwnlle, but that does not mean he was turned out. It is claimed by many that he was forbidden to preach and to serve the Sacraments in the church by Bishop Samuel Squire in 1763 but that is not true either, because the Nantcwnlle Register records Daniel Rowland christening Esther, the daughter of John Morgan, Cilpyll, on March 10th 1770, seven years after it is claimed he was expelled, and he would not have dared do this if he had been stripped of his priesthood.
[Adapted from a translation (by Jenni Hyatt, July 2003) of Byr Hanes am Blwyf Nantcwnlle ('A Short History of the Parish of Nantcwnlle'), by Rev Evan Edwardes, published by Cambrian News, Aberystwyth, 1930. Accessed on-line 11 Sep 2009, on the GENUKI website]
Note 3. The church closed in 1971, but then reopened for summer and harvest festivals. Its subsequent closure in 1997 became the subject of heated debate; see item (right) from Cambrian News dated 18 February 1999. When visited by Lloyd Lewis in 2007, the church was for sale.
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