Churches & Chapels

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Caersalem Newydd

Erected 1840 Enlarged 1873

In 1836 the church at Mynyddbach called Isaac Harding Harris as its pastor, but his time there was one of unhappiness when he led 219 members from the chapel to form Caersalem Newydd Treboeth, a breakaway later explained by the desire for baptism.

He was an able and talented minister, but also a plausible rogue who was accused in one church of selling the same colt to three different people. When on another occasion he was taken to court, the church stood his bail and paid for his defence. Eventually the church tired of him and on 22 August 1838 sacked him. Harris was contrite and promised to repay the church the monies it had paid out on behalf. The majority of the members forgave him and he was reinstated on 22 September 1838, a month later, on 25th October, he arrived at a weeknight meeting drunk, having spent the day in Swansea . He was banned from preaching the following Sunday, but again the majority voted to forgive him.  

There followed a series of turbulent church meetings, with a growing rift between the trustees, officers, and deacons on one side and the majority of the church members, who supported Harris to the hilt, on the other side. Eventually the trustees resorted to law and Harris and his supporters were barred from entering Mynyddbach by armed police (according to one account) on 29 September 1839. On that Sunday and the following week, Harris and his supporters held open air services near the chapel. However the following Sunday they began meeting at Penlan Fach, a farm belonging to Samuel Samuel and that remained their meeting place until their new chapel Caersalem Newydd was sufficiently completed to house them. The exiled congregation claimed that it was the true Mynyddbach, because represented the views of the majority of the church meetings, however it was the trustees' party which gained the official recognition of the Congregation Association. A service to mark the commencement of the building of the exiles’ new chapel was held as early as 10th November 1839 and its name “Caersalem Newydd” had already been chosen. The building (46 x 40 feet square) was not completed and officially opened until May 1842, but by 20th September1840 it had walls and roof and was already more suitable for the growing congregation than Penlan Fach. On that day, the congregation met to pray in Penlan Fach and then marched behind a specially bound bilingual Bible to hold the first meeting in Caersalem Newydd. It was claimed that the church at that time numbered 269. Isaac Harding Harris was the minister and the new church was desperately trying to obtain recognition as a Congregational church. Within a few months, the church recognized Harris for the rogue he was and he left; however, this did not lead to reconciliation with the church remaining in Mynyddbach which continued to oppose Caersalem’s application for recognition by the Congregationalists.  

As late as May 1841, a deputation from Caersalem went to the Annual Assembly of the Glamorganshire Congregational Association in Taihirion to plead for recognition, it was refused. Some of the Caersalem leaders appear not to have been surprised by the rejection and had already been preparing the ground for a defection to the Baptists. As a result, two ministers, a Baptist and Congregationalist, were invited to put up their opposing views on adult and infant baptism to the congregation at Caersalem. Daniel Davies Swansea, “y Dyn Dall” (the blind man) represented the Baptist point of view and John Evans, the minister of Crwys, the Congregational viewpoint. Both preached on their different understanding of baptism and 120 were converted to the Baptism cause. This was overwhelming majority of those still worshiping in Caersalem, but the war of attrition waged by the Congregation had obviously had its effect on the 269 exiles who had originally marched to Caersalem in September 1840.

Baptism in a hastily dug, outside pool was arranged for Saturday and Sunday 12th and 13th June 1841. When the officiating ministers arrived the congregation was at prayer within the meeting house and did not know that all the water had drained from the pool. As there was no way of quickly refilling the leaking pool, the congregation marched to the river in Landore. Such was the enthusiasm for baptism that 79 were baptised on the Saturday night, the remaining 41 having to be persuaded to wait until Sunday because a baptism had been widely advertised for that day. John Pugh of Sketty baptised the 79 and Daniel Davies the 41.

 A fortnight later, on 23rd and 24th June 1841, the Glamorganshire Baptist Association met in Llancarfan and resolved to admit the church at Caersalem Newydd into the Association. There seems little doubt that it was the refusal of the Congregation Association to recognise the church which drove it into the Baptism fold which attracted those who had departed from Mynyddbach on the principle that it was the church meeting, which should have the final say in the affair of the church.



Llangyfelach Road near Caersalem Chapel 1910


1914 1918 War

Roll of honour 1914 – 1918 war.
 Names of those who joined His Majesty’s Forces From

J Thomas, D J Davies, R T Morgan, D R Thomas, I Lewis, I Parcell, D J Rees, D J Rees, W Evans, M Lloyd, J I Phillips, H Jones, E S Rees, H Lewis, T H Matthews, D Lewis, J John, T Davies, J T Lewis, D Williams, H R John, S Phillips, E S Evans, T Jenkins, E Harries, E S Matthews, A Jones,


W Davies, D T Morris, J R Matthews, I J Phillips, E Hughes, D J Jones, A Thomas,

L I Ladd, D Harry, D T Lewis, E Harries, D S Dennis, I Hughes, B Jones, I Evans, J Davies, W Job, R Jones, D O Phillips, H T Williams, T Thomas, T Davies, E Phelps, I Griffiths, W Rees, D W Isaac, I Evans,


T Jenkins, E Matthews, D Evans, Ph Hill, T Evans, W Davies, E Davies, T Jones, I Watts ,

D Matthews, D I Rees, S Rees , W John, H Jenkins, I Thomas, T Matthews, H J Evans, T Gray,

I Parcell, G Richards, T Lewis, S Mountfield , W O Thomas, I G Morgans, G Evans, A Lewis,

D Hughes.


D Williams, S Phillips, W Davies, W Job, died while serving in the forces.




Caersalem Newydd Baptist Chapel 1930










Members of the congregation of Caersalem Newydd Chapel, Treboeth, outside its vestry before their party to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, 2nd June 1953





1989 Trophy






David Jones, Parch Tegfan Griffiths, Tom Harris, Alun Owen, Jeffery Thomas, David Morris, Geraint Evans

Matthew Anderson, Mrs. Pat Turner, Parch Leighton Thomas, Miss Gwyneth Davies, Idris Llewelyn 1997


Painting of Caersalem Newydd on display in the Chapel



January 2001 Gymanfa Ganu






July 2001 - Caersalem Newydd Baptist Church Knotweed Problem


Special branch – knotweed officer Sean Hathaway at Caersalem Newydd graveyard.


An interesting article on Japanese knotweed:

British gardeners are living in fear of an evil stalker – The weed from Hell. The graveyard of Caersalem Chapel looks like a forest – two full acres of solid, swaying greenery.  Only four columns rising up like exclamation marks suggest otherwise.  Growing densely on either side of us as we hack a path is Japanese knotweed, its bamboo-like stems bursting through the ground around and through the graves, toppling the headstones, disturbing the dead. This could be a horror movie. “It knocks over walls and grows straight through Tarmac”, says Sean Hathaway.  “I’ve seen gardens where it’s grown right up to the house: people can’t open their back doors.  Hathaway is the Japanese knotweed officer for Swansea – a full-time job.  “We’ve had it inside houses,” he continues.  “It grows under carpets and behind radiators.”

It’s almost everywhere in Britain, covering thousands of hectares – only the Orklands have escaped – and it is rampant in Cornwall, Devon and Wales.  Swansea has 250 acres of it. German physician Philipp von Siebold first brought knotweed to Europe in 1847 it won a gold medal in Utrecht in the Netherlands as the most interesting new ornamental plant.  But by the end of the century the truth was out.  Even Siebold’s garden, which once contained 1,000 species of plants was overrun. This invader grows incredibly quickly – in summer, up to an inch a day.  It reproduces using rhizome (an underground root-like stem bearing roots and shoots) and only a finger-tip of the stuff is needed for this to happen.  It has no natural enemies here and at the moment there are only two ways to kill it.

You can dig it up, but the rhizome system is labyrinthine, extending up to seven yards either side and two yards deep.  So the removal of even one plant involves a swimming pool sized hole.  In Britain , it is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to spread the plant, as it destroys habitats, and as controlled waste it must be taken to special landfills, which is expensive. The second option is to spray it with herbicide, but this has to be done up to three times a year for several years. Sean Hathaways budget of £9,000 allows him to tackle just three of Swansea ’s 250 acres.  He’s pinning his hopes on a third possibility: biocontrol.

Dick Shaw could become his hero.  A weed-biocontrol scientist, Shaw has been looking into knotweed for seven years, mostly unpaid and in his own time.  In 1999 he spearheaded a conference at which the Japanese Knotweed Alliance was formed to raise the profile of the problem.  Shaw works at CABI Bioscience in Ascot and recently received funding for the first phase of a project to identify a natural enemy that could be used that could be used here to control knotweed.  The second phase of the project will cost £450,000 – about the same as it took one Welsh supermarket to clear it’s car park of the stuff.

            Last autumn Shaw went to Japan and identified a leaf-feeding beetle and a fungus as potential biocontrol candidates, but he will have to make sure they feed only on knotweed.



Knotweed Problem - Photo taken January 2002



26th January 2002


The Reverend Leighton Thomas at Caersalem Chapel, Treboeth, Swansea


Looking for help - The members require £80,000 to refurbish the building.

Members are now facing an £80,000 repair bill for the building which has long been a focal point for the community. Drive to restore the historic building, the Chapel pray for repair aid. Fund raising is under way to help save a 161 year-old Baptist chapel in Swansea . Essential repairs costing more than £80,000 are needed at Caersalem Chapel in Llangyfelach Road , Treboeth.

The chapel, which is a focal point of the community hosting concerts and functions, is a grade two listed building. Now planning permission is being sought to refurbish the building, although funds to do the work have yet to be agreed.

The Rev Leighton Thomas said "A bomb was dropped right outside that chapel, by the lights, during the Second World War. There used to be a bridge there. "No doubt that had an effect on the building.

Experts have surveyed the chapel and work, including new windows in the front and repointing are planned. But the chapel needs cash to keep in use. "We are hoping to get money from Cadw, though we are holding sales of work and coffee mornings too," said the Rev. Thomas. No doubt we will be making appeals through a concert or something like that." The chapel has been used for "concerts by the Daniel James Community School choir and Gwyrosydd Infants and junior schools.



Repairs July 2003



March 2005






February 2008



2007 Arial view