Our beautiful white chapel was built in 1692 and sits on top of Mynydd Gellionnen, above Pontardawe, Trebanos and Clydach, with stunning views of the Valley and Swansea Bay. It is a sacred place of great beauty, peace and tranquility.
Adeiladwyd ein capel gwyn prydferth yn 1692 ar Fynydd Gellionnen, uwchlaw Pontardawe, Trebannws a Chlydach. Ceir golygfeydd hardd yma o’r Cwm a Bae Abertawe. Mae’n fan cysegredig, yn llawn harddwch, heddwch a llonyddwch.
History – Hanes
If you are interested in the history of the chapel, find out more on Wikipedia, at Coflein, and on this local history website. There are two books telling our history: Rev Dr D Elwyn Davies, ‘Capel Gellionnen, 1692-1992‘ and Haydn Morgan, ‘A Short History of Gellionnen Chapel and Baran Chapel’.
A Brief History of Gellionnen Chapel
by Marian Littlepage
Gellionnen Chapel (also known as the “White Chapel”) was built in 1692 at a crossroads where four roads converge leading from Swansea to Brecon, Ammanford to Neath.
In the 17th Century, Rev. Lewis Davies established a Sunday School for all ages which he ran for more than 40 years, predating Robert Raikes who was honoured as the official founder of the Sunday School Movement.
In the 18th Century, the Rev. Josiah Rees became a well known writer and publisher. His son Owen was a founder member of Longmans Publishing Firm. They shared their home with Thomas Morgan who was subsequently buried at Gellionnen Chapel. Renowned for his wide knowledge of herbal remedies, he had been successfully vaccinating local children against smallpox by using cowpox many years before Edward Jenner was recognised for his fight against smallpox.
In the 19th Century, minister John James was also head of Vardre House Secondary Boarding School, Clydach. He was a Greek scholar and a great friend of Iolo Morgannwg. It is said that when a Greek boat was wrecked off the coast at Llangrannog, John James was called to converse with the shipwrecked sailors.
In the 20th Century, the folk of Gellionnen put together a printed collection of their own hymns and tunes. The chapel also had its own brass band, ready at the drop of a hat to raise the roof! By the second half of the 20th Century, the late Dr. Elwyn Davies, minister of Gellionnen and her daughter chapel the Graig, was writing hymns in Welsh and English.