Tag Archives: saron

This community project needs a bit more help

As a group of community volunteers with no religious, political or other affiliations we have been working hard to rescue the graveyard of the former Saron Chapel in Troedyrhiw from the effects of many years of neglect. We are extremely grateful to the landowner and leaseholder for making it possible for urgently necessary structural work to be carried out in the near future. Our small but dedicated team have made significant improvements to the condition of the site but there is much still to be done. We are now appealing to individual members of the community, organisations and local businesses to actively support us in any way that you can so that our vision of creating a low maintenance memorial and wildlife garden can be achieved within a reasonable timescale. So why not come along to our next committee meeting on 30 May or pop in to our next Volunteer Day on 01 June? You can be sure of receiving a warm reception. You might like to contact us by email at friendsofsaron@gmail.com or call us on 01623477141.


Friends of Saron AGM

Friends of Saron held their Annual General Meeting last Friday at the Willows Centre, Troedyrhiw. The bad weather limited the number attending but this was a very positive meeting. The main points of discussion arose from the welcome news that urgently necessary structural work will soon be carried out on a retaining wall at the expense of the leaseholder. It was strongly felt that the project needs greater support from the community to achieve its goal of creating a low maintenance memorial and wildlife garden on the Saron site. Much time and energy and a certain amount of money have been invested in the restoration programme – but this will count for nought unless the local community values the graveyard as an asset.

Full minutes of this AGM will, in due course, be posted in the ‘Documents’ section of the Friends of Saron blog at  https://friendsofsaron.wordpress.com/  (access from the foot of the home page).

Volunteer Day Washout. Let’s hope for better luck next time!

Many thanks to the volunteers of Saron Graveyard Project, Troedyrhiw who had made themselves available for last Saturday’s Volunteer Day only for it to be cancelled due to the bad weather. This is only the second time since the project began that this has been necessary. A quick look into the graveyard recently showed that many of the plants that we have put in are doing well but so, unfortunately, are the weeds! We would like to see as many helpers and supporters as possible at our next scheduled session on Saturday 1st June.

An invitation to you

Dating from the 1830’s the graveyard of the former Saron Chapel in Troedyrhiw is an important part of the historic fabric of the village. This group have been working hard to reverse the effects of a lengthy period of abandonment through the creation of a memorial and wildlife garden that we can be proud rather than ashamed of.You are warmly invited to attend our AGM to learn about what has been achieved so far and, if you wish, to participate in discussions on the way forward. There will also be an election of group officers for the coming year and, of course, TEA/COFFEE & BISCUITS. We look forward to seeing you there.

Remembrance of a departed sister

Earlier this year while Friends of Saron volunteers were working in Saron Graveyard, Troedyrhiw they received a visit from Pat Smith. She was looking for the burial place of a sister who had died shortly after birth in 1940.

In the absence of a headstone carrying an inscription Friends of Saron began to carry out some detective work. They were able to discover from a reliable source the area in the graveyard that had been used for the interment of children that had been stillborn or had died in infancy. This location had suffered considerable disturbance when, during a long period of abandonment, trees and shrubs had become established and the ground had subsided. A number of stone grave markers, obviously out of their original positions, came to light when volunteers began to level this area. Amongst these was the stone inscribed ‘W. E.’ that had been used to mark the grave of Pat Smith’s sister.

When Pat Smith revisited the Saron site recently she brought with her a small metal plaque that had been engraved with her departed sister’s details. Friends of Saron were pleased to attach this to the grave marker which has now been placed in an area that will be devoted to the remembrance of those whose exact places of burial cannot be determined.


At a recent Volunteer day held in the graveyard the programme of maintenance and restoration work moved forward another step or two as the images show.

We now need to recruit more volunteers to ensure that the interior of this historically important site is returned to a condition that makes it, once again, a community asset that we can all be proud of.

1. Volunteering is a very rewarding thing to do.
2. Gain confidence.
3. Make a difference.
4. Meet people.
5. Be part of a community.
6. Learn new skills.
7. Take on a challenge.
8. Have fun!

As a volunteer you will not be expected to be an expert. There is something for everyone however physically fit you are and however much time you wish to devote to the project.

a. Keep an eye on this page or on the Friends of Saron blog for Volunteer Day news (our next session will be on Saturday 27 April).
b. Just turn up at any time from 10.00am onwards to see what we are doing and maybe lend a hand.
c. Get in touch with us at friendsofsaron@gmail.com or ring 01623477141

We look forward to seeing or hearing from you.

Troed-y-rhiw & Patagonia

Those attending last Thursday’s meeting of Troed-y-rhiw Local History Forum were treated to an extremely interesting and enjoyable talk given by E. Wyn James. The content of the talk included:-

  1. 153 Welsh emigrants departed from Liverpool in 1865 on an aging clipper called the Mimosa in search of a place where they would be free to speak their own language, practice their religion and preserve a culture that they felt was under threat at home.
  2. After an arduous eight-week sea voyage these pioneers landed on the coast of Patagonia in southern Argentina.
  3. Amongst their number were Aaron Jenkins and his wife Rachel who had been members of Saron Chapel in Troed-y-rhiw and were to become prominent in the new community. They brought with them their children one of whom had been born at sea but, sadly, died quite soon after landing while another had not survived the journey.
  4. The settlers were to suffer many hardships while they were establishing what would eventually become a thriving agricultural community.
  5. They received early help from the native Teheulche Indians and, after several crop failures, it was Rachel Jenkins who made the key observation that allowed an effective irrigation system to be developed.
  6. Sadly, Aaron Jenkins was to become the victim of the first murder in the settlement when he was killed by a captured bandit.
  7. Aaron Jenkins’ son Richard Jenkins, who had been born in Troed-y-rhiw, would later become one of the leaders of the community.
  8. Although, over the years, some members of the Welsh settlement in Patagonia were to return to Wales or translocated to other places including Canada, overall the inward flow of Welsh immigrants continued up to the time of the First World War.
  9. The last wave of settlers included members of the Day family of Troed-y-rhiw. Descendants of the Patagonian and Troed-y-rhiw branches of this family are in contact today.
  10. The Welsh-Argentine community is centred on Gaiman, Trelew and Trevelin  in the Chubut province of Patagonia. It has been estimated that the population of this region is now 150,000 with 50,000 able to claim Welsh ancestry around 5,000 of whom are Welsh speakers.

Can you help this project?

Any help will be most welcome, and you will get a lot out of the experience too!

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What’s been going on in this project and what will happen next?

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Do you care about your village, its environment and its heritage? If so, then please come along and find out what this project is all about. A small group of enthusiastic volunteers has got us this far and we are now appealing for more interest and involvement from the community.

From building activity in 1852 to a 1952 centenary


1852 was a busy year for the construction of places of worship in Troedyrhiw. Saron Welsh Independent Chapel was being rebuilt on the same site as an earlier building in Chapel Street while Carmel Welsh Baptist Chapel was being erected in Wyndham Street and, on the other side of the valley, work on St. John’s Church was being completed.
The images are from a small booklet produced for the centenary celebrations in 1952 for St. John’s Church.