During last Saturday’s Volunteer Day in the historic Saron Graveyard, Troedyrhiw we were surprised but extremely pleased to receive visitors from Patagonia who had come looking for a family grave.
Victor Griffiths and his friend Myriam are from the small town of Gaiman in the Chubut valley of southern Argentina. It was in this region that Welsh settlers established a colony following a first arrival in 1865 and Victor is able to trace his ancestry back to a time which came just after this earliest period.
Those family members left behind in Wales included the Days of Troedyrhiw and Victor was very pleased to be shown the grave of Mary and Arthur William Day. Fortunately John Day, the one member of this family that still lives in the village, has been an enthusiastic supporter of this project from its beginning and one of our group was able to take Victor and Myriam to meet him for only the second time. This was, understandably, a very warm reunion.
Friends of Saron intend to remain in contact with Victor Griffiths with a view towards obtaining more information about his family history and its links with Troedyrhiw.
For more about the Welsh colony in Patagonia visit www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29611380 to find out about some of the impressions which a visit to the Chubut valley left on Professor E. Wyn James who, as many will know, hails from Troedyrhiw.
The success of last Thursday’s habitat creation session with Willows Youth has motivated our volunteers to begin to develop the area next to the bug hotel and log pile. We brought forward our plans to put the many tree stumps that remain from tree clearance activities in the graveyard to good use. We have begun to develop a garden feature known as a ‘stumpery’ planted with ferns etc. This will be a further addition to the habitat value of this part of the site which is a vital part of our vision of a low-maintenance wildlife and memorial garden on the historic Saron site.
More bug boxes are now installed to give nature a hand at the historic Saron graveyard, Troedyrhiw These should provide perfect habitats for a range of beneficial insects such as ladybirds, lacewings and solitary bees and also for spiders and the like.
Our volunteers have made these bug boxes from pieces of scrap wood and other waste materials. These will be erected this week in warm, sheltered positions in Saron Graveyard, Troedyrhiw. They will give nature a helping hand by providing perfect habitats for small beneficial creatures such as ladybirds, lacewings, spiders and solitary bees.
Our volunteers will again be working in Saron Graveyard, Troedyrhiw this Saturday June 02 from 10.00am. Why not pop in to see what we have been doing and have a chat with us about our vision for the future? The ultimate success of this project depends upon community support.
After 9 years of asking, it seems that the leaseholder of Saron Graveyard, Troedyrhiw has agreed to repair a collapsed retaining wall. This gives a tremendous boost to our work towards the creation of a wildlife and memorial garden on this site. You are warmly invited to attend a meeting to discuss the way forward. THURS 31 MAY, 6.30pm, ANGEL INN, TROEDYRHIW.
We are looking forward to young people from the community helping to improve the habitat value of Saron Graveyard, Troedyrhiw this Thursday 31 May. Well done Willows Youth!
Thank you to everyone that attended the Friends of Saron AGM at the Willows Centre, Troedyrhiw last Friday. Since the project to rescue our historic graveyard was launched in 2009 following the presentation of a 1,250 signature petition from the people of Troedyrhiw to the Council a great deal has happened. Our small but highly motivated group of volunteers have made significant improvements to the condition of the graveyard but there is much still to be done. Our main challenge is to unlock funding for some major structural work on the boundary walls. For reasons associated with the conditions of the lease and the leaseholder’s objections to approaching the Heritage Lottery Fund the usual sources of funding are closed to us. We are hopeful that the landowner and their tenant will be able to come up with a solution to this problem. Meanwhile, this group will continue to work hard to realise our vision of creating a Memorial and Wildlife Garden on the Saron site. PLEASE GIVE US YOUR SUPPORT.
Those attending last Thursday’s meeting of Troed-y-rhiw Local History Forum were treated to an interesting and absorbing talk on the Religious Revival of 1904 – 1905 including its impact on the village. This was delivered in a most entertaining and passionate way by guest speaker David Pike, a Revivalist and Revival historian who has family links to Troedyrhiw.
Amongst the things that David covered were the following:-
- From the mid-18th century onwards Wales, had experienced many revivals and the 1904 – 1905 spiritual awakening became particularly significant because of its effects across the mining valleys and the extensive coverage that was given to this in the newspapers of the time.
- From its beginnings in West Wales when many were converted, the Revival progressed under its most prominent leader Evan Roberts from Loughor, a former miner and trainee minister. He claimed to have had visions during which he had been instructed to save 100,000 souls and, as a result, he embarked on a tour of the South Wales valleys.
- The arrival of Evan Roberts in a community was characterised by huge crowds turning out to greet him and chapels filled to overflowing. Meetings often carried on until the early hours of the morning and involved spontaneous outbursts of fervent prayer, vivid personal testimony and passionate singing with often very little preaching.
- Some were shocked by what they saw as a ‘sham revival’. The Reverend Peter Price from Dowlais wrote a lengthy and virulent attack which was published in the Western Mail and claimed that a genuine revival had been under way for some time before the ‘bogus revival’ led by Evan Roberts began.
- The reception that Evan Roberts received in Troedyrhiw was extremely warm and supportive following the above attack on him. A letter from J. D. Jones of Canton House protesting against Rev Price’s attack had aleady been published in the press and large and sympathetic crowds turned out to receive the Revival leader. Highly successful meetings were held at Carmel and Saron chapels at both of which there were emotional scenes of prayer, praise, repentance and conversion. By February 1905 it was reported that there had been some 455 conversions in the village. A notable feature of the Revival in Troedyrhiw was that, despite the scepticism of many in the established church, the Revival seems to have made an impact even at St John’s.
- The story of Evan Roberts ends sadly as he became exhausted and suffered a nervous breakdown. He lived for many years in seclusion and eventually died in Cardiff in 1951.
- When the 1904 – 1905 Revival had run its course chapels and churches in Wales were, for a while, fuller but thereafter, as the effects of changing social conditions and the Great War were felt, the level of religious observance fell sharply. There has, however, been a positive legacy particularly in the growth of Evangelical and Pentecostal churches in many countries including the UK.
David Pike has created and maintains the well known ‘welldigger’ online blog which contains two items on ‘Troedyrhiw and Revival”. These can be viewed here http://daibach-welldigger.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/troedyrhiw-and-revival-1-1904.html