In November 1859, a revival broke out in Dyffryn Nantlle,
and the numbers attending the Chapels greatly increased,
by scores in some instances, this revival more than
any other laid the foundation and ensured the strength
of the many chapels affected, for the remainder of
the nineteenth century.
Talysarn Chapel, by the early 1860's, was found to
be too small for the congregation and as it was obvious
that the Creigiau Mawr area of Hyfrydle Road was to
be built upon, the members of Capel Mawr decided to
build a chapel there which was to be called Hyfrydle
- this being the third branch of Capel Mawr. It was
on the 4th of November 1866 that the Chapel was established.
The Reverend William Hughes oversaw the work, as he
was generally recognised as the leader of both the
religious and educational movement in the area.
Image: Hyfrydle Chapel in the background with the train running just
William Hughes was born on the 10th of January 1818,
the son of Rowland Hughes - a quarry labourer; and
his wife Jane, formerly Jane Williams, and the grandson
of William Dafydd, Tŷ Ucha'r Ffordd - the first
Methodist preacher in Llanllyfni. William Dafydd's
sermons were always short and sweet, the locals always
thought highly of him, and when in later life he became
ill and infirm, he used to remain at home, where people
used to gather to listen to him preaching the Gospel.
When William Hughes was 17, he decided to further
his education, and as there were no local schools,
he walked all the way to Chester to attend a specialist
school for twelve months.
A year later, in 1836, we find him working as a clerk
at Gloddfa'r Lôn Quarry, Talysarn. He was soon
promoted to the important position of Chief Clerk -
a job that suited him well and which he kept for 41
He was made an elder at Salem Chapel, Llanllyfni in
1840, together with Robert Parry, Tŷ'n Llan and
John Pritchard, Tirion Pelyn; but William left the
village within three years and moved to Talysarn, where
in 1844 he started preaching. His ordination took place
William Hughes was a six foot, thinly built man who
always seemed to appear stern and serious. He had unusually
large penetrating eyes. He was always a slow mover
but thorough and determined in his way. His head drooped
as he walked or paced, as though measuring a piece
of land a yard at a time. He tended to be rather absent
minded at work, but he was also a perfectionist.
He always chose the correct words to suit the occasion,
and was the motivator and organiser of the day school
held at Hyfrydle Chapel. He later became a member of
the Talysarn School Board, and generally was reckoned
to be the person who contributed most to the education
of the local inhabitants at that time. An undated Hyfrydle
Chapel School report stated that "It is a lively,
well organised school, boasting a comfortable room
for children. More use of cards is made here than at
any other school in the district. The curriculum is
well documented and the work is examined periodically
by an appointed official. This is a huge step forward.
The teachers are rotated annually, this has it's advantages
and also it's disadvantages."
He was ably assisted in overseeing the building work
on the chapel by Owen Rogers, Tŷ'n Fawnog; Thomas
Jones the shoemaker, who later moved to live at Hyfrydle
Chapel House; and William Griffith.
Sixty members of Capel Mawr, Talysarn, moved here
to worship as soon as it opened. The mother church
donated a gift of £300 to mark the occasion.
Hyfrydle was formally opened at Christmas 1866 when
the Reverends David Jones, Treborth; John Pritchard,
Amlwch; and William Morris, Rhuddlan preached the Gospel.
A 60 year lease was obtained from 1866 for £3/12/-.
per annum. Building had begun in early 1865 and it
had taken nearly two years to complete. The total expense
including the Chapel House was £1520. There was
no gallery there at that time and many preachers complained
of the echo effect that this produced. The Reverend
Joseph Thomas stated in a meeting in late 1866, that
at Hyfrydle he could never have the last word, the
echo always did!
At the end of 1866 the membership stood at 81 with
the number of children at 51. There were 21 Sunday
School teachers and also 120 scholars. The average
attendance at meetings was about 250. By the end of
1866 the outstanding debt had been reduced to £1100.
The Chapel accommodated a total of 410 worshippers,
of which at this time 200 seats were reserved at a
fee of 9d per annum.
The Reverend William Hughes moved here as a member
in late 1866 from Talysarn, but none of the deacons
did so. At this time the first elders were appointed;
they were Owen Rogers, Tŷ'n y Fawnog, who was
responsible for the core of non-members of the congregation;
Thomas Jones who by now was living at the Chapel House,
presumably as caretaker and also the Chapel Precentor;
and lastly William Griffith, Coetmor, who was primarily
responsible for full members.
Hyfrydle was linked to Bethel Chapel, Penygroes in
1867. The membership was slow to increase at first,
there being 96 in 1868; 114 in 1873 and 167 by 1879.
In 1870 William Griffith, Coetmor left for Penygroes
and a year later Owen Rogers moved to live in Felin
Gerrig, Llanllyfni. He now attended Salem Chapel, where
in 1871 he was made a Deacon, only to return in 1877
to live at Talysarn and attend Hyfrydle. ln that same
year (1871) William Thomas, Bron Eryri and John Owen,
Railway Terrace, were elected elders.
At about this time a strange occurrence took place,
the Reverend John Owen Jones, Capel Coch, Llanberis,
had given a sermon. His text was "God's retribution
against unbelievers, or the ungodly". A literary
discussion took place after the service and the minister
asked if any new member was present. A young man called
Robert Benjamin jumped to his feet and shouted "Yes,
me" and lifted up his arm. He then sat down and
to everyone's horror collapsed and died.
Sometime during 1879 the seating was rearranged and
a gallery was erected at a cost of £1000 , there
also remained at this time a balance of £383
due from the original building work thirteen years
earlier. On September 29th 1879, the Reverend William
Hughes died aged 61 years, and on November 19th of
that same year; John Williams, Frondirion, and William
Williams, Frondeg, were elected elders.
In early 1881 Hyfrydle's link with Bethel, Penygroes
was broken and another forged with Baladeulyn, Nantlle.
Sometime during 1885 the Reverend David Jones formerly
of Llanllyfni moved back from Denbighshire and settled
in Talysarn only to leave again in 1889.
The debt incurred in installing the gallery was constantly
reduced during the last two decades of the nineteenth