The son of the parson of Llangeitho and Nantcwnlle parishes, Daniel Rowland (1713–90) was born in Pantybeudy, Bwlch-llan. It is thought that he was educated at Hereford Grammar School. He was ordained a deacon in 1734 and a priest in 1735. He ministered in these parishes as a curate before coming under the influence of Griffith Jones, Llanddowror. He started to preach and travel all over Wales. He joined Howel Harris as one of the leaders of the movement to promote the great Methodist revival in Wales. However, by 1752, they’d parted company. For a long time Rowland made Llangeitho the Mecca of Welsh Methodists, with thousands of people from all over Wales travelling there each Sunday to listen to him preach. His sermons were published, as were a number of his hymns.
Traethawd am Farw i’r Ddeddf, a Byw i Dduw
Rhai Hymnau Duwiol
Hymnau Duwiol Yw Canu Mewn Cymdeithas Crefyddol
Deuddeg o Bregethau
'Halsing o waith Daniel Rowland, 1737', Cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Hanes y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd, 33
Following the excommunication of Daniel Rowland from his curacy in 1763, the Methodist cause continued in family homes which hadn’t been consectrated for the purpose, including Meidrym barn, a simple building with a thatched roof. Daniel Rowland had married Eleanor, the daughter of Caerllugest, a weathly family in those times. Her brother Peter Davies, who was married to the daughter of Y Glyn, gave a piece of land for the purpose of building a chapel, on the site where Daniel Rowland’s monument stands today. It was given the name ‘New Church’, and was located in Gwynfil parish, across the river Aeron from the parish of Ceitho. It was enlarged in time and one part was called The House next to the Pulpit and another part The House next to the Road.
Following the ordination of ministers by the Calvinist Methodists in 1811, a larger building was erected between 1813–15 for the 30-odd members. There were four doors to this chapel and they were called: The Door of the Goats – for the seceders to pass through; The Door of the Sheep – for those returning to the flock; The Red Door – as this was its colour, and The Door to the Altar – near where communion was administered.
The present chapel was built in 1861. This chapel also has the door behind the pulpit as from the days of Daniel Rowland. It can seat up to 650 people and is listed a Grade 2* building by CADW.
The Rev. Stephen Morgan
Daniel Rowland’s monument was unveiled on 7 September 1883 and it is recorded that two to three thousand people were present at the event. There’d been attempts twenty years earlier to remember Daniel Rowland in this way, but there wasn’t enough support at that time.
A national fundraising appeal was launched by the Rev. Thomas Levi, Aberystwyth, and this raised £600. The monument cost £800 and the sculptor was Edward Griffiths, Caerleon.
Twenty years earlier Dafydd Jones, Dolau Bach, had recommended the (translated) wording below for the monument. He remembered Daniel Rowland saying these words in one of his sermons. The monument is listed as Grade 2 by CADW.
The Rev. Stephen Morgan
'O Heaven, Heaven, Heaven, your corners would be quite empty if it weren’t for Zion raising your children on earth.'
Daniel Rowland is buried inside the church.
John Humphreys Davies was born in Cwrtmawr. He is remembered as the principal of University College Wales, Aberystwyth (1919–26) and his invaluable collection of Welsh medieval documents. He was educated at University College Wales, Aberystwyth, and Lincoln College, Oxford. He was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn, and from a young age became involved in public life. At the age of 24 he was elected alderman of Cardiganshire County Council despite not being an elected member of the authority. His interest in Welsh literature was ignited from his association with O M Edwards at Oxford. He was involved in the movement to create the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, and his collection of 1,549 volumes of medieval Welsh documents was donated to the library. In 1905 he became registrar of University College Wales, Aberystwyth, and principal in 1919 and held that position until his death.
Dr David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899–1981) was born in Cardiff, but his family moved to Llangeitho in 1904 where they kept the Albion shop. He spent ten years living in Llangeitho, attending the local school and later Tregaron County School. He is remembered as a Welsh Protestant minister, preacher and medical doctor who was influential on the Reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century.
In 1927 he sensed a calling to preach and returned to Wales, accepting an invitation to minister at a church in Aberavon (Port Talbot). For almost 30 years, he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London. His brother Vincent became a High Court judge.
Evan David Jones (1903–87) was born at Y Wenallt. Between 1958 and 1969 he was the librarian of the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. He was educated in the village school and then worked on the family farm as a shepherd. As a 16 year old he was persuaded by an aunt to attend Tregaron Grammar School, lodging with her during the week. Amongst his peers there were some of the most illustrious future benefactors to Welsh life, such as J Kitchener Davies from nearby Llwynpiod. E D Jones worked as an archivist and then keeper of the Manuscripts Department at the National Library of Wales before being appointed librarian, following in the footsteps of Thomas Parry. He was the editor of the works of one of the most important 15th-century Welsh poets, Lewys Glyn Cothi, and he published two volumes of the poet’s work in 1953. In addition he published Victorian and Edwardian Wales from Old Photographs (1981) – photography being one of his hobbies. Much of his leisure time was taken up with committee work, such as at the university in Aberystwyth, the Welsh Books Council, the National Eisteddfod etc. His contribution to Welsh life was acknowledged by the queen, the University of Wales, and many other learned organizations.
Three brothers who were poets were raised in Dolau Aeron, Llangeitho. Tom Harries Williams (b. 1888) and known in poetic circles as Bedwyn, became vicar of St David’s Church, Carmarthen. Examples of his work can be found in Cerddi Ysgol Llanycrwys (1934).
His brother Isaac (1876–1935), known as Caeron, worked for a while in business in London, before being ordained as a vicar in 1907. In 1930 he became the vicar of Llanrhystud. He preached all over Wales and at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on one occasion. He published many poems in the Church of Wales periodical, Y Llan.
Their brother William (b. 1880) and known as Gwilym Aeron, also went to London, but he stayed there all his life. He established a business selling milk and also ran a shop. He published a volume of his poems in 1936.
Parc Rhydderch was the home of Rhydderch ap Ieuan (d.1400), who is associated with Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch [The white book of Rhydderch].