The Wesleyan movement in Ferndale was founded in 1880.
Support came mainly from the influx of population from the South West
of England to work in various trades relating to the coal-mining industry
and the railways.
They first met together and formed a congregation in a hall later known
as the Tudor Hall. This was not ideal, as it was too large and uncomfortable
and the smaller rooms attached were too small for the Sunday school. The
congregation soon decided that they must try to get better premises and
so the idea of building a new church was formed.
Among the numerous families who made up the congregation was the family
of Lewis Davis coalmine owner. Mr. Lewis Davis died in 1888 and his family
was very generous in giving the sum of £2000 in his memory towards
the building of the new church.
Messrs Julian & Sons of Pontypridd, a Methodist family, were commissioned
to build at a cost of £2500. The Tudor Hall was sold for £200
and the balance of £300 was paid by the members. In June 1893 the
lovely gothic type church was ready for service completely free of debt.
At the time the Reverend J. Langley was the minister in charge and his
stipend was £32.00 per quarter.
The opening of the church was celebrated by a whole week of preaching
services with eminent preachers from all over Great Britain taking part.
One of these was the famous Reverend Dinsdale T. Young. The seating capacity
of the church was 350 and in its early days it was full to capacity. Soon
after the opening the members decided that they must have a pipe organ
and in 1897 a two-manual organ was installed.
On Easter Sunday 22nd April 1897 the official dedication of the organ
took place. It was a proud day for members, as this was the first two-manual
organ in the Rhondda Fach. It was operated by a hand-pump until 1915 when
it was electrified. It was renovated in 1934 and again completely overhauled
in 1960. The cost was met by special donations from our members.
Oven the years the church has seen a very active life, both spiritually
and socially. Many musical cantatas and plays were performed by our members
and the children of the Sunday school. There were meetings most nights
of the week - Wesley Guild, Band of Hope, Bible Class and Ladies Sewing
Classes. The vestry was equipped as a gymnasium and it was used for many
years by the pupils of the Ferndale Secondary School before the school
at the Darren Park was built. A large gymnasium class of our own young
men and their friends flourished for many years between the wars.
Special features of interest in our church are a Memorial Tablet to sixteen
of our young men who gave their lives in the Great War of 1914-18, and
a brass memorial plaque to Mr. Lewis Davis. We also had a bell and belfry
- the only Methodist Church in South Wales to have this."
In common with most of the valley chapels, our congregation decreased
over the years and the chapel buildings began to pose problems, with major
repairs needed and fewer members to bear the cost.
The members of the Welsh Chapel, Capel Wesley decided that as their chapel
was such a large building needing extensive repairs, it was sensible to
join us in our church and in 1970 we were delighted to welcome them and
the joining together was to our mutual benefit.
In 1979 the United Reformed Church in North Road made the same decision
and again we welcomed their members very warmly. We quickly became one
church family and have remained as one ever since.
In September 1985 the same fate befell our church. An insurance survey
found that our church building had become unsafe and we were advised that
it must be demolished. This news caused us great sadness, but we were
kindly allowed to use the community hall at Ferndale Court to hold our
services and so we were able to stay together. This enabled us to recover
our spirits and resolve to build a new church on the same site.
We worked very hard and with the help of many friends in Ferndale and
further afield, we saved enough money to build a modern church on the
same location. In March 1990 our dear church was ready for worship. We
had a grand opening on two weekends, 10th March and 17th March, to welcome
all the good friends who wanted to be a part of our celebrations.
Our new church is smaller, but it suits our needs and we have become very
fond of it. We are a happy band, who worship together and we carry on
the Methodist traditions which were started in Ferndale over 100 years