Parish Pages

BRECON, St JOHN the EVANGELIST

Skip introductory material (go direct to transcriptions):
Church of St John the Evangelist: Bishop's Transcripts (1716-1868)
Struet Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel: Births and Baptisms (1810-1837)
Watergate Baptist Chapel records


Brecon Town in the period covered by the transcribed records

During the 18th century Brecon was one of the foremost towns in Wales, while Cardiff was only a small port in the Taff estuary at that time. Brecon was the central town of a large area with a varied social life and a prosperous economy. The occupations mentioned in the records show the range of activites and help paint a picture of town life. For more detail see Brecon: Occupations and Society 1500-1800 in Volume 19 of Brycheiniog, the journal of the Brecknock Society.
 
Wards – Brecon town itself was divided into wards, which are often given as places of abode for townspeople in the early 19th century records.
Two of the wards of Brecon are those parts of the parishes of St Mary's and Llanfaes that lie within the town. The wards of Ship Street, Morganwg or Glamorgan Street, High Street Superior, High Street Inferior, Watton and Heolrhydd were centred on the streets bearing those names. Old Port Superior ward was the area around St John's Priory Church near the old town gate (or port) and down to the river Honddu. Old Port Inferior was across the Honddu around and along the Struet. Cantercelly or Cantercelli (originally Cantref Selif) was centred on Lion Street.
The 1744 or the 1834 maps of Brecon give an idea of the area covered by each ward.

Anglican Churches in Brecon
In the period covered by the transcribed records Brecon town was in three Anglican parishes: St John's, St Mary's and St David's (Llanfaes), each with its own parish church in the town.

Huntington House Struet Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel (in St John's Parish)
Brecon was an early centre of Methodism and was several times visited by John Wesley. Lady Huntington had a Calvinistic Methodist Chapel built in the Struet about 1780. The chapel was rebuilt about 1820 in the period that the register was being compiled. About 1860 that chapel proved too small and Bethel Chapel was built off Lion Street in what is now Bethel Square. The old chapel became Huntington House (right) which still stands on the corner of the Struet and King Charles Steps. Bethel Chapel is now occupied by Boots the Chemists. For more information about Welsh Calvinistic Methodism and its strong links to Breconshire see http://www.welshchapels.org/nonconformity/calvinistic-methodists-presbyterians/

Watergate Baptist Chapel (in St John's Parish)
Watergate Chapel (below right) was founded in Brecon about 1806 as a daughter chapel of Maesyberllan Chapel in Talachddu parish. In 1817 the minister, John Evans, began using English in services. At first this wasWatergate Chapel popular and increased the size of the congregation but in the next decade it led to a split into the Welsh speaking Watergate Chapel and the nearby English speaking Kensington Chapel.




The transcribed records