Finding Chapel Burials

One of the most popular posts on this blog has been the discussion of the St Issells Burial Board register and its importance in recording non-conformist burials in the area. That so few records for local chapels have survived makes the register an important tool for finding the burials of around 400 people who do not appear in the parish registers.

Not everyone was buried at St Issells church. Many were buried in large chapel graveyards. To help those readers who do not live close to the area locate these burials I have published on the GENUKI site 2 sets of data I have collected in the past few years for each of the following four chapels:

Plan of Saundersfoot area showing 19th century chapels highlighting Bethesda, Ebenezer, Sardis & Zion in particular

Local chapels established in 1800s (Click to enlarge)


Ebenezer Baptist Chapel, Cold Inn, East Williamston

Zion Calvinistic Methodist Chapel

St Issells

Bethesda Calvinistic Methodist Chapel

Sardis Independent Chapel

Partial transcriptions of stones in chapel graveyards

Although far from complete I have transcribed genealogical information from gravestones in these chapel yards.  There will no doubt be some errors in this work as many stones are difficult to read – especially as one of the masons had a penchant for an illegible gothic script! Do let me know if you spot mistakes or have material to add.

The lists are in no particular order.

Lists of burials extracted from the Narberth, Whitland & Clynderwen Weekly newspaper (1906-42)

I have published on the GENUKI site details of burials reported in the Narberth Weekly. It was a marvellously chatty newspaper during this period, a journalistic equivalent of parish pump gossip. Often lengthy reports of both deaths and funerals include the cause and location, extensive biographical material, names of attendees at the funeral with relationship to the deceased and even details of the wreaths.

You may find an ancestor appears in both the graveyard and newspapers lists.

If you find anything of interest and want to check the newspapers, the following repositories hold copies:

  • British Library (Colindale): 1906-42 (1912 incomplete)
  • Haverfordwest Library: 1910-23 (incomplete)
  • National Library of Wales: 1916 (incomplete), 1924-26, 1928-34, 1937-40

Alternatively post a note on this blog or email me at and I will return any additional material I extracted.

As ever I wish to express my thanks to Gareth Hicks for letting me publish this information on the Pembrokeshire GENUKI site he maintains.

6 thoughts on “Finding Chapel Burials

  1. Just found this fascinating site. My g.g.grandmother was Mary Absalom b.1822 daughter of Benjamin Absalom and Mary Evans. Martha Absalom who married George Gunter is Mary’s sister. Very interested in the Absalom family and have done some research in the NLW on my current visit here. Any more info greatly appreciated

  2. Hello Helen,

    I was very interested in your message as Benjamin ABSALOM b 1832, the brother of your Mary, came back from eventful service in the Army and married my wife’s great great grandmother, Sarah WATERS in 1873. They were buried in Sardis Congregational Churchyard as were her daughter Mary and husband Thomas JOHN. Please contact me so that we can exchange more information.
    Best wishes, Ted White

  3. I am trying to extend my research on my Nana , Blodwyn Phillips, side. She was born in St Florence on 10.2.1886, one of eleven. all of whom emigrated to Austrailia in the 1990s, to James and Hannah Phillips.[ Both born around 1870] James in turn was the son of Benjamin and Mary Phillip of The Shipping, born around 1837 and 1836 respectively. Mary I believed lived in The Shipping in the 1990s, whilst her daughter Margaret and brother John lived in Shoemaker,s Cottage at the entrance to Broom Lane.What I am trying to establish is who Benjamin’s parents were. Could they possibly have been Sarah and John Phillips of Brambly Hill and if so when and how did John die as Sarah is listed as a collier’s widow. Blodwyyn became a Cole through marrying Gwyllim, the brother of Albert Cole formally of Broom Lane I am new to research so any assistance would be greatly appreciated

    • Thanks for your post.

      Yes, you are on the right lines with your assumption. As far as I can see the family was never “chapel”, always church, so if you have access to the Pembrokeshire Record Office at Haverfordwest then you should be able to trace this family through the parish registers. If you are not close, then are to start publishing Pembrokeshire records on their web site this year.

      But to answer your question: John Phillips died 14/1/1842 at Bramble Hill, Begelly, of consumption. He was buried at Begelly. If you take a look at the post on you’ll see some more information about his widow, Sarah.

      Have you seen WR Phillips’ book, ‘The Story of Begelly’? There’s a good section about John Phillips, the “Village Cobbler” at Shipping corner on pp35-36 including a modern-ish picture of the cottage and a shorter piece in his later book, “A Pembrokeshire Countryman Looks Back”.


  4. Dear Jon, thanks for your prompt and informative reply, I shall now endeavour to research beyond John and Sarah Phillips and even start on the Cole side. Being a local born lad I was aware of the large number of Phillip or Philipps families in the county but was thrown a little by the similarity of Christian names used, even allowing for the first born son being named after the father or grandfather.
    I have used Find My Past in Upminster library and have accessed Pembrokeshire records. I have a copy of W R Morgan’s second book and shall now look out for The History of Begelly.
    I often stay with my brother at Shoemaker’s Cottage and reminisce about Auntie Maggie and the cups of tea , pieces of home made cake or stiff rice pudding that she plied us with when we called in whilst delivering papers for Gwyn Llewellyn of Kilgetty, warming ourselves in front of the hob whilst she sat on the settle. Sometimes Willie Warlow would be there having his dinner.I need to research as to whether Willie Warlow,of Shipping Cottage was just a good friend and neighbour or whether his father’s wife Sarah was a Phillips.
    Thanks once again Jon.

  5. Just read an extract from The story of Begelly and have discovered that Sarah Warlow was in fact Sarah Phillips, the sister of Margaret and John Phillips. Tanks for the lead Jon.

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