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I'm looking at the record of the birth and baptism of the brother of one of my ancestors (William Prichard) and trying to determine where the baptism took place. (Note: I can read the record; it's the interpretation I'm interested in. I suspect answering this will require familiarity with the baptism practices of the Calvinistic Methodists in North Wales and in particular how they kept their registers).

The transcription on Findmypast reads:

First name(s) William

Last name Prichard

Birth year 1834

[snip]

Baptism year 1834

[snip]

Place Llanfair

Birth place as transcribed Llangybi

Denomination Calvinistic Methodist

[snip]

County Caernarvonshire

The National Archives reference TNA/RG/4/3873 Description CARNARVONSHIRE: Llanfair, Capel Llanfair; and Dwygyfylchi, Capel ucha Dwygyfylchi (Calvinistic Methodist): Collections from Great Britain, Wales

The image of the register shows (with headers across 2 pages)

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It looks to be Bryn Engan, which is likely to be Capel Bryn Engan in the parish of Llanystumdwy in Caernarfonshire.

Coflein describes the place as follows:

BRYNENGAN CHAPEL (WELSH CALVINISTIC METHODIST;BRYN ENGAN), LLANGYBI

Brynengan Methodist Chapel was built in 1777 and rebuilt in 1826 in the Vernacular style of the gable entry type.


The National Archives Catalogue entry for that register shows that it covers:

Llanfair, Capel Llanfair; and Dwygyfylchi, Capel ucha Dwygyfylchi, Carnarvonshire, Denomination: Calvinistic Methodist: Births and Baptisms.

Other places: Aberdaron Pen-y-caerau Chapel, Aberdaron Rhydlios, Aberdaron Uwchmynyd, Abererch Four Crosses Chapel, Abererch the Lowest Chapel, Bangor Capel-y-Craig and Tabernacle, Beddgelert Chapel and Bethania Chapel, Beddgeert Rhyd-ddu Chapel, Bodvean School House, Bottwnog Rhydbach Chapel, Bryncroes Tymawr Chapel, Clynnog Brynaera Chapel, Clynnog Chapel, Criccieth, Dolbenman Isa Garn Chapel, Dwygyfylchi, Edeyrn, Llanarmon Pencoed Chapel, Llanbeblig Capel-y-Bont Newydd, Llanbeblig Waenfawr Chapel, Llanddeiniolen Capel Dinorwig, Llanddeiniolen Pentir Chapel, Llanddeiniolen Rhydfawr Chapel, Llanddeiniolen Ysgoldy Chapel, Llandwrog Talysarn, Llanengan Bwlch Chapel, Llanestyn Dinas Chapel, Llanfair Isgaer Capel Tanymaes, Llangian Nant Chapel, Llangwnadl Pen y graig Chapel, Llangybi Brynengan Chapel, Llangybi Pencae Newydd or Ysgoldy Chapel, Llanllechid Capel-y-Gate House, Llanllechid Capel yr Achub or Capel y Carneddi, Llannllyfni Salem Chapel, Llanor Pentre-ucha Chapel, Llanor Rhyd-y-clafrdy Chapel, Llanrug Capel Athro, Llanvihangel-y Pennant Pennant Chapel late Gyfyng, Llanwnda Horeb Chapel, Llanystumdwy Bontfechan Chapel, Penmorfa Bethel Chapel, Penmorfa Horeb Chapel, Pistill Llithfan Chapel, Pwllheli Pen-y-Mount Chapel, Treflys Brynmelyn Chapel, Tremadoc Peniel Chapel Ynyscynhaiarn, Tydweiliog, Llanberis Capel Coch, Llandwrog Capel Brynrodyn, Llandwrog Capel Bwlan, Llandwrog.

That would be the circuit to which these chapels belonged (see the Introduction to Methodist Records) which says:

"Every Methodist chapel belongs to a Circuit, or used to belong to a circuit before the chapel was closed. A Circuit may comprise only 2 or 3 chapels in some towns and cities but as many as 20-30 chapels in rural areas".


The particular baptism was carried out at Capel Bryn Engan by the Minister based at Ysgoldy Chapel, Moses Jones. Other baptisms at that chapel on the same page in the register were carried out by other Ministers on the circuit.

In fact, we see there are 8 different Ministers officiating at baptisms at Brynengan Chapel over a three year period: John Jones, Robert Davies, Moses Jones, David Jones, William Roberts, Robert Griffith, William Lloyd, and Robert Owen. We also see that Moses Jones also officiates at other chapels (e.g. Tydyn Mawr).

This rather neatly illustrates the principle of the Welsh Calvanistic Methodist circuit at that time, and the importance of reviewing a whole page of the document, rather than just the transcription of a single line. We often need to review the whole document if we are looking to understand the structure and context of the records.

It can also be worthwhile reviewing other registers (for example, there's another Welsh Calvanistic Methodist register that includes Ysgoldy, and overlaps with the register linked above in the RG4 series at the National Archives - RG 4/3848) to see if that sheds any light on the structure and context of the records.


A couple of points of interest that may add further context:

On 7 April 1883 the North Wales Chronicle carried the obituary of

"Hannah, the beloved wife of the Rev. Moses Jones, of Ysgoldy, in the parish of Llassgybt, in this county, Calvinistic Methodist minister"

(original record available on available on Welsh Newspapers Online).


Also, I think that Robert Davies may have been the Minister based at the Chapel of Brynengan at that time (assuming that he is the same Robert Dafydd mentioned in Y tadau methodistaidd). The biography gives a description of his time at Brynengan which includes the dates of those baptisms. [The text is in Welsh, but if you download the pdf file you can copy & paste the text in blocks into Google Translate (don't forget to remove the line-breaks when you're using Google Translate. It can give some very strange results otherwise!)].

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  • So, not Ysgoldy Chapel in Pencaenewydd Llangybi, also mentioned in the record -- how have you reached the decision on one or the other? – ColeValleyGirl Jan 24 '18 at 17:51
  • @ColeValleyGirl If he'd been baptised at Ysgoldy chapel, it would say Ysgoldy under 'Where baptized', rather than in the remarks column. The remark is more likely to refer to the parish of the person carrying out the baptism if he wasn't from Bryn Engan. – sempaiscuba Jan 24 '18 at 18:16
  • Ysgoldy isn't a parish, it's a chapel. But yes, it's possible. Also possible that Moses Jones who carried out the baptism was the minister at Ysgoldy. The full page which I can post if it's helpful shows seven ministers with Baptisms recorded at Brynegan, all with different remarks (but consistent for each minister). – ColeValleyGirl Jan 24 '18 at 18:24
  • @ColeValleyGirl That would make sense if baptisms were being carried out by visiting ministers. – sempaiscuba Jan 24 '18 at 18:36
  • But where did he carry out the baptisms -- why travel when he had his 'own' chapel? Very often the baptism records for a group of chapels were combined, so hi smight have been part of a 'BryEgan circuit. – ColeValleyGirl Jan 24 '18 at 18:48

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