Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
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Source: April 1997 Volume 35 Number 2, Page 76

Berwyn Chapel in Argentina

Mary Robertson Ives

Page 76

About three years ago we received, at Great Valley Presbyterian Church, a letter from Jay G. Williams III of Clinton, New York, asking for information about Great Valley. He was compiling material about churches with Welsh roots, and planned to publish a book about them. In response we sent Mr. Williams some photographs and a few paragraphs about the church's history.

A few weeks ago we heard from Mr. Williams that the the book had been published, so we ordered a copy. The title is "Songs of Praises: Welsh-rooted Churches Beyond Britain," and it contains photos and histories of over 200 Welsh-rooted churches in the continental United States, Argentina and Canada.

Since my sister and her husband lived for many years in Argentina, that chapter caught my eye. I learned that a group of 156 Welsh people sailed from Great Britain on the "Mimosa" and landed on July 28, 1865 at the mouth of the Chubut River in South America. The Chubut rises in the Andes mountains, and flows eastward across Patagonia in southern Argentina to the Atlantic Ocean where today the city of Rawson is located.

The river flows through the Chubut Valley, which is forty miles long and five miles wide. This is where the Welsh settled. They built places of worship in the valley, some 34 chapels in all. Some were destroyed in a devastating flood in 1899. Some are no longer used, while others have small congregations and are used for worship services only occasionally.

In his book, Mr. Williams writes about fourteen of the chapels, and the thing that really caught my eye was the one in Rawson called Berwyn Chapel or, in Spanish, Capilla Berwyn. It's a small world!


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