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Lady Diana Barham and William Griffiths

Baroness Barham originally came to Swansea to spend time after a visit with her daughter was delayed. She travelled around the area with her private secretary and Reverend Mr Kemp, who often visited Gower to preach. The Baroness was horrified with what she believed were “spiritually destitute people” and nine months after her visit she returned to take up residence in Gower in order to enlighten the local population.

Working with local communities, Lady Barham established a meeting house on the edge of Burry Green, now Bethesda Chapel. She also established a number of schools, often linked to local chapels, such as at Cheriton where she employed William Griffiths, a Calvinistic Methodist, to teach during the day and preach during evenings.

The Barham family provided patronage to the chapels until 1855 when Griffiths persuaded Lord Barham to gift the buildings to the Calvinist Methodist connexion.

Despite the visits of the famous Methodist, John Wesley, William Griffiths is regarded as the father of Methodism in Gower and known as the Apostle of Gower. He was ordained at the Association meeting at Llangeitho, 1824, married in 1826 and had a son who was also named William Griffiths. Griffiths worked and lived in Gower all his life and died in Burry Green in 1861.