A History of St. Pauls Church, Cwm
In October of the same year (1899) the entry "J. L. Croft" appears for the first time.
The Rev. John Liewellyn Croft, after serving for a short time as curate, became the first Vicar of the new Parish of St. Pauls, Cwm, with Waunlwyd and Victoria in February, 1900.
The entry recording his first service as vicar shows:
April 1, 11 a.m. Mattins. Thirty-nine Articles read by J. L. Croft and this is followed by W. Z.Williams - in Mr. Croft's own hand-writing. The preacher at Evensong was the Rev. J. R. Hasbons, curate of Christ Church.
The register abounds with remarks like - "very stormy", "small congregation", "cold night" or "very good congregation", "5/6d". Collections generally amounted to between 10/6d and 17/ - not very often did they go over £1.
Entry for Easter Day, 1892: 8 a.m. Holy Communion (numbers not given) 4/7d; Mattins, large congregation 8/6d. Evensong, splendid service, 10/6d.
For some time there is no record of any celebrations of Holy Communion in the register at all. The first entry is that of August 11, 1889, the celebrant being the curate, D. H. Griffiths. The number of communicants is not given. Are we then to suppose that there was no celebration in this church for a period of three years or more? That is hardly conceivable. The explanation may be that Holy Communion was celebrated after Mattins and that no record was kept. The strange thing is, the erratic way in which the entries of the Communion Services were made.
Sometimes there are two celebrations in a month, in other months none.
The time of the service differs too. Quite frequently we have "H.C. 8 a.m." but once or twice it is at 8.30 a.m. and then, again, the time is put at 11 a.m.
From January, 1897, when the Rev. William Jones became curate in charge, there is a regular sequence of celebrations at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. and from February of the same year these were fixed for the first Sunday in the month. By this time, a record of the number of communicants was kept, the average being about 17.
The first recorded Choral Communion was on Easter Day, 1899, and again on July 2 - then it was discontinued.
The London Gazette (the official publication of Court Orders in this country) for February 6, 1900, legally confirmed the order in Council (at the Court at Osborne, Isle of Wight, dated January 29, 1900) for the formation of a consolidated Chapelry to the consecrated Church of St. Paul, Cwm, thus making this a Parish in its own right.
The task of converting this district into a Parish lay primarily with the Vicar of Christ Church, the Rev. W. Coleman Williams, who, with the Bishop of Llandaff, made representations to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, who in turn placed it before Queen Victoria in Council.
The Parish, which then included Victoria and Waunlwyd, took in small parts of the Parishes of St. Michael, Abertillery (then a district under Aberystruth) of Llanhilleth and Bedwellty. All the incumbents of these parishes had to give their consent before representation was sent to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners.
It is interesting that Mr. Croft did not "read himself in" until April 1, 1900, although his appointment dates from October 1, 1899.
Meanwhile, there must have been an endowment on the parish sufficient to guarantee an adequate stipend for its Vicar. Where exactly these sums of money came from, is now difficult to trace. The procedure by which most stipends came into being, in those days, was that money handed to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners was met by an equal amount from their common fund.
Thus, in the London Gazette, April 6, 1900: "a benefaction of £500 which gave the incumbent of St. Paul's, Cwm, a yearly stipend of £15 was met by a further grant of £500 from the Commissioners' purse, yielding a further £15 towards the stipend". That is £30 in all.
In 1902 the sum of £200 was paid over to the Commissioners, plus a piece of land (about two roods) as a site for a Parsonage.
To this the Commissioners added a further sum of £4501 thus increasing the stipend by £19.10s.Od per annum. In this way the endowment of the parish was increased.
On June 5, 1903, and again on June 19, 1903 (London Gazette) a total of £425 was assigned to the Parish for the building of a Parsonage, the interest on which 2½ per cent was paid as part of the stipend of the Incumbent.
In 1904 a further benefaction of £125 was met with an additional £125 and out of this the Incumbent was paid £7.5s.0d. At the same time £100 was added from the Commissioners and the interest at 2½ per cent was added to the stipend. In 1907 the stipend was increased by £150 plus the Commissioners' £100 yielding an annual increment of £9. Meanwhile, the Parsonage Fund had been increased by £500, £250 of this was paid by the Parish and £250 by the Commissioners.
The first Easter Vestry Meeting of the new parish, "The Consolidated Chapelry of St. Paul, Cwm, with Victoria" was held on April 24, 1900, in the vestry. The Vicar, the Rev. J. L. Croft presided. The accounts were audited by Mr. Lewis, station master, and Mr. John Price, Waunlwyd.
The vicar selected Mr.J. Willputte as his warden and Mr. George Pratten was selected parishioners' warden.
Sidesmen elected for St. Pauls: Messrs. J. Evans, T. Clark, G. Clark, Tom Wilcox, Peters, Stephen Clark, Workman. The vicar selected Messrs. Coombes, Edgar Williams, Tomlinson, P. C. Jones, Walter Court, Challenger.
For St. Marys, Victoria: Messrs. Pugh, Taylor, D. Collins, J. Price, E. Parfitt, Lewis, Jones and Daniel Jenkins. The vicar selected Messrs. W. Price, J. Jones, G. Hawkins, Prickett, R. Tuilie, T. J. Parry.
Mr. T. Parry was elected hon. secretary of St. Marys, Victoria, and Mr. J. Wilcox of St. Pauls. Mr. Willputte was treasurer of St. Marys and Mr. G. Pratten St. Pauls.