Skewen Methodist Church91 New Road, Skewen, Neath, SA10 6HG
The CADW Grade 2 listed Church lies at the centre of the village of Skewen, welcoming all through its doors. In 2009 the Church celebrated its centenary. Its history is complex. Its roots in Skewen go back to the early 19th century and The Bible Christian Movement which began in Cornwall as a result of a local preacher, William Bryant, being refused a request to become a minister of the Methodist Church.
An influx of Cornish workers to South Wales area, as a result of the industrial revolution, led to missions at Neath and Aberavon in 1840. They then helped start a mission at Skewen in 1865; a dozen people meeting at the home of Mr. William Roberts at Pentreffynon. As the group grew, they moved to the home of Mrs. Bailey, also from Cornwall, at 110, New Road Skewen, opposite the present chapel, over the Easter period of 1868. The circuit ministers, Revs Hocking, James and Oates, nurtured the group as they expanded.It wasn’t long before, they were faced with the prospect of building a place of worship. The site chosen at the bottom of New Road is now known as Skewen Press. On May 30th 1872 the foundation stones were laid. The church was opened by the Rev. J.John on the 27th October 1872. By 1905, continued expansion of the membership had rendered it too small.
This was also a time of major change for The Bible Christians as amalgamation with the United Methodist Free Churches and the Methodist New Connexion took place in 1907, forming the United Methodist Church, and subsequently, in 1932 becoming The Methodist Church.
In May of 1906, the freehold at New Road was purchased for £350. In February of 1909 the stone laying service took place. On 14th October of 1909 the opening service took place with the honour of opening the doors falling to Mrs. Sarah Curtis. The opening services were conducted by the Rev E D Cornish and John Luke.
Standing at the heart of the village and its people, it has developed its services to the community over the past century. The church hall has been expanded in the 1950’s and 60’s and recently been, renovated to a very high standard and is now available for community work.