Gopa Fach (1793-1797)



1793 Llansamlet, Gopa Fach, Llanelli, Ystradgynlais, and Creunant. ‘At about this time [1791/2] I felt a compulsion in my mind concerning speaking publicly, but I did not indicate anything or say a word to anyone about this, until brother Griffith Morgans asked and compelled me, and said that he would speak with me when there was a Sabbath without a visiting speaker in Gopa Fach, and so about 1792 I began speaking; and in 1793 when the Chapel had no one visiting, brother Morgans and I would speak publicly there. The following year I began to travel a little from home; not far — only to the neighbouring localities: Llanelli, Loughor, Llansamlet, Ystradgynlais, and Crynant. About this time we had a very strong and powerful revival in Llansamlet. Mr Llwyd of Henllan was at Gopa Fach one Sabbath morning, and in Llangyfelach village for two o’clock, speaking on the Horse Steps, by the upper Tavern House, and the Lord anointed the meeting in a very particular way. That evening at six in Llansamlet there was a most special unction upon the ministry, and as a result a very strong and powerful revival broke out. Scores were added to the Society in Llansamlet, and many of them have continued faithful to the glorious and worthy cause to the end of their days.’ Hopkin Bevan, Ychydig o Hanes, pp.8-9

‘It would not be disadvantageous to the history of religion to draw attention here, to a religious revival that took place at this period [1793?], throughout the regions: y Gopa, Llanelli, Llansamlet, Ystradgynlais, and Creunant. It took stronger hold in the Llansamlet area than in other places. It is clear that the old Methodist ministers called more frequently at the latter place, and so the holy fire, namely the spirit of the revival, was kept more alive, and so its effects were more evident. About this time the famous Llwyd of Henllan, Caio, Carmarthenshire, came past this part of the county. It is said that he had a dewy ministry. He preached one Sabbath at Gopa in the morning, and at two o’clock in Llangyfelach village. The two meetings, the morning and afternoon, were wetted with a tender spiritual rain. The presence of the Spirit of the Lord as dew was evident to the people of Israel. But at six o’clock in Capel-y-Cwm, Llansamlet, the rain descended heavily, the influence became irresistible. Some scores were added in the places referred to to the people who used to worship and serve Jesus Christ. The greater part of them endured to the end, bearing testimony to the grace of God. They experienced the joy of the gospel until death.’ [Williams, Cofiant Hopkin Bevan, pp.32-3] ‘In the year 1792, [Hopkin] Bevan began ‘speaking’, but rather locally for some years; Llanelli, Loughor, Llansamlet, Ystradgynlais and Creunant were his only haunts. At this time, through the preaching of Mr. Llwyd, of Henllan, in Gopa Fach in the morning, from the Horse-Steps by Ty Tafarn uchaf in Llangyfelach in the afternoon, and in Llansamlet in the night, a powerful revival broke out and many were added to the churches, particularly in Llansamlet.’ [CCHMC ii. 46; cf. W. Samlet Williams, Hanes a Hynafiaethau Llansamlet, p.252] ‘The Lord visited Llansamlet several times with powerful revivals, through which many were added to the number of believers from time to time; and among them some of the most wicked and prodigal of the region. The old people remember particularly the revival of 1793; a year of lovely revival, and of great additions. At this time various men were brought to faith who were notorious for their ungodliness; men who it was as surprising to see amongst the believers as it was to see Saul amongst the prophets.’ [MC iii. 16, 17]. James Bowen writing to Thomas Charles from Castle Gorfod on 24th January 1795 says: ‘There is a sweet revival in the neighbourhood of Llansamlet which is near Swansea, and it continues very fine along Tivy side from New Castle down, tho’ I understand not so fresh in every place as it hath been last Summer; likewise in the Neighbourhoods of New Chapel [Capel Newydd, Pembrokeshire], Cleddey [now Milford Haven], Nevern, and Newport; It has been flattened in this neighbourhood and is at present a winter season on most of the Young People, nevertheless though this is the weather that I think we generally experience at this time, And though some have left us and joined other Denominations, and others have gone back into the World, yet, Eternal praises to God, such are few in comparison to those who have been hitherto kept; and there is seldom a society but we receive in one, sometimes more.’ [LTC ii. 147]

1797 Gopa Fach, Glamorganshire. ‘Our subject [Hopkin Bevan] visited the town of Bridgend, November 8th 1797. It is clear that he had not been so far from home before in the eastern region of the county... The attraction was the holding of the last Association of the year there. It is clear that various monthly meetings had been held there previous to this, but this was the first Association to be held there by the Methodists. Care was taken that the famous of the Connexion were there, those like instruments in the hand of the Spirit came with the fullness of blessing with them. There were clear signs of the presence of the Lord in the feast. The visit of the Association to Bridgend was a general revival to the cause of the Lord throughout the region near and far, not only among the Methodists but also among the other denominations. The Lord visited his people, distilling a gracious rain upon them... It was advantageous for the young preacher to come into contact with the old brother Thomas Dafydd, because this was the occasion of extending his circuit to the eastern part of the county. Hopkin Bevan gave an engagement to Thomas Dafydd of going to Salem, Pencoed for 9, Sabbath morning; Bridgend for 2, and Pyle in the evening. This was a long journey, but easy in comparison to many journeys in the midst of the country, through impossible ways. The Sabbath came and he went through his work very acceptably. He had planned to give a sermon the following Monday in Mynachlog, near Neath. He would occasionally preach in the place referred to because a cause had been established there with a view to forming a church there in the future. Evidently, that day had been appointed by the Authorities for holding a day of prayer and fasting throughout the land in general. He did not remember this when he arranged with the brethren of Neath for this purpose. He set off from Pyle very early, and arrived home, and went five miles further to Gopa by the afternoon to have a part in the meeting in humility before the Lord. It was as if the Lord had visited the land by way of judgment. He preached to them from the words of Psalm 75:8: “For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red: it is full of mixture, and he poureth out of the same,” &c. This meeting was a means of sobering many of the people of the area. There was rejoicing in the meeting till late. the people would not leave. Between the meeting that was held, and the visitation of the king of terrors—death the king of fears—to the land, through which deaths became frequent, the people were possessed with a very evident seriousness. There was a clear religious stir through the regions, and the effects continued for some years. A host of new members were added to the church at this time.’ [Williams, Cofiant Hopkin Bevan, pp.34-7]

‘At the end of 1797 a powerful revival started in Gopa Fach and Loughor... This revival broke out on a day of prayer and fasting appointed by the Authorities. It continued powerfully for two years, and over a hundred new members were added to the Gopa Fach society.’ [CCHMC ii. 45]

‘In 1795, on the 18th day of December, that dear brother Mr Griffith Morgans, of Glynhir, died at the age of 71. This was a very great loss in our view at Gopa Fach and neighbourhood, because great were his gifts and usefulness in the cause of religion and the Gospel. We had much succour of the light of the Lord’s countenance attending the work and cause in Gopa Fach in the following years, particularly in the private Society. After two years, at the end of 1797, a very strong and powerful revival began at Gopa Fach, and Loughor, and neighbouring regions. It had begun previously in some places in Carmarthenshire, about Llanddarog, and Pontyberem, and spread about Llandyfaelog, Kidwelly, and Llansaint, and many other places. With that tide my poor vessel went over the bar, as if to sea, speaking publicly, and starting to travel near and far with that fire. I remember being at the first Association at Bridgend, on the 8th and 9th of November in 1797, giving a Publication to that brother Thomas Dafydd of Llangrallo, of my coming to this region on the Sabbath of the 17th of December following, to be in Ewenny Saturday night, Salem for 9 on the Sabbath morning, at Oldcastle, Bridgend, for 2, and at Pyle in the night. When the time came, brother Gryffydd Gryffydd of Tynywaun, the Carmarthenshire side, a very faithful member of the Society at Gopa Fach, came with me that occasion. As we went I promised to speak at Neath Abbey on Monday at one o’clock as we returned home, and by the time we came home on Monday, a day of prayer and fasting had been appointed by the King and Government for the next day, and a meeting had been announced for 11 in the morning at Gopa Fach. On that day a revival started to break out in Gopa and the region. We were in the Chapel until late in the evening. We held a Society, and the people would not disperse and go home; several came to the Society that evening. The text I spoke from was Psalm 75:8: ‘For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red: it is full of mixture, and he poureth out of the same,’ &c. This revival through the neighbouring regions, and continued powerfully for two years, and in that revival over a hundred new members were added to the Society at Gopa Fach. Some of them have continued faithful, though many have backslidden, yet some of them have been restored, and are likely to continue faithful for the rest of their days.’ [Hopkin Bevan, Ychydig oHanes pp.9-10]

This information was kindly provided by Geraint Jones

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