Capel-y-Nant (1780-1831)

1780 Nant, Lleyn. ‘The Methodist cause in Saethon-bach was very small for many years before the chapel was built, namely Capel y Nant. But though in a very low condition, the Head of the church cared for her; and at times the Spirit of God descended in mighty power to ‘trouble the waters,’ so that often one would go from there healed of their affliction. About the year 1780, a very powerful revival broke out in this place, when this moribund cause was wonderfully revived,—it was such a lovely spring after a bare winter. The number of hearers increased, and the number of the disciples, so that they began to say anew, ‘The place is too strait for us: give place to us that we may dwell.’ And they asked in amazement, ‘Who hath brought up these? Behold, we were left alone; these, where have they come from?’ And there was no better answer to give than this, ‘Behold, the Lord God lifted up his hand to the Gentiles, and set up his standard to the people,’ Isaiah 49:20-22.’ [MC ii. 174] The need for a house of worship arose, and in 1782 Capel y Nant was built. [MC ii. 174; see also Goronwy P. Owen, Meth. Llyn ac Eif. p.85-7] Possibly GC Ionawr 1827

Began on Lleyn Peninsula

‘Though this revival is called the ‘Beddgelert Revival,’ yet strictly it did not start there. Dr Owen Thomas refers to this in his excellent sermon on ‘Religious Revivals’ at the Pont Menai Association in the year 1874. The place this revival started was in capel y Nant, Lleyn. Religion had been remarkably low in that region for long time; the religious were few in number; the hearers very hard, and the young proverbially wild and unmindful. Some were awake and pained in their souls because of the state of religion in the place, and because of the ineffectualness of all the means of grace. This made an uncommon impression on the mind of one of the elders, who was also superintendent of the Sunday School at the time. Though the name of this man is not given, yet we are fairly sure in our mind that he was Hugh Williams, the Factory, who was a notable man of prominence, powerful, and godly-minded, and who died suddenly in the prime of life. It made such an impression on the mind of this man, that he brought the matter before the church sometime during the summer of the year 1816. He asked everyone who was connected with the church to set aside a particular time each day to ask the Lord to visit them by his Spirit, and that saving power would attend all their means of grace; and he also said, in the next church meeting everyone would be asked if them had done so. In the next meeting, it was found that all bar one had done so. Also, all had been convicted that this was from the Lord and that they would not keep crying to him long, without having an answer to their prayers. It was also found out that the same thing had fallen even on the children of the church, and the children of the Sabbath School, and that they also had prayer-meetings to pray for the same thing.’ (DCC pp.253-4; cf. MC ii. 175)

‘It appears that the public meeting is generally held in this place at two o’clock on the Sabbath afternoon, and the school in the evening. This order was the occasion of a great many of the children remaining around the chapel, without going home after the two o’clock meeting; and as can be expected, no small disorder occurred among them each Sabbath. It happened, however, about the beginning of summer that one of the boys, who would have been as bad as any of his contemporaries, used to now separate himself from the others, and lock himself in the gallery of the chapel, as soon as the congregation left the afternoon sermon. He did this, as he revealed afterwards, because the polluting of the Sabbath had become painful to him; and that he now likes to have quiet from the tumult of others. This boy was lame, and he could not, therefore, go home and return in time for the school, because it was a long way for him. He was not many Sabbaths alone in the gallery before his contemporaries understood this; and if their noise and tumult was great before, it was now much greater, for they wanted to get in through the windows, or by some other means. It was allowed, however, for some to come to him; firstly, a little girl obtained this by her importunity, with the certain promise that she would not worry him at all. [‘It is said this girl was the daughter of the elder referred to, Catherine Hughes, by name, Murpoeth, Mynytho, after this, and her son lives in that place now, namely Mr John Evans.’ Henry Hughes DCC p.255] Two others gained access after a Sabbath or two, on the same conditions. Now, the earnest pleadings of the others for entrance, admitted a large number one by one, having assuredly promised that they would not be a nuisance to anyone. No one outside knew what was going on inside, but those who enjoyed the advantage of being received, by those who had been received inside, they bound tightly to their gathering, and they would not though they lost anything. Gradually, by the size of their desire, they resolved to come together an evening in the middle of the week, on a given furzy slope in the neighbourhood;—a place well-known to them, like a secret and separate plain, where they would not be seen or heard by anyone. What was the secret occupation undertaken by these young people. What indeed, but to pray earnestly for that which the older people publicly prayed for. These prayer meetings started about the time the little girl was allowed to go to the lame boy in the chapel gallery, and it appears that a measure of the same spirituality descended on each one as they went in to them.

‘The spirit of prayer had possessed the religious, and some of them used to pray through the entire night. Mention is made particularly of one widow, the daughter of one of the earliest Methodists in Lleyn, Robert Owen, Lonfudr;— and for sure this woman many nights wrestled with God in prayer, for her own cause, her family, and her neighbours. She had a wild and prodigal boy, who had left his valley, and gone to Anglesey to work. The widow heard only infrequently from him, and this from inquiring of others. His mother had not forgotten him, but she wrestled much with God for him. But during her prayers, she understood that a change had taken place in the standing of her boy; what the change was she did not know; she thought that he had either died, or he had by grace returned to God. A minister from Anglesey came to the region to preach, for a little while, by whom the widow was informed that her wild boy had been received into the communion of the church of God, for such and such at a time; which period corresponded to the feeling she had had in her prayers...

‘All the unruliness of the children had by this time disappeared, and prayer taken its place. At the beginning of the year 1817, signs appeared that these earnest prayers had come in remembrance before God. It appeared that the ministry possessed greater ardour, and walked with greater power. The young girl who first went to the lame boy in the chapel gallery broke out crying and rejoicing first of all; after this four others were added to her. After a fortnight a crowd of 15 to 20, and not many weeks passed before there were 80, some of every age, under the same excitement. Now, the influence of this revival had reached almost all in the valley. All labour and commerce had slowed down due to the power of the visitation. Some for days and nights on end were unable to eat or sleep, because of the depth of their conviction. Some refrained from all the means [of grace], for fear that they too would be taken with the same conviction; others went to the means to ridicule, swearing that they would keep clear of such madness. But no one was safe. On some the excitement fell in the middle of the night whilst in their beds; and on some as they were travelling, and on others in the fields. These powerful influences were frequently, like the plague, through the valley. No one was safe from being attacked by this saving disease! It fell on a servant of Nanhoron, the mansion of a gentleman in the neighbourhood, when he was cleaning out the horses in the stable. He broke out shouting so loudly, that fear possessed those inside the mansion, and outside. Having gone out with a team of horses to the field the next day, the influences took hold in the youths there again, and they fell to the earth on their knees pleading for their lives, and in this form they continued, until the team had been loose until midday. The gentleman himself did not show such disregard for them, but the reverse; in a word, the kind of fear had possessed plebeian and gentry at the time so that none dare move his tongue against them. The only family that showed hatred towards the visitation was the family of the vicar of Llanengan. They came to the old gentleman, to demand that he throw out the servant, and to use his influence to put an end to the rejoicing. But the answer the gentleman gave was, ‘I will not; I would rather hear that he prays than curse the horses, as he used to do.’ (MC ii. 175-7) [Henry Hughes adds ‘Colonel Richard Edwards was the name of this gentleman, who was prudent man, remarkably kind and unprejudiced against the Nonconformists, as that family has been for many ages, and the young man who is now there is his great-grandson.’ (DCC p. 257)] (for Hugh Williams see Trysorfa iii. Ionawr 1821, p.254, and Drys. 1908, pp.19-20).

Account of revival given at Monthly Meeting in Jan. 1817 (Owen Thomas ‘Adfywiad Crefyddol’, Drys. 1874, p.247). 1831Cwmcoryn ‘In the month of November, in that year, 1832 [1831], the most powerful revival that was seen in the last sixty years broke out... The revival broke out in Cwmcoryn when we were not expecting it. Thomas Pritchard, y Nant, had been announced as preaching there one evening. He was not known as a remarkable revivalist. But he never came to fulfill the engagement, and therefore a prayer meeting was held, when something so powerful descended which resulted in rejoicing throughout the place, the majority of whom were old members, and some who were not members. And Hugh Jones, Corsyceiliau, was one of this last class— a young man about 18 years old. And though he had little knowledge or care for the gospel, he was so pricked in his heart that he cried out several times, which cries went to the heart of all in the place. He was like a wild bull caught in a net, and for a while he was like one half out of his mind. He turned out a good Christian, and was chosen when he was only a very young man as an elder in Cwmcoryn, which office he served faithfully whilst he was there, and subsequently in Babell. There was another young man, about the same age as the previous, who was also a hard young man, who rarely went to the Sunday School. One time Cadwaladr Owen was preaching there at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, one weekday, from the words “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” The young man listened, and was sat opposite him, and in the middle he began to blush, and shortly afterwards gave a piercing cry as if he had been stabbed in the heart. Had he experienced the powers of the world to come? The following week he went to the seiat, and related his experience, trembling and repentant. And by the efforts of the friends there, he was led to the only place of rest for the soul, that is Jesus Christ. He began to learn the Bible and treasure it in his memory, and buy good books to read, so that he grew in grace beyond the expectation of all. He would pray with consistency and feeling, and tell his experience more often than usual, and that with zest and effect. He was not content to let a prayer meeting or church meeting go by without taking part in it... He continued like this for about two years, when there came a whisper that the lad was not keeping his path as he should. That turned out too true, and to the disappointment of us all, he gave himself up to base practices, and perform every sin with greediness. After two years he returned, and with seven spirits worse than himself. The conviction of the two lads were so alike, and yet they turned out so unalike in their lives. This will remain unexplained until the day God judges the secrets of men. The little church grew from 17 to 60 in a few weeks. The despised became a great nation in comparison. About half the new converts would rejoice, and the other half would be sober and quiet. Not as much was thought of these at the time, as of the others, yet they went on rooting themselves in the faith, while many of the others fell away and backslid, so that it could be said, “the last shall be first, and first shall be last.” Many times I desired to experience these heavenly feelings myself, which produced the rejoicing, but not even once was my request granted.’ ([Robert Hughes], Hunan-Gofiant ynghyda Phregethau a Barddoniaeth y Diweddar Barch. Robert Hughes, (Robin Goch), Uwchlaw’rffynon, Pwllheli, 1893, pp.33-5; NB errors with respect to dates, see DCC p.334)

Evan Williams, Morfa Nefyn started preaching in this revival (sources???; see DCC p.335) John Jones, the jumper, Staylittle, Montgomeryshire (Sources???; see DCC p.342-3) Ioan Jones, Rhuthyn converted in this revival (sources???; see DCC p.343) John Jones, Talsarn traveling & preaching during the revival (CJJ pp.214-221) Other information (DCC p.334-5)




We were supplied with the following account by a friend, who had gathered it together on his journey through that region, at the end of March 1832.

The following Revivals are mostly in Lleyn and Eifionydd.

Llanystundwy.—The Revival started in this place on the day of the Sabbath School Jubilee, October 14, 1831. To the private society who profess godliness in this place were added . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Pentreuchaf.—The Revival started here thus: A young girl, by contemplating on her bed, began to vex herself because she judged that she had quenched the Holy Spirit, and disregarded the word of God. These considerations spread like wildfire through the whole region. There were added to the church . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Llanystundwy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Y GyfyngPennant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Garn Dolbenmaen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Bron y Gadair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

Bwlch Derwen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Pencoed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Four Crosses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Yr Efail newydd 3—Bodruan 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Llithfaen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60

Cwn Corin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Dydweiliog 30—Garnfadren 20 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

Rhyd bach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Clynog Uchaf 25—Isaf 20 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45

Dinas 12, and many children . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12


The total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 513

Edeyrn, scores of children-Nefin, 100 children.

Many additions in Pwllhely, Capel y Nant, Ty mawr, Llanllyfni, &c. from the places no account was obtained. This makes more than six hundred.

In Pont y Cim, there was there a boy especially wicked, and very hard. When the family were going to the church meeting, one of them had to remain home, in order to be with him constantly and mind him. But when the Revival began among the children, no one stayed home with him, and so he had to go to the chapel as well. He went there and sat by the door; and when the children started singing and rejoicing, he hung his head and wept. Then he was heard beginning to give thanks that it was not too late to save an old sinner like him. Then he began singing:

Ar Galfaria, rhwng y lladron, On Calvary, between the thieves,

Y gorphenwyd agor ffynnon, An open fountain was finished,

I olchi’n llwyr y rhai aflana’: To wash completely the uncleanest:

Pwy a wyr na olchir finna’. Who knows that I may not be washed also.’ (translated from Y Drysorfa ii. (1832), pp.140-41)

This information was kindly provided by Geraint Jones

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