Dolwyddelan (1819)

Revival reaches Dolwyddelan early 1819

Although Dolwyddelan is less than ten miles from Beddgelert as the crow flies, it was not until early 1819 that revival came there. However, the ground had been prepared some months beforehand. A visiting preacher[1]had exhorted the congregation to go from house to house through the village holding prayer meetings for revival. No one took any notice until they were reproved by an old woman who had been patiently waiting for the prayer meeting to be held in her house. It was decided that one group should begin at one end of the parish, and another at the other end, in the hope that before they had met, revival would have begun. At about this time two curious young lads from Dolwyddelan decided to go to Beddgelert in order to having some fun watching the people jumping. Their fun was interrupted, however, when they also came under the influence of the revival, and returned leaping and praising God themselves. One of them was Cadwaladr Owen, who became a powerful preacher. This was the means of the revival spreading to Dolwyddelan

[1]Usually held to be William Williams of Wern, (see for example HEAC, iii, pp. 310-11 footnote), but David Jones, Treborth, who was present at the meeting, says that it was William Havard. He was struck by the fact that he ‘was the biggest man that I had ever seen.’ D. Charles Evans, Adgofion am y diweddar Barchedig David Jones, Treborth, (Dolgellau, 1886), pp. 40-41. If it was William Havard, he had been at the Caernarfon Association at the end of September, and therefore may have visited Dolwyddelan about this time.

‘Before I rose on Monday morning the herdsman cried to me, he who had come from Dolyddelan that morning, ‘John I have news to tell you (inform you). A revival has broken out in Dolyddelan. Cadwaladr Owen, your cousin, was shouting that you had not heard such a thing. (not sure about this).The old people of Dolyddelan have never seen such a thing as last night.’ “I rose”, he said,” without delay and decided to go home at once. And home I went. They made a singing meeting a welcome for me the night that I came home. They were singing the Christmas anthem, and my brother William singing bass ; and whilst repeating (doubling, lit.) the word Saviour over and over , Cadwaladr Owen arose from the other side of the table and began shouting “I’ll say a Saviour to whom he is”, and to rejoice together they went. I went and William Owen (Cadwaladr Owen’s brother) to my uncle John Jones ‘the church’, to converse with him. About eleven o’ clock William Owen said to me “I’ll go to them to try and persuade them to quieten down, lest they should do an injury to themselves”. I went but a short time after him. But I could see William Owen with the flame having caught him also, and shouting as wildly as any of them. Within a few days after this John Jones joined with the church in Dolyddelan. It is said that it is once that John Jones lost control of himself and gave free reign (let loose)to rejoicing and he did that in a most remarkable manner. His brother, David Jones, had gone through the service of family worship remarkably effectively one evening. After the prayer John Jones stood on his feet behind the table, with his face towards the wall, and shouted out remarkably effectively and brokenly: “You thought, Satan, that you would have me, and in truth, I thought that myself. But, by now, I think that you will be disappointed: I think that you will never have me. Yes in truth. I think that the Lord Jesus is for me. (or I think that the Lord Jesus is around me / that I am clothed in the Lord Jesus). O thanks unto Him! O dear Jesus! “ Everyone through the house had gone to weeping, and his mother particularly, rejoicing particularly effective. One alone of John Jones’ brothers remained unconverted, namely Richard, who was staying at that time near Trefriw. He came home one Sabbath, when the revival was very fervent in Dolyddelan, and happened to swear in earshot of his brother John. John rebuked him with such severity that his words went to his heart. And when he came home again afterwards within a fortnight there could be seen evident (clear) signs in him of a great transformation. And the account of that which took place in Tanycastell, the home of John Jones, that Sabbath evening is one of the most heart-moving (lit., melting) that we have ever read. It is given like this in the Memoir of John Jones, tud. 68 & 69:- “But whilst going to bed one Sabbath evening, the floodgates open, there were two beds in the same loft, with John and Richard going to one, and William and David going to the other. There was a door leading to another loft, which was above the room where his mother usually slept. After the four brothers went together to the loft they went immediately to their knees. Within a short while William and David rose from their knees and saw John still on his knees with Richard placing his head by him in order to listen to him. Unbeknown, it is thought, to himself, John’s words became intelligible (comprehensible/understandable.) He was praying for his brother Richard, and the prayer was having a remarkable effect upon himself too. He began weeping and quaking, and writhing. In the end he rose up, and leapt with his whole energy along the two lofts, without saying a word. His brothers looked upon him somewhat in fear, since he appeared as a madman. At that his mother came up the stairs, having heard the dreadful uproar, as though the house was falling down, and as soon as she arrived, she said in excitement (commotion), ‘Boys, boys are you playing on Sunday night ?” since she knew that Richard had previously been quite inclined to playing and amusement. Richard heard the words of his mother, which struck directly on his prior conduct,- conducts that by then were a grief of heart to him. Soon he began to cry out, like a man totally confused, “Oh! what shall I do? what shall I do for my life? Oh, dear people! my life! my life! Oh what shall I do? my soul is lost!” Upon this his mother rushed up to him as quickly as she could (could not get there quickly enough, lit.), being overwhelmed (lit. overfull) with amazement and with joy. She took him in her arms and began to succour him (comfort). She was at this time far more able than any of the sons to direct a sinner under conviction, more familiar (learned, lit.) with the Scriptures, and in particular, far more experienced. She was at this time, as under inspiration of the important event, truly skilful in bringing forth verses from the word of God to uphold him from despairing, and she spoke sweetly concerning the suitability of the arrangement (order) of the gospel for the need of a sinner, and the willingness of the Lord to accept a penitent soul. She said to him in a joyful spirit (mood) , and very effectively- “ I feared greatly for you, my dear boy, but here are my prayers for you heard. Here are the old fervent prayers of your father being answered. I thought many times concerning the word that he said to me a little before he died, “You’ll see that the Lord will grant grace to my children; He has told me that He will do that.” Here are his words fulfilled. All are in the house of succour (care-not to sure of this) other than yourself: and I now have a strong confidence about yourself. Blessed, Blessed, be God. Oh! that I couldn’t love the Lord more fervently, and trust in him more completely. How can I praise him sufficiently? Praise the Lord with me. Who can be silent ?. Is there not cause to? “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead and is alive again: and was lost, and is found.” With such sayings she expressed (gave out, lit.) the intense and excited feelings of her heart. That night was a remarkable night. Mr David Jones testified that it is impossible to describe it and that he can never forget it. The older sister heard, who was married, and lived in the nearest house, beneath the same roof, the uproar, and rose the family from their beds, and they came up to the feast, which was like a feast on a high festival or a jubilee festival when the captives went free. The family was merry for hours, and they particularly delighted in the rejoicing of the mother, through hearing her blessing the Lord so fervently and eloquently. All this time John Jones and his two younger brothers were laughing and weeping alternately, and frequently combined together, and could not refrain from shouting Blessed quite often. His own brother was like this, it is thought, the first that the Rev. John Jones was a means of his conversion, and that before that he had thought, perhaps, particularly about offering himself for the ministry.’ (CJJ p.?; Evans, David Jones, Treborth, pp.26-8, 39-44; Griffith Owen, Cofiant y Parchedig Cadwaladr Owen, Dolyddelen, pp.105-11).

This information was kindly provided by Geraint Jones

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