Howel Harris was born at Trefeca, in Brecon in 1714. He went to various schools; the last one was in 1724 at Llwyn Llwyd, near Hay, where he stayed until soon after his father died in 1731. He was a school-master until 1735. Harris liked to record how sinful he was as a boy, but it is likely that this was an exaggeration and that he was a normal boy with the sins a growing lad had in those days. On March 30th 1735 Holy Spirit got hold of him. He was listening to his vicar in Llangasty Tal-y-llyn church, who was talking about receiving the Sacraments, “if you are not fit to come to the Lord’s Table, you are not fit to live, nor fit to die.” This persuaded him to take things more seriously. Harris tried to reform, but he found he could not do it in his own strength. He wrote in his journal, which he kept as a record of his life for use after his death: “One day in prayer I felt a strong impression on my mind to give myself to God as I was, and to leave all to follow Him. But presently felt a strong opposition to it, backed with reasons, that if I would give myself to the Lord, I should lose my liberty, and then would not be my own, or in my own power; but after a great conflict for some time, I was made willing to bid adieu to all things temporal, and chose the Lord for my portion. I believe I was then effectually called to be a follower of the Lamb.”
On Whit Sunday he realised that he had been accepted by God, then on June 18th he experienced a manifestation of God’s presence. “Being in secret prayer, I felt suddenly my heart melting within me like wax before the fire with love to God my Saviour; and also felt not only love, peace etc., but longing to be dissolved, and to be with Christ. Then was a cry in my inmost soul, which I was totally unacquainted with before, Abba, Father! Abba, Father! I could not help calling God my Father; I knew that I was His child; and that He loved me and heard me. My soul being filled and satiated, crying, ‘Tis enough, I am satisfied. Give me strength and I will follow Thee through fire and water.’”
The Church was rebuilt in 1843.