Howell Harris' Community (1752)

In 1752 The old house was taken down and the new building erected.

For a long time Harris had been impressed by Professor Francke’s Pietistic Institutions in Halle, Germany. Resolving to create a similar institution, he pulled his house down at Trefeca in 1752 and then built another that had seven rooms on the ground floor, seven on the first and three attics. This building would house members of the ‘Family’ and by the following Whitsun he had 29 people in his community. As the activities increased more buildings were added. John Wesley visited in 1763 and wrote, “Howel Harris’ house is one of the most elegant places which I have seen in Wales. The little chapel, and all things round about it are finished in an uncommon taste; and the gardens, orchards, fish-ponds, and the mount adjoining, make the place a little paradise…. About six score people are now in the Family; all diligent, all constantly employed, all fearing God and working righteousness.” Major additions were made in 1769. Some of Harris’ disciples rented farms nearby so that they could be close to him.

All members of the Family were expected to put all their resources at the disposal of the Community and to work at their trade. By 1759 as many as sixty different trades were being carried on in the settlement. Harris taught two or three times a day and preached publicly on Sunday. Some blind and disabled people found refuge there. When Harris started this work he was very sick and thought he was going to die, but he slowly recovered. He spent his mornings in prayer, reading and meditation and in the afternoon he interviewed people and inspected the work that was going on.