In the spring of 1819 the revival had reached Llandovery. Many were added to the Calvinistic Methodists in the town. John Hughes notes as follows:
This was when the Revs Rees Phillips, and his brother Thomas Phillips, now of Hereford, experienced the influence of the truth, and submitted themselves to the yoke of Christ. There was a revival again about two years after the other, and before the first had completely died out. Many were added to the church through this revival also.
MC, ii, p. 454; also Thomas Phillips, ‘Adgofion, Hanesion, ac Awrgrymiadau’, Drysorfa, xl (1840), pp. 1-4. [Need to locate Biog. of Thomas Phillips for potential further details]
1827-30 Carmarthenshire Revival. General accounts: ‘The memorable revival which commenced in Caermarthenshire in the summer of 1828, and soon spread over the whole Principality, continued unabated to the close of the year 1830. We find in the “History of the Antipædobaptist Associations,” that 6,642 were added to the churches of that denomination during those years. That being by far the smallest of the three leading denominations, we may safely estimate the additions to the Independent and Calvinistic Methodist churches at 20,000; and if the increase of the Wesleyan Societies was proportionate, the churches of the four denominations had above 30,000 members added to them during the years 182830. Hundreds of those converted in this revival continue to this day to adorn their profession, and a large number of new interests then formed in different localities are lasting memorials of that gracious visitation.’ (HPNW p.429)
‘GOOD NEWS FROM WALES; OR, ACCOUNTS OF REVIVALS.
____ NO. I.
REVIVALS of religion being now happily the subject of so much inquiry among Christians, and forming so prominent a part of their prayers, I have great pleasure in communicating to you intelligence, which will, I am sure, gladden the heart of all those who long and pray for the prosperity of Zion. It is the substance of a letter which I have received from a gentleman in South Wales, who has taken considerable pains to collect the information with which he favours me, and on which you may place the fullest reliance as to authenticity and correctness.
With esteem, believe me, dear Sir,
Very sincerely yours,
Bristol, DAVID DAVIES.
Jan.10, 1829. About the commencement of the year 1828, a remarkable revival of religion manifested itself at a place called Caio, in the upper part of the county of Carmarthen, which soon spread itself to the adjoining congregations, of Kilcwyn, Pannau, Llansadwrn, Llansawel, Landovery, &c. In the course of the year, the addition of members to these and other congregations or churches in the same county, including a few on the borders of Breconshire, have been – to the Calvinistic Methodists, upwards of 1800; to the Independents, 1450; and to the Baptists, 445. The increased number of additions to the Independent churches is confined, in this statement, to the county of Carmarthen; but it adds, that their churches in the county of Brecon have also been highly favoured by an increase of members: how many, has not been ascertained. This revival continues, even to this day, to break out in other places in the above mentioned counties; and within the last two or three months, Glamorganshire, too, has partaken of the glorious outpouring; for in this short period, at a place called Morriston, in the neighbourhood of Swansea, 250 have joined the Calvinistic Methodists, and about an equal number have been united to the Independents. It is still extending powerfully and has lately visited Swansea, Neath, Lansamlet, and other places in that county. It is the Lord’s doing and is wonderful in their eyes.
Wales, at different periods, has had revivals, which have been the means, in the hand of the Almighty, to cause many a barren spot to teem with verdure, and the wilderness to blossom as the rose. In this revival, there has been considerably less of that violence of gesticulation or jumping, for which the poor Welsh have subjected themselves to the censure of their more quiet English brethren. Still, the silence of devotion has frequently been broken by the loud sighs of such as were under conviction, and by the psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, which would escape from others, even while the preacher was delivering his message, when the Holy Spirit showed them and made them feel, that there was a way of salvation, even to such sinful wretches as they now saw themselves to be. With all this, there is much weeping and praising God with uplifted hands.
In former revivals, frequent instances have been known of children being persecuted by their ungodly parents, or wives by their husbands, or husbands by their wives, for joining themselves to the Christian Societies; but now instances have occurred of young people, under the influence of convictions, having, by the advice of religious friends, asked their parents whether they would give their consent to their joining a Christian church; and they have cheerfully granted them leave with the tears gushing from their eyes, and grieving that they themselves were not similarly affected. Nothing is known as very particular or extraordinary preceding this wonderful visitation. Prayer meetings were regularly held in most of the favoured churches; generally early on the Sabbath, morning, and one night in the week besides, where many an earnest supplication was made to a throne of grace for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In these places great attention has also been paid to the Sunday-schools, where not only children have been taught to read, but young people, also, have been instructed in the doctrines of the Gospel. At these schools, catechisms on some of the most important doctrines and duties have been committed to memory by those who attended, together with large portions of the Holy Scriptures; and hundreds of psalms and chapters have been publicly repeated by them, either at the school, or as a substitute to the minister’s perusal of a chapter, at the commencement of public worship. These, however, are not held up as causes, but rather as signs or precursors, of the gracious intention of that Spirit who worketh how he pleases, when he pleases, and where he pleases. Is there not in this account an encouragement to Christians to give Jehovah no rest, until the whole of Britain, yea, the world at large, be filled with the knowledge of God? REV. SIR;
At a monthly meeting of the Independent or Congregational Ministers, lately held in this neighbourhood the subject of the late wonderful revivals of religion in our churches, and which, I am happy to say, is still in a great measure enjoyed amongst us, was brought under discussion. We have great reason to thank God for those refreshing showers; and we still hope for a more abundant harvest; an account of which, in the next Number of your useful miscellany, will much oblige us. Upwards of thirty-five churches of the Independent Denomination, in the eastern part of Carmarthen, and the adjoining parts of Glamorgan and Breconshire, have, during this year, been graciously visited, beyond common, by the divine influences and very copious effusions of the Holy Spirit. A moderate calculation has been made of the number of new members added to the above churches since February last, which amounts to upwards of three thousand hopeful converts; and seldom have we a society without reason for rejoicing at the happiness of new converts, and have as yet little or no occasion to lament the unhappiness of their walking unworthy of their profession. Several places of worship are now become too small by far to accommodate our increasing congregations. For several months previous, our Sunday-schools, and public and private meetings were numerous and very well attended; the style of preaching was generally pointed; our elders aimed at unanimity, and church discipline was not neglected. Many, in different stages and periods of life, particularly the rising generation, are brought to the knowledge of the truth and are promising to become useful in the Redeemer’s kingdom, in their day and generation.
We rejoice at observing, in the late Numbers of the “Evangelical Magazine,” that the Congregational Board have it in contemplation to set apart Good Friday for a day of fasting, and prayer for the more copious effusions of the Holy Spirit on the Church at large, with which we would most gladly coincide, and acquiesce with any future resolutions they may deem proper to adopt on that most important subject. We are happy in stating that similar revivals to those stated above, have likewise been enjoyed by many of our brethren, the Calvinistic Methodist and Baptist churches, in the same districts.
I now conclude, by subscribing myself,
Yours in the best of Causes,
Minister of Salem Chapel, Landovery.’
[The Evangelical Magazine, (1829), pp. 69-70]
Account given in the journal of William Griffiths, Apostle of the Gower:
14 Sab. This afternoon I returned from Builth Association after a fortnight’s absence – I preached in my way up at Ynysfach, Bontneδfechan, Ystradfellte, Brecon – remained at Builth two days and preached the last evening before Mr Charles which closed the whole of this association – All the meetings, private & public were attended with a Divine unction – the public meeting at 6 o clock the second morning was the most lively as it regarded the common feelings of the people – at the close of this they broke out all over the chapel in one voice of praying & rejoicing –
On my way home I preached at Merthyr Cynnog, Llanfihangel, Pentrefelin, Llandilo, Trecastle, Llandovery, Kilcwm, Pantycelyn (Mr Williams’s funeral) Cayo, Llansawel, Talley, Llansadwrn, Llangadock, Llandilo, Hendre, County canover [???] – in all the above places (except the two last & Pentrefelin & Trecastle) there is, just now a wonderful revival going forward, which spreads wider & wider every week, and has reached many other places that I could not visit – It is much like a great river overflowing all its banks, or a mighty cloud full of rain & the shower falling more general & copious, than any thing ever remembered before in those parts – It first began in Cayo & Kilcwm, but is now spread to more than 20 different societies, and over more than 40 miles of the country between Carmarthenshire & Breconshire – most all these societies have received very large additions of new members, since the commencement of it about 4 months ago – by a rough calculation from one of our preachers, I understood that the number between all the societies, already amounts to about 2500 – It is also in some districts as powerful with other denominations – the whole country where this is going on is wonderfully altered, – the people appear serious, with a degree of solemn cheerfulness & meekness, wherever you meet them – The children are converted by scores – & are anxious themselves to attend all the means of grace – hundreds of them weep under the word – most of the young people of both sexes have joined the societies & are very tender hearted, few of them can hear a sermon to the end without being overpowered with their feelings – many of the old professors have been wonderfully refreshed – & most of the places have very frequently of late been filled with shouts of praise for hours together –’ [NLW William Griffiths MS 3 (Journal for Sept. 1827 - July 1829)]
This information was kindly provided by Geraint Jones
Would you please contact us if you know where these meetings took place?