Llanengan (1813)

1813 Ty Mawr, Lleyn, and other places:

Letter from R-----t J----s, T------n, September 15, 1813.

The Lord has done something wonderful in our country in less than a year, there have been added to the church, between the two chapels of Clynog, over 130.—and in Llanllyfni about 90.—between Pen y graig and Ty Mawr, about 100, and as many in other places in the country. The Sabbath schools abound with scholars, and schoolmasters, many of which are diligent and faithful.’ [Robert Jones, Rhoslan (Ty Bwlcyn at the time), letter 15/9/1813 in Trysorfa ii, pp.520-1, cf. LTC iii. 488]

‘1813 . . . There was great success to the work this year in our land; many were added to the Churches in various districts, particularly Llanllyfni, Clynog, Penygraig, Tymawr, Llanengan, Garn, Pwllheli, &c. About 30 were added to us in Penymount, and till now they are still keeping at it. December 25th, 1813.’ [Jones, Cofiant Michael Roberts, p.26] ‘There was a young man’ he says, ‘under twenty years of age, called Richard Hughes, a cobbler by calling, who was faithful unto death, which took place in Pwllheli some years ago, united to the religious cause, and very zealous for the school. He lived at Frondeg, with Evan Griffith, and Ellin his wife; and he took up the task when the old man was failing. There were no believers, apart from himself, who came to the school – he himself began and ended the school, and all the old believers stood at a distance. He had persuaded a few of the irreligious men who were able to read a little to become teachers; but not so much as one of them made a profession of religion except he himself! He began to keep teachers’ meetings with them. Having dealt with the circumstantial things concerning school, he would shortly begin to turn the conversation around to what they had read and the sermons they had listened to, so that their hearts burned within them, and the Spirit of the Lord worked together; and it was soon understood that there had been a great change in their manner of hearing and behaviour. The teachers’ meeting soon came to be thought of as a sort of private experience meeting, and for a long while afterwards they were considered as a sort of first step to religious profession, and no one of immoral life was suffered to be a teacher, and a member of these meetings. Up to this time there was nothing evident to be seen, only more of a spirit of hearing, and a greater earnestness in the appearance of the people: no one had newly sought for a place in the church. Thus were things for some time; but on a certain Sabbath at two o’clock, Mr Richard Williams, Brynengan, was preaching, and such a powerful influence fell, that the whole congregation melted: strong men as if they had let themselves go, sighing and weeping, though there was no breaking out rejoicing; and indeed, they could not, because they were under Sinai, in sight of the smoke and fire. Never was there more proof of the ‘excellency of the power of God’ [text?] and not of the instrument than on this occasion. There was nothing in the talents of the preacher at that time to draw attention, though he was a faithful, useful, godly man according to his attainments; yet he was rather despised. But id men despised the meanness of the instrument, not so his great Master; and so it appeared on that occasion in an especial manner, that his mission was known by he himself [?]. The next week a large congregation came to seek a place in Zion, and the majority of them men of age. The fellowship would be held at eleven o’clock in the morning on a day in the middle of the week, and not often would any be absent, though many of them came from miles distant. Soon afterwards great rejoicing broke out, which continued for many months; and the fellowship increased each week. Whole evenings were spent in the chapel, and along the roads, rejoicing, singing hymns, and indeed occasionally a sister would fair leap like the lame man at the gate of the temple after he was healed. When some of the congregation would leave, at the head of a path or at a crossroads prayer meetings would be held – the first at Rhyd-y-cynwr, another at Sarn-fellteyrn and one or two others before the furthest ones left on their way to Tre-faesydd; and others in the same manner on the crossroad, towards Bryncroes, y Rhiw, and Rhoshirwaun. Sometimes the preacher would scarce read his text, as it was with the late Rev. Thomas Jones of Llanpumpsaint. His companion had quiet before/preceding him; but as soon as Mr Jones arose and began to make some sweet and striking observations by way of introduction, a great shout broke out and he sat down without trying to say anything more; and there was rejoicing for hours. Sometimes it would clean continue from one meeting to another, or from one chapel to another. I remember that my father was once at it from Tymawr all the way home – about two miles away – and at home a long time at his supper, sometimes eating something, and sometimes rejoicing; and not stopping having gone to bed. O happy/dear days!! They were almost all adults/men of age – not children. There were only two boys among them – the writer, who at the time was nine years of age, and one other. Sometimes completely ungodly men were convicted by themselves, at their work in the middle of the fields. One ungodly youth, a servant in a farm, was breaking a load of gorse to grind it for the horses, as was the custom in that country, and he came to the house without the load of gorse, crying out for mercy, so that his cry was heard across the whole countryside, though he had given no consideration to religious things before. Those whose houses were far away would come to the school in the morning with food in their pockets in order to stay for the afternoon sermon, or to the sermon to stay for the prayer meeting in the evening. The time was used in each reading a verse and explaining it as best they could, or to read out loud Gurnall’s book, which book was always on the table in the loft or vestry, which had been given by some benefactors for the service of the chapel so to use. Almost all the inhabitants of Bryncroes and Mellteyrn, and part of the parishes of Penllech, Llangwnadl, Llaniestyn, and Rhiw, went to Tymawr at that time. Doubtless not everything at that time is to be praised; yea, there were many things connected with that revival that made many a one say ‘They are full of new wine’; but I have not seen, and I have seen many things too, one so free of the sad things that attributed to them in religious revivals as that revival in Tymawr, in 1811. It effects were more enduring, and fewer turned back, as a fruit of the revival was behind the Methodist cause in Tymawr for years afterwards. They are almost all gone now – only a few remain that have not been removed by death, and the Lord of the vineyard hurry its like again!’ [Parch. W Rowlands, Y Geiniogwerth, Ionawr 1851, pp.6-11 (NB Rowlands gives date of Ty Mawr revival as 1811. RJ & MR are united in 1813 being the date)]

This information was kindly provided by Geraint Jones

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