Penywern Chapel - Dowlais (1904)

Remarkable Meetings. 
Windows Smashed for Fresh Air. 

The Revival enthusiasm at Dowlais has reached a high pitch, and yesterday the people of the district attended in large numbers the services held in the majority of the chapels. Penywern Chapel in the afternoon was crowded to excess, and outside in the grounds surrounding the building was a huge congregation worshipping in its own way while the service was being carried on inside. Soon after my arrival (writes our special correspondent) a local school-mistress was heard in fervent prayer. 

At Penywern Chapel, the pre-meeting worship was led by a local schoolmistress who reported that already: ‘Even the children were filled with the Spirit and when at school would sing and pray the moment the teachers’ backs were turned.’ When Evan Roberts arrived and stood to speak to the meeting, he was frequently interrupted by outbursts of spontaneous praying, men, women, boys and girls praying passionately in Welsh and in English.

While this was proceeding Mr Evan Roberts arrived, accompanied by the Rev. D. Mardy Davies*, Pontycymmer, and they were shortly afterwards followed by Miss Annie Davies (Maesteg), and her sister (Miss Maggie Davies), and Miss Mary Davies (Gorseinon)**. Taking for his text the prayer for the spreading of the Gospel over the whole world, Mr Roberts began his address with a question: "Do you wish that to take place?" "Yes!" answered several persons. Well, he went on, the question was: Were they prepared to do something to help the work? It was true that they felt some of the "fire" in Wales in these days, but they must bear in mind that it was only a "hearth," although warm just now, The Divine fire must burn still brighter, for there were many lukewarm churches. 

* Note: David Mardy Davies was the Calvinistic Methodist minister of Pontycymmer, near Bridgend, one of the first places Evan Roberts visited on his first Revival tour of South Wales. By the time he got to Pontycymmer, the revivalist realised he needed help with managing the invitations he was receiving from all quarters as word got about what had happened at Loughor, and Mardy Davies offered to be his bookings secretary - an arduous task indeed!

** Note: Three of the 'sweet singers' who accompanied Evan Roberts. Annie Davies was probably the best known of these, being the one who introduced as a solo to the tune 'Britain's Lament' the great 'Love Song of the Revival', 'Dyma gariad fel y moroedd' ('Here is love').

While this address was being delivered the sound of singing and praying from outside could be heard, and when the evangelist had continued for some time, pointing out the need for earnestness and obedience to the Holy Spirit, there occurred an outburst of simultaneous ard spontaneous prayers such has seldom been witnessed even in connection with the most fervent of the great revival meetings. Men and women, boys and girls, prayed eloquently and passionately in all parts of the chapel, in Welsh and English, but, as might have been anticipated, Welsh predominated, in so far as any language could be distinguished, for at times the scenes and the sounds were beyond the possibility of description. The most remarkable, perhaps, of the prayers was that of a young woman, whose intense passion carried away the whole meeting for a while. There was a merging of this "fiery" prayer into the singing of "Dyma gariad fel y moroedd."*

* Note: In this instance, it is likely that the congregation sang this great hymn of the Revival to the tune 'Ton y Botel' - a very different tune to the one which is usually used these days, particularly in the English-speaking world.

Mr Evan Roberts, speaking alternately in Welsh and English, said there was no need for anyone to go out of the meeting without a blessing. If they asked in prayer for God's blessing they would receive it. He went further and added that, although they liked to see friends from a distance coming to these meetings - and although they rejoiced to find that the Gospel was sufficiently attractive to draw people from distant parts to the services - still, it must not be forgotten that if they went on their knees at home and asked God for it they would have the meeting, and, perhaps, a better blessing, than by coming to Wales to attend these meetings. As to an English address by him, he could only say that it was not often that he was led to speak in the English language. Some people asked God to make him (the speaker) speak English, and he was then obliged to comply because such people went to headquarters. The question which suggested itself in connection with their religion was what effect was brought about by it. The meeting was afterwards tested, and a number of converts were enrolled, but the great majority of those present were evidently members of Christian Churches.


'Evening Express', 25th January 1905

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