Robert Roberts' Chapel (1785)

The Chapel has been destroyed. The memorial reads 'Robert Roberts 1762-1802. Servant of the Lord. The most powerful preacher of his age and the first pastor of the Calvinistic Methodists in Capel Uchaf.

1793 Capel Uchaf, Clynog, Caernarfonshire. ‘Though the religious cause in this way had rooted deeper in the affections of the people, and its subjects increased from time to time, yet not much of its influence had reached the people in general. The ungodliness of the region was high and branchy [brigog]. The Sabbaths were polluted by the young people thronging together to perform foolish games and vain feats, without anyone ‘thinking of their end.’ But the few believers were not idle, zealous for the spiritual benefit of the careless people. Their support [nawddfryd] gave birth to unusual means at that time, namely opening a night school for the young people to read the Bible. We have hardly any account of what success there was to these meetings. We can easily understand that their subjects at first at least were very wild/savage/cruel, and their teachers, probably rather clumsy, and unskilled enough, yet their aim was correct, and the Lord blessed their labour. At the end of one of these meetings, after one of the brethren had prayed, a verse was given out to be sung, and this was the verse, –

Like intense flames of fire

Is the love of my Beloved always;

He burned up every obstacle before him,

He altogether drank up the river:

He wrestled/took hold of in a man below,

He brought it and the Godhead as one;

The distance that was between them was great,

He filled it with his own merit. Having given out the verse, there was no one among the old people to strike up a tune for it, though they all sought to do so. At this one of the young people attempted to make up the want, and succeeded. This created a desire in some of the young people to help him, so that the singing then was more powerful than usual. There was a delight in the singing, and in the words; and they repeated the singing over and over, for quite a while. After a while some began crying out, and the same feeling travelled through the congregation, so that all, young and old, were crying out. The sound was heard in the neighbouring houses and the inhabitants came out to see what could possibly be the cause; this made some afraid to go in, but they ran back to tell the news to the neighbouring houses. It was now getting on for midnight; – they said that there was something very wonderful in the chapel: this raised more of a stir than ever, and all that could leave their houses went to the chapel: and they were possessed by the same spirit. One old man went there on his stick, and with the power of the stirring he was snatched to the same appearance and started praising with all his might, even though nothing serious had ever been on his mind before. By this time it was about one o’clock in the morning, and the chapel full of terror and commotion, the like as had not been seen in the region before.’ [MC ii. 162-3; HMA i. 24]

This information was kindly provided by Geraint Jones

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