Cylchgronau Cymru

Chwiliwch trwy dros 450 o deitlau a 1.2 miliwn o dudalennau

when one considers the great amount of money spent in the restorations and rebuildings we can appreciate that for this to have happened while the deanery was steadily being milked of its substance by Chichester must have involved a tremendous effort on the part of clergy and laymen. Local gentry were very generous, especially the Pryse family of Gogerddan: the Powells of Nanteos less so, perhaps: they insisted on the full market price when negotiating the transfer of the land to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for the third St. Michael's. But the bulk of the money in the outlying parishes came by voluntary subscriptions, by grants from the Church Building Society, and from the profits of various fund- raising community actions. After 1856 the raising of Church rates was no longer attempted in the deanery.30 A few figures will show what was happening. In the deanery as a whole between 1840 and 1876 a total of £ 19,660 had been spent on church building and restoration, and of this sum no less than £ 19,170 had been raised by voluntary subscription, £ 285 from the Church Building Society and £ 200 (at Llancynfelyn) by a church rate (in 1834?).31 So, this poor county accomplished what was virtually a complete rebuilding and restoration programme out of its own resources, and when we consider the enormous amplitude of nonconformist places of worship going up at the same time, or themselves being rebuilt and restored, it will sufficiently be understood that my original claim about the religiosity of the county holds good. The fact that two of the new churches were virtually erected, furnished and partially endowed by private families does not affect the argument. Llangorwen and Elerch were wholly untypical in their origin and style. They were certainly deeply untypical of the prevailing theological climate of the deanery. The Rev. Owain Jones has argued in his book on Isaac Williams and in his articles on Tractarianism that there was little that was accidental in the location here of these tractarian churches, but that, on the contrary, there existed a powerful tradition, albeit confined to a few families, of High Churchmanship dating from the Jacobitism of the early eighteenth century.32 The evidence he adduces is not entirely convincing. A study of the Visitation returns for the whole century indicates that by the early nineteenth century at least (returns of 1807) institutions such as monthly communions, more than one service per Sunday, week-day services, and services (sometimes with communion) on the main festivals were pretty common. This reflected not a High Church tradition but a strong evangelical one and was probably as much a response to Methodistical demands for the regularity of the sacrament as an inbred High churchmanship. Moreover, what on the surface appear to be Tractarian innovations on deeper reflection turn out to be unconscious survivals from the Roman Catholic past. It is necessary always to remember that religious development always produces its own forms of social competition, and there is no doubt that this provided a powerful motivation in the reconstruction move- ment. I have illustrated this theme from the history of the rebuilding of the second St. Michael's, and there is no need to amplify here.33 Nor should one forget that once the physical presence of the Williamses and Gilbertsons had been removed