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1735-1770 AD

1735: HYWEL HARRIS CONVERTS TO METHODISM
Because of his tireless work on behalf of his new-found faith and his zeal in converting others, Harris has been given the title of "father of Methodism in Wales." He worked closely with other religious enthusiasts such as Daniel Rowland, William Williams, Peter Williams and the English evangelist John Wesley.



1740: GRIFFITH JONES' "WELCH PIETY"
In publishing his "Welsh Piety", Griffith Jones stressed the need for the people of Wales to be able to read the Scriptures for themselves. Married to the sister of John Philips (one of the founders of SPCK), Jones helped set up schools in almost every parish in Wales. Evening classes were also set up for laborers and farm workers. These "circulating schools" became one of the great success stories in the long history of the country, acquainting much of the population with the literary language of the Bible and making Wales one of the most literate countries in Europe. Professor John Davies points out that Empress Catherine of Russia commissioned reports on the schools in Wales in 1764 as did UNESCO in 1955.



1751: THE HONOURABLE SOCIETY OF THE CYMMRODORION FOUNDED
There is a Welsh expression that translates as "the best Welshman is one who lives outside Wales." In the middle of the 18th century, most of the advocates of Welsh nationhood lived in London where the Cymmrodorion was founded by Richard Morris after the travels of such writers as Daniel Defoe and Samuel Johnson had toured Wales and stirred up interest in all things Celtic. Morris saw the need for an organization that could give the Welsh people a strong voice in the social and cultural affairs of the British nation The appetites of the London Welsh were also whetted after the unfortunate forgeries of James Macpherson's "Songs of Ossian" with what results we shall see later.



1760: JOHN GUEST ARRIVES AT DOWLAIS
An industrial enterprise begun in 1748 at Dowlais, near Merthyr, came under the directorship of John Guest (husband of Lady Llanover) in 1761 and within a few years was producing over 5,000 tons of iron a year. It was the beginning of Merthyr's phenomenal growth as one of the leading iron manufacturing centers of the world. Another industrialist, Anthony Bacon, built a road from Merthyr to Cardiff in 1867. When Bacon's works at Cyfartha came into the possession of Richard Crawshay in 1794, a dynasty was established that lasted well into this century.



1761: JOHN WILKINSON COMES TO BERSHAM
Bersham, a small village near Wrexham in Clwyd, holds special importance for economic historians, for not only did it house the workshops of the skilled Davies Brothers, it was one of the cradles of the Industrial Revolution. This is the place where British iron making began in 1670, where smelting iron ore with coke began in 1721, and where John "Iron-Mad" Wilkinson set up shop in 1761. For many years the area was one of the most important iron manufacturing centers in the world. The Bersham Industrial Center tells the story of the man who bored cannon for the American War of Independence and cylinders for James Watts' revolutionary steam engine that changed the face of the modern world.



1762: "CANIADAU Y RHAI SYDD AR Y MOR O WYDR" PUBLISHED
William Williams' collection of hymns, translated as "Songs of Those that are on the Sea of Glass", is a collection of 130 hymns that constitute the great classical body of Welsh hymnody by one of its greatest writers. William Williams' "Pantycelyn" was converted by Hwyel Harris and through his hymnologies helped give the fledgling Methodist Movement a firm literary base. Perhaps his most well-known hymn is "Guide me, O thou Great Jehovah" (usually sung in Wales to the tune "Cwm Rhondda". Williams inspired many of his contemporaries, including Dafydd Jones, who translated many of the hymns of Isaac Watts, David Williams of "Ebenezer" fame, Peter Jones and David Charles (brother of Thomas) who wrote the stirring hymn "Llef".



1763: GORONWY OWEN'S WORK PUBLISHED
The drunken escapades and profligacy of the lifestyle of Goronwy Owen, who emigrated to take up a teaching post at William and Mary College in Virginia in 1757 read like the history of an early Dylan Thomas. Yet, like his 12th century counterpart, the earlier poet left behind some outstanding works of literature.

Before emigrating, Owen had taken upon himself the task of reviving Welsh poetry by writing his awdlau and cywyddau in the manner of the classical poets, notably Horace. He also planned a Welsh epic in the style of Milton, the composition of which occupied many 19th century Welsh poets greatly influenced by the form and content of Owen's work. Much of Owen's poetry was published in the anthology "Diddanwch Teuluaidd" in 1763 and again in 1817. A plaque installed by the NWAF at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg commemorates the memory of this brilliant, if eccentric literary figure who spend the last years of his life as tobacco planter and a vicar in St. Andrew's Parish, Virginia.



1764: "SOME SPECIMENS OF THE POETRY OF THE ANCIENT WELSH BARDS"
Evan Evans published this result of his tireless research into the ancient manuscripts. He was also responsible for the preservation of so many priceless medieval Welsh literary works such as "The Red Book of Hergest" that alerted the literary world to the glories of much hitherto-unknown Welsh literature. It was Evans (Ieuan Brydydd Hir) who discovered and published the work of Taliesin and "Y Gododdin" of Aneirin.



1768: COPPER ORE MINED AT MYNYDD PARYS, ANGLESSEY
The copper industry, begun at Holywell in Flintshire around 1750, could now use Welsh ore mined at Parys Mountain. Huge copper works were built first at Holywell in the North and then at Swansea in the South (by Thomas Williams), leading to an industry that controlled half the world's production by the end of the century. In the hinterland of Swansea, the Tawe Valley's hell-like appearance marked its position as the leading copper producer in Britain if not the entire world.



1770: THE PETER WILLIAMS BIBLE
The very first edition of the Welsh Bible to be printed in Wales was that of Peter Williams at Carmarthen in 1770 by John Ross. Popular throughout the 19th century, and reprinted many times, it had pride of place in most Welsh homes where it became a standard possession (for his translation of the Bible, Williams was excommunicated for heresy in 1791).



1770: THE GWYNEDDIGION IN LONDON FOUNDED
The Gwyneddigion was founded by two prominent Welshmen in London, Edward Jones and Edward Williams (Iolo Morgannwg) with aims similar to that of the Cymmrodorion. It is to stone-mason Williams that we owe the elaborate ceremonies of the modern eisteddfod, for he invented many "traditions" he felt belonged to such an ancient Celtic race such as the Welsh, and who had either lost them or who had not enjoyed them in the first place.

  

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