Cymdeithas Dydd yr Arglwydd yng Nghymru
"HWN YW Y SANCTAIDD DDYDD"

The Fellowship of the Lords Day in Wales
"THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD GAVE US"


 

ADNODDAU / RESOURCES

 

The Visit of Mr Evan Roberts of Anglesey - June and July 1905

 One can claim without fear of contradiction that Evan Roberts appreciated greatly his visit to Anglesey in May 1905 to the beginning of July 1905.  By the time he arrived in Anglesey in the middle of May he had been able to regain his strength physically, mentally and spiritually in Capel Currig after a difficult, confrontational crusade which he had experienced on Merseyside.  Evan Roberts had stayed at the Royal Hotel, Capel Currig for nearly a whole month, from 19 April until 16 May 1905.  His unofficial agent and right hand man, Reverend Dr John Williams, minister of Princes Road Presbyterian Church of Wales, Liverpool was in charge of him on Merseyside and in Anglesey, and while he was around the young minister from Loughor did not have to worry at all. 

By the time he arrived in Anglesey in May 1905 Evan Roberts was one of the undoubted celebrities in the religious life of Wales.  People flocked from every village and town to see and hear him, in particular evangelical Protestants came from all over Britain, from the continent of Europe and from the United States of America as well as scores of journalists.  The young miner, 26 year of age, had made Wales a one vast chapel with people flocking to meetings to praise God and to pray for forgiveness and new life in Christ.  There were all kinds of additions on sale to propagate his unique ministry and Evan Roberts made a great use of the press.  He welcomed the journalists, many of them were of his generation.  Roberts told them during his visit to Anglesey 

The Scriptures say that some people who wished to approach Jesus Christ were unable to do so on account of the press.  Thing have changed since then, and now the press is a great help to bring people to Jesus. 

The Presbyterian Church of Wales Book Agency in Caernarfon produced a badge with the revivalist photograph on it while a Liverpool firm, C Glasstone of 145 Smithdown Road, Liverpool sold a poster of him for a shilling, and hundreds of them had been placed in the windows of houses and shops in the city of Liverpool during his evangelistic visit in April and early May. 

Roberts on his visit to Anglesey was coming to a county which had experienced countless revivals.  In the eighteenth century, there had been a revival in Aberffraw in 1777, in Brynsiencyn in 1794, throughout Anglesey in 1822, in Newborough in 1840, and then the 1859 and 1850 Revival as well as the Richard D Owen Revival of 1884 and 1885.  Only 20 years had passed since the revival of Richard Owen.  A contemporary of Owen, Reverend John Pritchard of Amlwch described him vividly: 

            Richard Owen was a strange man!  Yes, he was a really strange man.

 One could utter exactly the same words for Evan John Roberts.  They were strange preachers, but remember that Richard Owen, the vehicle of God in 1884-85, had changed the spiritual atmosphere and the religious expectation of most of the Nonconformist chapels of the island of Anglesey. 

The revivalist spirit was extremely important in the Nonconformist structure of the county, and in particular in the attitude and the ethos of the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists (later known as the Presbyterian Church of Wales).  This was reinforced from time to time.  When D L Moody and Ira Sankey, the revivalists from the United States of America, came to Liverpool in 1874, a wealthy Nonconformist family of Menai Bridge and later Treborth, near Bangor ensured that the ministers of religion of every denomination in Anglesey were allowed to visit the crusade and to experience God's power in the preaching and the praise.  Evan Roberts had another advantage, and that was, a great affection amongst the chapel members of Anglesey for the visitation of exciting, unique preachers from south Wales.  They were given a warm welcome.  Preachers such as Dr Cynddylan Jones, a Calvinistic divine, Reverend W E Prytherch of Swansea who had an unforgettable service at the Association held in the village of Brynsiencyn in 1894.  One has to mention the Reverend Joseph Jenkins, New Quay, the spiritual father of the 1904-05 Revival, and his visits to Holyhead, Llangefni and especially Amlwch.  Over 60 were converted under his ministry at Amlwch and they became members of Bethesda Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel.  The same phenomenon was experienced in Moriah Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel in Llangefni through the ministry of the Reverend Joseph Jenkins and the young ladies from his home chapel in New Quay, Cardiganshire who travelled with him.  The Revival gathered pace and the impact was felt all over the island, from Llanfairpwllgwyngyll to Llangristiolus, from Llanerchymedd to Pentraeth.

 The desire to have the physical presence of Evan Roberts amongst them dominated everything.  One of the most persistent ministers, who desired to see him in Anglesey, was the Reverend Hugh Williams of Amlwch.  He had already come under the influence of Joseph Jenkins in the prayer meetings in Llaethdy Bach, Amlwch.  Hugh Williams decided to travel to South Wales to invite Evan Roberts to Anglesey.  The enthusiastic evangelist W Llewelyn Lloyd decided to come with him.  He had as a Presbyterian student visited the mining valleys of Glamorganshire and a few weeks earlier he had heard Evan Roberts in Llansamlet.  The journey from Anglesey to Cardiff, then to the Rhondda, and eventually to Nantymoel are worth narrating and they were joined by two others from the Calvinistic Methodist camp of Anglesey, namely John Williams and John Evans both of Holyhead.  Then their meeting with Evan Roberts in Nantymoel and his succinct message to the chapels of Anglesey, Remember the Blood of Calvary.  The verdict of Hugh Williams was this 

Without doubt, he is one of the most spiritual men Wales ever saw, even Europe, in a long time.

It is a verdict worth pondering on from a person who had been a divinity student in Germany and later accepted a Doctorate in Theology from Princeton University in the USA.  The ad hoc deputation from Anglesey had a promise, but Reverend John Williams of Liverpool had sent a letter to the Anglesey Presbytery to emphasise 

That they should prepare for the coming of Mr Roberts, that is, by approaching those who neglected the services of the chapels, especially in the towns.

A message was sent from the monthly meeting of the Presbyterians held in Amlwch to all the Districts in the county to invite them to co-operate as Chapels with other Christians from the Nonconformist denominations.  As Anglesey was regarded as a large Calvinistic Methodist Chapel the brothers and sisters belonging to the Baptists, Wesleyan Methodists, Independents had no choice but to co-operate.  The Calvinistic Methodists were responsible for the arrangements as well as for the expenses incurred, though Evan Roberts did not expect anything only his board and lodging.  The Tyst (Witness) the national Newspaper of the Welsh Independent denomination was quite critical through the highly entertaining articles of the Reverend R P Williams, Holyhead and a brother, we must remember of Henry Williams, Tynlleiniau, Presbyterian elder in Tynymaen.  When R P Williams in his sermons arose to a crescendo, Henry Williams would stand up in his home chapel of Tynymaen and loudly proclaim, 'Well done, Robert, carry on.' 

On 16 May 1905 the revivalist Evan Roberts left his hotel at Capel Currig and travelled by train from the picturesque village of Betws-y-Coed to Rhos-goch on Anglesey, where a pony and a trap awaited to take him to his affluent lodgings at the Wylfa Mansion near Cemaes, the second home of the recently deceased Liverpool Welsh builder and Presbyterian elder, David Hughes who was the father-in-law of John Williams.  He received a warm welcome, hundreds of people waited patiently to have a glimpse of him as he travelled the narrow road to the Wylfa.  He looked like a prince, acknowledging the presence of the ordinary people, and he raised his hands as the welcome of the spectators was heard all over the countryside.  The long expected Mr Evan Roberts had arrived and he would have at least another fortnight rest before starting on his campaign.  

It opened in the Calvinistic Methodist Chapel at Amlwch on Tuesday evening 6 June.  Two of his helpers from south Wales, Annie Davies from Maesteg and his own young sister Mary Roberts had arrived on Monday afternoon and were staying in the home of the Reverend Richard Matthews.  They had an excellent meeting to open the campaign.  The singing was exceptional, and though the service began at 4.30 in the afternoon, Evan Roberts and his team did not arrive till 7.00 o'clock.  The revivalist spoke effectively on the need for praying at home in accordance with the advice of Jesus.  The meeting was tested by one of Evan Roberts' loyal lieutenants, Reverend Thomas Charles Williams of Menai Bridge.  Very few of the congregation were not members of a chapel or a church.  

The following day, Wednesday, 7 June the second meeting was held in Amlwch.  Evan Roberts spoke of his conversion and enthused the large congregation.   Hymns were sung with gusto, Mary Roberts read from the Gospel of Luke, the Parable of the Prodigal Son, and the Reverend John Williams, Liverpool tested the meeting.  It was a glorious meeting according to the Liverpool Welsh minister.  Then the congregation was invited to recite the Lord's Prayer in both languages.  Thursday, 8 June was a memorable day, it was the birthday of Evan Roberts.  He was 27 years of age, and he received a large number of birthday cards and a number of visitors from Scotland and England.  He gave part of the address he had given on the Divinity and Humanity of Jesus which he had earlier given in Sun Hall, Kensington in Liverpool.  They had 12 converts in this meeting. 

Friday 9 June was the turn of the village of Cemaes, Anglesey to hear Evan Roberts.  The service was to be held at Bethesda Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel.  But they had to change the arrangements and move to the open air, an entirely new and difficult decision.  The journalists estimated a crowd of 4,000 people at Cemaes.  Young people were in complete control of the meeting, praying fervently, and one commentator mentioned that a large percentage of them were farm workers.  Evan Roberts mentioned that he had received a telegram from the secretary of the well-known American evangelists, Alexander and Torry from their headquarters in Bristol inviting him to address a Conference of Missionaries in Jerusalem during the first week of August 1905.  Roberts answered 

Thank you very much for the invitation.  I cannot accept it.  Let the divine fire descend of the Conference.

The following day was a Saturday and Evan Roberts was on another journey this time from Cemaes to Caernarfon to meet with the Liberal politician, David Lloyd George who was going to address a Conference on the vexed question of education.  But in every railway station from Cemaes to Caernarfon he was recognised.  With him was Reverend John Williams and the sympathetic journalist Gwilym Hughes.  This was a strange meeting, between the political hero of Wales and the religious hero of Wales.  They had a brief conversation after they had shaken hands, and as a final farewell, Lloyd George uttered these words in Welsh 

Chwifio'r cledd yw fy ngwaith i, ond eich gwaith chwi yw adeiladu'r Deml.

(Waving the sword in my work, but your work is to build the Temple.)

On the Sunday the revivalist efforts were concentrated on a small town in the heart of Anglesey known as Llanerchymedd but affectionately known in literary circles as the Athens of Wales.  The local Calvinistic Methodist Chapel opened its doors at 8.30 in the morning.  It was a large chapel seating at least eleven hundred;  and within an hour the temple was full.  The local well loved minister, Reverend Richard Thomas presided and a number of young women were prominent in the devotional aspect as well as the singing and the prayers.  There were people present from all over Wales, from Glasgow, different parts of England as well as France.  One of the young people said in Welsh

Os oeddynt hwy yn methu deall ei gilydd yn siarad, y gallai Duw ddeall pob iaith

(If they cannot understand each other speaking, God could understand every language.)

At 10 o'clock Evan Roberts arrived with his sister Mary and Annie Davies in a carriage from Wylfa.  The revivalist presented an inspiring speech on the need to move all the barriers in the way of the Spirit.  One has to forgive he said.  It was a waste of time to come to a service if we could not forgive each other.  He tested the morning service with the question in Welsh 

A oes yna rywrai yn y dorf fawr yma yn dymuno rhoi ei hun i'r Gwaredwr?

(Is there someone in this large congregation who would like to give themselves completely to the Saviour?)

Only one responded.  Evan Roberts began another address on a verse from the Gospel of John, I am the way, the truth and the life.  He tested the meeting the second time but on this occasion no one responded. 

The evening meetings were to be held in the chapel of the New Hall as well as in the Welsh Baptist Chapel.  A similar service was held as in the morning but this time there were charismatic manifestations exhibited.  A number of individuals responded and yielded completely and the young revivalist expressed his joy at seeing the hard hearted accepting salvation.  The congregation exhibited their enthusiasm by waving their handkerchiefs in an ecstatic manner.  Hundreds upon hundreds of them. 

It augured well for the Monday gathering at Llanerchymedd.  On Monday 12 June people flocked from every part of Anglesey and hundreds upon hundreds crossed the suspension bridge from Caernarfonshire, and Denbighshire.  Tickets had been prepared for the Monday meeting but the local people went for them.  There was not even one ticket left for the visitors who came in the unbearable heat.  Many of the local people were persuaded to sell their tickets for half a crown each.  But within an hour the most grasping amongst them had sold tickets for seven shillings and sixpence each and two for a pound.  When Evan Roberts heard that the entrance tickets were being sold at an exorbitant price, he put a stop to the greedy individuals by stating that the service was to be held in the open air.  Not everyone agreed with this, but a writer who called himself the Minister of Pentre Gwyn (White Village) in his column in the Welsh language newspaper Yr Herald Cymreig (The Welsh Herald) was all in favour of the decision taken by Evan Roberts. 

It was quite ridiculous to squash the crowds into tight and overbearing chapels, when the climate of summer allows everyone to meet together on the field or on the sea shore.

Evan Roberts arrived by 6 o'clock to see a large congregation.  We know that he did not like open air meetings as it was nearly impossible to keep such a crowd under control.  It was also a strain on the vocal chords in an age without a microphone.  The revivalist gave a fiery address on the subject of the importance of missionary work at home and abroad.  He confessed 

I am afraid that I have made a mistake by coming to Anglesey.  You are mostly chapel members, and perhaps I could have done better work in Glamorganshire amongst the thousands who are not members of any chapel.  Pray for them. 

On Tuesday 13 June, large crowds flocked towards Elim Chapel in the rural village of Llanddeusant.  It was a beautiful summer day and the glorious singing of the revival pilgrims could be heard in the open air.  A downpour of rain dispersed the crowd for fifteen minutes but the meeting was eventually held in the open air.  The verdict of Evan Roberts on the meeting in Llanddeusant was endearing 

Yr wyf wedi gweled mwy o Dduw yn y cyfarfod hwn nag yn yr un cyfarfod ym Mn.

(I have seen more of God in this meeting than any other that has been held up till now in Anglesey.) 

They moved on Thursday 15 June to the village of Gwalchmai;  a village that had produced in the nineteenth century a large number of powerful preachers.  The weather was still pleasant and the meeting was held on Pendref field where so many of north Wales Association preaching meetings had been held over the years.  Everything seemed splendid for a local hero, Reverend Thomas Williams presided.  He gave his own charisma on the meeting and Evan Roberts was extremely relaxed as he listened to a pulpit giant putting the large crowd at ease.  A wonderful response was experienced and the crowd grew between 5 and 6 o'clock as those returning from the market in Llangefni joined the worshippers.  At the end of the meeting Evan Roberts went to Pencraig to see Mrs Mary Williams, the mother of Thomas Williams and the widow of Peter Williams, a pig driver, and a great admirer of the Reverend Edward Mathews of the Vale of Glamorganshire, a delightful original preacher of great distinction.  Evan Roberts sang to Mrs Williams, 'What a friend we have in Jesus'. 

The following day Evan Roberts was expected in the hamlet of Bryndu, a mile from the railway station of Tŷ Croes, and the turn out was even better than in Gwalchmai.  It was reckoned that five thousand people had come to Bryndu, and amongst them four Protestant ministers from Germany.  There was a meeting for two hours before Evan Roberts arrived with his assistants, Sidney Evans, Sam Jenkins, Annie Davies, Mary Roberts, May John and Llewelyn Lloyd.  Roberts did not address the large congregation but sought converts and he was soon successful.  But he was reluctant to cease from his evangelisation. 

There are other Welsh people somewhere in this crowd ready to accept the gospel.  No one has asked him to accept the invitations.  Will he put his hand up.

Another individual accepted immediately and he was caressed by those around him as if he had won an award to a local agricultural show or in an eisteddfod.  The Bryndu service had ended on a positive note. 

On Saturday 17 June David Lloyd George had invited Evan Roberts and John Williams (Brynsiencyn and Liverpool) to spend a relaxing day in his territory of Eifionydd.  But Evan Roberts was accompanied on the train journey by hundreds of his admirers and they flocked in to the carriages at Caernarfon and Pwllheli.  Another train full of his admirers was on its way from Barmouth and south Merionethshire but because of problems on the railway it arrived half an hour late at Criccieth.  The town of Criccieth was full of his admirers, they lined the road from the station to Garthcelyn, the home of William George, the brother of the politician.  The Lloyd George family was expecting him as well as three local ministers.  They were the guests for dinger.  By 2 o'clock thousands had arrived in the town and they were extremely upset that Evan Roberts had stayed at Garthcelyn rather than on his feet imploring on sinners to seek salvation.  A deputation was sent by the Free Church Council to plead on him to hold a short service and avoid disappointing those who had travelled a great distance.  He refused as he wanted to go and see the birthplace of the nineteenth century preacher, John Elias of Anglesey in the parish of Abererch, just outside Pwllheli.  Just after 2 o'clock he was in the carriage, with the Lloyd George family and they were greeted at every village such as Llanystumdwy and Chwilog.  A wreath of beautiful roses was thrown to him by an old lady in Fourcrosses and after seeing Cynllwyn Bach (the birthplace of John Elias) they had tea in Fourcrosses the local temperance and trade union activist, D R Daniel, a proud supporter of Lloyd George.  Evan Roberts and John Williams caught the train at Chwilog for Anglesey, as his crusade was to be at Llangefni on the Sunday, the morning service at the John Elias Memorial Chapel of Moriah.  It was a rainy day but the people flocked to Llangefni.  The door of Moriah opened at 8.30 and one had to show an entrance ticket.  The congregation was soon moved by the extraordinary powerful Welsh Wesleyan Methodist evangelist, Reverend Hugh Hughes of Bethesda.  He said the truth that they as a congregation expected too much from God's servant, Evan Roberts 

            Diolch amdano, ond rhaid cofio fod un mwy nag ef yno.          

(We are grateful for him, but one has to remember that there is one who is greater than him in our midst, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ). 

Evan Roberts did not arrive till 10.30.  He was staying at Gwalchmai.  He rose to his feet and asked one question after another for at least ten minutes.  It was a service not to be forgotten, the solos, the prayers, the singing and the strange expression on the face of Evan Roberts.  He shivered as a reed.  John Williams of Liverpool made the comment, 'that it would be a service we will remember for eternity.' 

In the afternoon prayer meetings were held in the chapels of the Baptist, Independent denominations, in Moriah and its recently opened sister chapel of Ln y Felin (The Path of the Mill) as well as in the Town Hall.  Moriah was opened again for 4.30 and soon it was overflowing while another service was held at the Town Hall under the direction of W Llewelyn Lloyd.  It was quarter to seven when Evan Roberts began his address, rebuking the congregation in his tears for being reluctant to enjoy the word simple.  Within a few minutes after he had completed his address the whole congregation erupted and the worshippers relished the opportunity to praise God.  It was indeed an enthusiastic gathering.

 On Monday an open air meeting was held on Dinas field with around five thousand gathered.  He did not speak but he was in deep meditation.  Around him was a huge Prayer Meeting with individuals praying and expressing their thanksgiving sincerely to God.  Under the capable hands of the extremely interested new minister of Moriah, Reverend J H Williams, the service became a glorious charismatic meeting.  Llangefni had not seen a similar gathering for years.  Scores of women of every age fainted in their enthusiasm, other cried and others expressed their deep feelings by uttering over and over again the sentence in Welsh, 'Iesu Grist am byth'  (Jesus Christ for ever.)  For most of this week Evan Roberts would be ministering in the seaport of Holyhead.  And on Tuesday, 20 June the meeting was to be held on a piece of ground called Ucheldref (The Hightown) which had witnessed similar services throughout the nineteenth century.  Evan Roberts had been invited to stay at the Manse of Hyfrydle Welsh Presbyterian Chapel in Barcer Hill.  The minister, Reverend John Williams had moved out so that Evan Roberts could have more room, and it was left to the Reverend R R Hughes to welcome him on behalf of the family.  He was unable to get Evan Roberts to eat or drink before the evening service in Holyhead.  It was a windy night and five thousand people had gathered in the open air, and as Reverend R P Williams said 

Roedd pawb yn cymeryd diddordeb yn Mr Evan Roberts, beth bynnag oedd eu diddordeb yn y Diwygiad.

(Everyone took an interest in Mr Evan Roberts, whatever their interest in the Revival.) 

Evan Roberts arrived at Ucheldre by 6.30 but he was not his usual pleasant self.  He began to criticise the listeners because they were so reluctant to respond to God's Spirit.  Only ten responded and the rain came to dampen the meeting.  Indeed the meeting came to an end in an outpouring of rain.  But a large section of the young people had no intention of going home.  These were the young people who filled Hyfrydle Welsh Presbyterian Chapel and had a prayer meeting for an hour and a half to end a day of spirituality.   

On Wednesday Holyhead witnessed another large meeting, but Evan Roberts was still annoyed.  He was dissatisfied with the large number of prayers, for they only needed a few earnest ones rather than a thousand.  He wondered if the Holy Spirit behaved differently in Holyhead on Wednesday to what happened in nearby Llangefni on Monday night.  But it was obvious that at least a thousand people, that is one out of every five people in the crowd could not understand the Welsh language they were mostly English and Irish folk as well as a number of visitors from the continent of Europe, from France, Germany and the Netherlands.  Evan Roberts was extremely reluctant to speak in English, the occasional phrase now and again.  The unforgettable Hugh Hughes, the fiery evangelist of Bethesda, went to the rostrum and his voice could be heard throughout the area.  At the end of the meeting the young people filled two large chapels, Hyfrydle and Tabernacl, without the presence of the revivalist.

Thursday night another meeting in Holyhead.  It was a lifeless, disappointing meeting according to the Reverend R P Williams though there was a large gathering.  The tongue of Evan Roberts had been tied by the Lord as the congregation were not willing to respond to the will of Almighty God.  Only 13 responded to Christ that night. 

On the Friday the largest crowd seen in Holyhead during the revival came to praise and pray.  It became a memorable service.  The cry of Evan Roberts was the cry he had uttered at Blaenannerch in south Cardiganshire in September 1904.  Listening to Seth Joshua's address he fell on his knees, his face streaming with sweat, and took up a phrase uttered by Joshua 'Bend me Lord.'  Evan Roberts cried at Holyhead:  Plyg nhw, O Dduw, plyg nhw. (Bend them, O Lord, bend them.)  The congregation was utterly conquered and thousands danced with joy.  The testimony of the level headed R R Hughes was this 

Ni ellid gweld y gwynt, ond gwyddid ei fod yno wrth weld yr ŷd yn plygu o'i flaen.  Ac fe ellid gweld effeithiau rhyw ddylanwad anweledig yn cerdded dros y dorf ar faes Ucheldref.

(One could not see the wind, but one knew it was there when they saw the corn bending before it.  And one could see the effect of an invisible influence moving amongst the crowd on the field Ucheldref.) 

Three different things were noticed in this service 

1)         Evan Roberts for the first time in Anglesey coming to the platform on his own.  Sam Jenkins had been expected but he did not come to the platform. 

2)         The complex character of the revivalist.  On the one hand he was extremely serious and on the other he was full of joy when evangelising.  His prayer had been a miracle of grace.  No one had heard anything like it in Holyhead. 

3)         The large crowd had been overwhelmed by joy and a great deal of the profession of faith.  Hats were thrown into the air like the hat belonging to the elder from the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel of Ebeneser, Kingsland, John Moses and handkerchiefs were waved in glory. 

The crusade moved that weekend to the Menai straits and the Lord's Day services were to be held in Brynsiencyn.  On Sunday morning the field was full of horse carriages, at least 700 of them.  Both services were to be held in the open air.  The June sun came out and the Anglesey police had prepared pails of cold water as well as drinking utensils for the thirsty pilgrims.  Evan Roberts introduced the same theme throughout the day obedience of the believer and activities of the disciples of Jesus.  The evening service that attracted a larger gathering, reckoned to be around four thousand strong.  Ten individuals responded to the invitation to accept Christ but many were unable to come to the throne of grace.  The Brynsiencyn evening service came to an end with a fervent prayer and the thousands reciting after him in Welsh the sentence Achub y gwrthodwyr er mwyn Iesu Grist (Save those who refuse for the sake of Jesus Christ.) 

The following day June 26 the revivalist took part for the first time ever in a Sasiwn (Association) of his own denomination, the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists to be held at Llangefni.  This Sasiwn became known as Sasiwn y Golomen (The Association of the Dove).  In the afternoon with Evan Roberts present in the large crowd a dove stood above the preacher, Reverend Thomas Charles Williams as he preached on the Three Crosses situated at Calvary.  The bird became a symbol of the heavenly dove, and a proof of God's blessing on the revival.  The crowds were flocking again by 5.30 to hear another Anglesey born preacher, Reverend John Williams, Princess Road, Liverpool preaching on the unusual theme that God could raise from these stones children to Abraham.  Evan Roberts expressed in public appreciation of the ministry of his most dedicated supporter in north Wales, and he was in good form, full of joy for a glorious service with the famous preacher of Brynsiencyn in dazzling form. 

The Tuesday evening meeting was in Beaumaris Castle and boats and carriages came throughout the afternoon to the medieval town.  They opened the gates at 4 o'clock, and the proceedings were in the hands of ministers of the Wesleyan Methodist Church though the Reverend J H Hoyt was allowed to address the crowd.  He had travelled from Canada to the meeting to see God at work in Evan Roberts.  Another minister, Reverend Farrier Hume of Bristol who became a great friend of Evan Roberts prayed in English with feeling on the God who was in existence before the Castle had been built to reveal himself in power. John Williams of Liverpool who has close connections with the town and who had tremendous talents it was Evan Roberts, without any educational attainments, was the chief attraction.  When he spoke there was perfect silence.  The crowd was thrilled by his message, one of his most enthralling he had delivered in Anglesey on the theme of Christian Unity.  It was a service to remember. 

On Wednesday night they had another meeting in Beaumaris Castle.  In the afternoon, some of the local dignitaries had intended to take Evan Roberts to enjoy the countryside in the carriage of the Mayor of Beaumaris, Hugh Thomas, the local medical director, Dr Thomas and Dr Lewis Hughes from Dowlais.  But they failed due to the curiosity of the crowd, he had to escape to his lodging house through the back entrance.  In the service at the castle Tegfan Roberts, a notable soloist, kept the large crowd entranced as they waited the coming of the young revivalist.  It was quite late for him arriving and he sat on the platform for half and hour without a word.  After the contribution of John Williams, the revivalist stood and apologised for being late in arriving.  But there was a purpose behind it.  He did not want to exhibit himself but rather praise Almighty God amongst his people.  The climax of the persuasion and the invitation was to hear the accent of an American, a minister from Boston, New England praying for forgiveness for himself and his fellow pilgrims who had crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the revival in Anglesey.  His cry was answered before the end of the meeting. 

On his way to catch the steamer at Beaumares on Thursday afternoon Evan Roberts was given a bunch of flowers by a young lad with his cap in his hand.  The meetings in Menai Bridge were to be held in a field on the outskirts of the town.  Large crowds came to the meetings, at least nine to ten thousand at the first of the three meetings.  But the converts were again few. 

On Saturday afternoon one had an entirely new experience, an opportunity to visit the Parish Church at Llanddona by 1.30.  The local vicar, Reverend Peter Jones had invited Evan Roberts week before to come to his Church and Parish.  The vicar presented a devotional address which made a lasting impact.  Evan Roberts responded.  The meeting at Llanddona was a meeting of deep conviction with enthusiastic praise to crown the dignified Anglican service. 

The second meeting in Menai Bridge was again in the open air though it was a cold and wet evening.  On the platform sat Mrs Annie Davies, the widow of Richard Davies (1818-96), local MP for Anglesey from 1868 to 1886.  She was the daughter of the extraordinary Liverpool Welsh preacher, Henry Rees, the brother of William Rees (Gwilym Hiraethog).  The climax of the evening were the solos sung by Sam Jenkins. 

On the Lord's Day, the meeting was centred on Tabernacle Welsh Calvinistic Chapel in Benllech, a chapel which seated 800.  By 9 o'clock in the morning the chapel was full.  Even Roberts was at his best, and gave a large number of memorable sentences.  The testing was in the hands of W Llewelyn Lloyd.  Annie Davies sang the hymn of Gwilym Hiraethog Dyma gariad fel y moroedd... (Love is like the oceans...) In the opinion of many Nonconformists this was free church worship at its best. 

The evening service was to be in the open air, and Evan Roberts spoke on wisdom and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.  He said 

Mae yr Ysbryd Gln gyda ni.  Nid oes eisiau i ni weddo am iddo ddyfod.  Geilw yr Ysbryd yn barhaus, geilw ar bawb.  Dyma'r perygl peidio gwrando ar y llais.

(There is no need for us to pray for it to come.  The Spirit calls on us continually, it calls on everyone.  This is the danger refusing to listen to the voice.) 

The mission in Anglesey was slowly coming to an end, and after Tabernacl Tynygongl, they moved for the last meeting on Monday 3 July 1905 to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll.  This was also an open air meeting in a field behind the Rhos-y-Gad Presbyterian Church of Wales Chapel.  A large platform had been prepared.  The minister of Rhos-y-Gad, Reverend W J Williams presided and with him on the platform were a large number of well-known ministers from Anglesey and Caernarfonshire.  Evan Roberts started crying during his address when he said 

            Diolch am gael fy narostwng i gael mynd yn isel.

            (I am grateful for having been humbled.) 

The crowd could not stand such self-examination, the service became an opportunity for prayers, continual expressions of faith, a time of great glory.  According to a correspondent from Yr Herald Cymreig this was the most remarkable service of the whole Anglesey campaign.  A large number responded. 

The following day 4 July 1905 Evan Roberts left Anglesey after a successful crusade to a large meeting in Caernarfon to be held in the early afternoon.  One has to ask what was the impact of this crusade in the island of Anglesey.  One can suggest a number of observations 

1)         The Temperance Movement

The revival gave a substantial boost to the movement, and in Llanfair PG, for example, all the public houses except one ceased to exist. 

2)         The Chapels and their spiritual witness

The revival gave a boost to every denomination.  What it did above all was to nurture people to pray in the prayer meetings.  Thomas Charles Williams had warned his denomination in a large gathering at Liverpool  on Whit Monday 1900 of the scarcity of praying members in the churches.  But he expressed his joy that the situation had changed when he introduced a document on the spiritual history of the chapels on behalf of Anglesey Presbytery to an Association held in Llanerchymedd in June 1907.  The revival had brought into existence a new breed of praying men and women. 

3)         The Young People

The young people were given a wonderful opportunity through the revival and all the chapels benefited.  The young people were in the middle of the campaign of Evan Roberts and many of them became leaders.  But the biggest problem as the Reverend Thomas Charles Williams testified was that the warmth of the revival was often not felt inside the st fawr (official circle) as it was on the ordinary pew.  There often arose conflict between the elderly leaders and the young folk in the chapels, and between some of the most enthusiastic members who had been converted and the officers who had not been emotionally charged by the revival.  But the majority of the chapels were fortunate in its ministers and elders who showed gracious wisdom towards the young.  We can take as an example, Thomas Jones, the Headmaster of Gwalchmai Primary School, a native of Cardiganshire and an elder in Jeriwsalem, Gwalchmai since 1900.  He was inspired by the revival in 1905 and this is the tribute to him

His knowledge and sympathy with the young people of the church and his natural godliness were vehicles of  sanctification for the growth of the religious community and the furtherance of Biblical knowledge. 

            He was not the only Anglesey leader to be praised.  One came across elders like Thomas Jones in large number of chapels.  They encouraged the spiritual growth of the younger generation. 

4)         The World of Praise in the Churches

            The revival gave a boost to the 'songs of praises' within the worship of the chapels.  In Dothan Chapel for example the precentor Thomas Edwards always on every opportunity gave out the revival hymns.  Some chapels in Anglesey had a service to prepare people to understand the tunes and appreciate the hymns.  In Moelfre Presbyterian Chapel of Llanallgo, William Roberts, Bryn Engrad held a Ysgol Gn (a Singing School) at 5 o'clock every Sunday School for 50 years following the revival. 

5)         Building Chapels

            As a result of the revival a number of chapels were enlarged in Anglesey and some new buildings appeared.  The Penucheldre Chapel was enlarged under the guidance of a young minister, Owen Thomas, who came to pastor them during the revival.  A new chapel was built at Tynymaen during the revival.  Bryntwrog Chapel was also built at the cost of 750 in the great year of the revival, 1905. 

6)         Social Benefits

            The revival proved a tremendous blessing socially.  The conscience of leaders in local government were awakened.  Leaders saw the need for better housing and better conditions for workers and they made an attempt to curb the abuse of alcohol and to regulate the opening hours of public houses.  Nonconformity as a religious movement had an extension of life for at least hundred years, as a result of the revival and the tribute offered by a Caernarfon based minister, Reverend R D Rowland (Anthropos) during the Evan Roberts campaign in Anglesey sums it up well for us 

Y mae y gwaith a wnaed, ac a wneid drwy offerynoliaeth Mr Evan Roberts, yn dwyn ffrwyth toreithiog yn ein plith.  Y mae yr eglwysi wedi eu deffro a'u cynhesu, yr Ysgol Sabbathol yn adfywio, a'r pobl ieuainc yn fwy byw nac erioed i bethau'r Efengyl.

(The work that has been done, and will be done through the instrument of Mr Evan Roberts has brought a remarkable harvest to us.  The churches have been awakened and warmed, the Sunday School has been revived, and the young people are more alive than ever to the gifts of the Gospel.) 

7)         The Welsh Language

According to Professor John Morris-Jones (a great supporter of the revival) as well as Anthropos the revival extended the life of the Welsh language and gave added glory and strength to it.  The language was struggling its existence before the revival, but the stand point of Evan Roberts with his Welsh only policy gave added status to the language in the outlook of thousands who attended the Anglesey campaign. 

8)         Dawn Mn (The Anglesey pulpit style)

The echo of the revival was felt for years in the voices of some of the most eloquent Anglesey preachers.  Revered Dr Thomas Williams died on 12 January 1942, and till his death one felt the effects of the 1904-05 revival in his preaching, and in the south Wales Association Preaching Service at Aberporth in south Cardiganshire in 1924, three miles from the village of Blaenannerch where Evan Roberts had come under the ministry of Seth Joshua twenty years earlier, Thomas Williams nearly relegated the flame of the revival.  Everyone at the Aberporth gathering rose to their feet, four thousand in all, and one had the same kind of reaction as in the revival of 1905.  Dr Cynddylan Jones, a staunch Calvinistic, uttered the glorious phrase 'Dyma'r Pentecost' This is the Pentecost). 

In trying to understand the strange phenomenon witnessed in Wales in 1904-06 I am leaving the last word to the urbane solicitor William George, the brother of the Welsh wizard, who himself had enjoyed fellowship with Evan Roberts during his mission at his home, Garthcelyn. 

Tri Diwygiad a thri Rhyfel mewn cyfnod o ddeugain mlynedd.  Meddwi ar yr Ysbryd Gln yn y Diwygiadau ac ar waed gelynion yn y Rhyfeloedd a'r bobl yn ymddangos mor frwdfrydig a diffuant dros y naill achos a'r llall.

(Three Revivals and three Wars in a period of forty years.  Intoxicated with the Holy Spirit in the Revivals and on the blood of enemies in Wars and the people seemed as enthusiastic and sincere for both causes.) 

He adds in Welsh 

Awel yn chwythu i Galfaria, a chroes awel yn hyrddio i faes y gwaed, dyma hanes y werin erioed.

(A breeze blowing to Calvary and a difficult breeze thrusting us to the field of blood, that is the history of the ordinary people at all times.) 

But William George was not completely honest.  Who persuaded the ordinary people to sign up for the 1914-18 War, a terrible confrontation, but Christian leaders like his own brother and Dr John Williams, Brynsiencyn and Sir John Morris-Jones, the generals in the campaign of Evan Roberts in Anglesey.  William George blames the ordinary people and forgets the persuasion of his own brother as Minister, and later Prime Minister.  This is the kind of behaviour we Christians often do.  We are so mixed up as the poet R Williams-Parry said in Welsh, Yn gymysg oll i gyd

We are celebrating in Llangoed but also preparing ourselves for another revival.  We can pray with the hymn writer 

            Tyrd Ysbryd Gln i'n calonnau ni

            A deued dy Oleuni nefol

            Tydi wyt Ysbryd Crist

            Dy ddawn sydd fawr iawn a rhagorol.

 These words can be translated as

             Come Holy Spirit to our hearts

            And bring thy heavenly light

            Thou art the Spirit of Christ

            Thy gift is great and commendable.


Top of Page