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“A True and Patriotic Band!”: Welsh Anglican Resistance to a Colonial Victorian Church

  • Matthew C. Jones

Abstract

This essay examines the colonial relationship between the Anglican Church and the British Empire's Welsh subjects across the nineteenth century. Focusing on the small output of a group of exiled Welsh clergymen (known as The Association of Welsh Clergy in the West Riding of the County of York), I consider Welsh Anglican responses to the church's neglect of Wales (exemplified by no Welsh-speaking bishop being assigned to a Welsh diocese between 1727 and 1870, despite the majority of the population not speaking English). The association believed that preaching in a foreign language such as English constituted a perversion from proper church practice and that this both reflected hegemonic attitudes toward indigenous and non-English speaking populations and pushed the Welsh population toward dissent. In response, the association sought to combine church reform with Welsh nationalism by elevating Welsh speakers as the spiritual inheritors of the true and primitive British church. They promulgated their visions in annual reports published between 1852 and 1856 into which they channeled other contemporary voices speaking against tyrannical and “Romish” Anglican Church practices. Through an analysis of post-Reformation Welsh church histories and the reports’ usages of such terminology as “alienation,” “Catholicism,” and “patriotism,” I reveal how the Welsh national identity the association fashioned at once operated within and aspired to correct the Anglican Church.

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This paper was awarded the Sidney E. Mead Prize for graduate student research.

I wish to thank Dylan Foster Evans, E. Wyn James, Patrick K. Russell, Alison Harvey, and the editors and reviewers of Church History for their assistance with this essay.

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1 Justice to Wales: Report of the Proceedings of the Association of Welsh Clergy in the West Riding of the County of York, March 2nd, 1854 (Carnarvon, 1854), 57 (hereafter cited as Report of the Association: 1854). In the text, annual reports are referred to by their year (for example, this report is referred to as “1854 report”).

2 For introductions to this practice and some insights into its effects in the eighteenth century (and the church in Wales in this period more generally), see White, Eryn M., “The Established Church, Dissent and the Welsh Language, c.1660–1811,” in The Welsh Language Before the Industrial Revolution, ed. Jenkins, Geraint (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1997), 235288; and Yates, Nigel, “1780–1850,” in The Welsh Church From Reformation to Disestablishment 1603–1920, ed. Sir Williams, Glanmor, Jacob, William, Yates, Nigel, and Knight, Frances (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2007), 209305.

3 Franklin, Caroline, “Wales as Nowhere: The Tabula Rasa of the ‘Jacobin’ Imagination,” in ‘Footsteps of Liberty & Revolt’: Essays on Wales and the French Revolution, ed. Constantine, Mary-Ann and Johnston, Dafydd (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2013), 11. For overviews of Wales at the turn of the nineteenth century, see also Jenkins, Geraint H., “Wales in the Eighteenth Century” in A Companion to Eighteenth-Century Britain, ed. Dickinson, H. T. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 392402; and Morgan, Prys, The Eighteenth-Century Renaissance (Llandybïe: Christopher Davies, 1981).

4 For a broader introduction to Wales's national history over this period, including accounts of the areas served by these dioceses, see Davies, John, A History of Wales (London: Allen Lane, 1993), 319397.

5 Jones, Aled, “Culture, ‘Race’ and the Missionary Public in Mid-Victorian Wales,” Journal of Victorian Culture 10, no. 2 (January 2005): 157.

6 For a larger introduction into mid-Victorian Wales, see Jones, Ieuan Gwynedd, Mid-Victorian Wales: The Observers and the Observed (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1992); and Jones, Ieuan Gwynedd, Communities: Essays in the Social History of Victorian Wales (Llandysul: Gomer, 1987).

7 Brown reviews what made the association a “pressure group” in his conclusion: Brown, Roger L., “Welsh Patriotism” and “Justice to Wales”: The Association of Welsh Clergy in the West Riding of York (Welshpool: Tair Eglwys, 2001), 3438. See his entire text for a deeper account of the association's individual members, their specific and general concerns, their connections to contemporary Welsh figures, and their immediate impacts. Regarding the association and contemporary Welsh Clergy more generally, see William Jacob, “The Restoration Church,” in Williams, Jacob, Yates, and Knight, Welsh Church from Reformation to Disestablishment, 65–81. For an overview of the appointment of a Welsh-speaking bishop to St. Asaph in 1870 and the Welsh Clergy's contributions to the public attitudes that promoted it, see Frances Knight, “The Ecclesiastical Personnel,” in Williams, Jacob, Yates, and Knight, Welsh Church from Reformation to Disestablishment, 337.

8 For more on the Blue Books, see Roberts, Gwyneth Tyson, The Language of the Blue Books: The Perfect Instrument of Empire (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1998); Jones, Gareth Elwyn, “The Welsh Language and the Blue Books of 1847,” in The Welsh Language and its Social Domains:1801–1911, ed. H., Geraint Jenkins (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2000), 431457; and Roberts, Harri Garrod, Embodying Identity: Representations of the Body in Welsh Literature (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2009), 2046.

9 For the rise of patriotic vocabulary in Welsh at this time, see Paul O'Leary, “The Languages of Patriotism in Wales 1840–1880,” in Jenkins, Welsh Language and its Social Domains, 533–560.

10 Quoted in Jones, Owain W., “The Welsh Church in the Nineteenth Century,” in A History of the Church in Wales, ed. Walker, David (Penarth: Church in Wales, 1976), 147. For popular education in early nineteenth-century Wales, see James, E. Wyn, “Griffith Jones (1684–1761) of Llanddowror and his ‘Striking Experiment in Mass Religious Education’ in Wales in the Eighteenth Century,” in Educating the People through Reading Material in the 18th and 19th Centuries, ed. Siegert, Reinhart (Bremen: Edition Lumiere, 2012), 275292. For education in Wales in the Victorian period, see W. Gareth Evans, “The British State and Welsh-language Education 1850–1914,” in Jenkins, Welsh Language and its Social Domains, 459–482; and Robert Smith, “Elementary Education and the Welsh Language 1870–1902,” in Jenkins, Welsh Language and its Social Domains, 483–504.

11 See Davies, History of Wales, 399.

12 For an introduction to Welsh Nonconformity at this time, see Thomas, M. Wynn, In the Shadow of the Pulpit: Literature and Nonconformist Wales (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2009), 1976. For an introduction to how Nonconformist preaching practices appealed to the Welsh-speaking population over this period, see Griffith, W. P., “‘Preaching Second to No Other under the Sun’: Edward Matthews, the Nonconformist Pulpit and National Identity during the Mid-Nineteenth Century,” in Religion and National Identity: Wales and Scotland c.1700–2000, ed. Pope, Robert (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2001), 6183.

13 Report of the Association: 1854, 34.

14 R. Tudur Jones, “The Church and the Welsh Language in the Nineteenth Century,” in Jenkins, Welsh Language and its Social Domains, 215.

15 Jones, “Church and the Welsh Language,” 216.

16 Quoted in Geraint H. Jenkins, “The ‘Rural Voltaire’ and the ‘French Madcaps,’” in Constantine and Johnston, ‘Footsteps of Liberty and Revolt,’ 129. See also the Report of the Association: 1854, 7.

17 Jenkins, Philip, “Church, Nation and Language: The Welsh Church, 1660–1800,” in The National Church in Local Perspective: The Church of England and the Regions, ed. Gregory, Jeremy and S., Jeffrey Chamberlain (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2003), 283. See also White, Eryn M., “A ‘Poor Benighted Church’? Church and Society in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Wales,” in From Medieval to Modern Wales: Historical Essays in Honour of Kenneth O. Morgan and Ralph A. Griffiths, ed. Davies, R. R. and Jenkins, Geraint H. (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2004), 123141.

18 Mark Ellis Jones, “‘The Confusion of Babel’?: The Welsh Language, Law Courts and Legislation in the Nineteenth Century,” in Jenkins, Welsh Language and its Social Domains, 599. In a footnote following this quote, Mark Ellis Jones calls attention to a short discussion of the clergy in Jones, R. Tudur, “Yr Eglwysi a'r Iaith yn Oes Victoria” [“The Churches and the Language in the Victorian Era”], Llên Cymru 19 (1996), 146167. In pages 152 through 155 of the article, R. Tudur Jones provides further insights into the association's members and their concerns (including, for instance, information on their annual petitions for Welsh bishops, how the members prepared for their annual meetings in the months that preceded them, and an 1854 eisteddfodic competition on the topic of English bishops in Wales) and calls for greater attention to be given to their legacy. He also calls attention to additional Welsh-language scholarship. The rest of the essay is a helpful overview of the church in Wales over this period.

19 For an introduction to the eisteddfod, which contains a helpful bibliography, see Edwards, Hywel Teifi, The Eisteddfod (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1990).

20 Dictionary of Welsh Biography, s.v. “Hughes, Joseph (Carn Ingli; 1803–1863), cleric and eisteddfodic poet,” by Rev. Daniel Williams (1959), http://wbo.llgc.org.uk/en/s-HUGH-JOS-1803.html.

21 Dictionary of Welsh Biography, s.v. “James, David (Dewi o Ddyfed; 1803–1871), cleric and author,” by Griffith Milwyn Griffiths (1959), http://wbo.llgc.org.uk/en/s-JAME-DAV-1803.html.

22 Dictionary of Welsh Biography, s.v. “James, Thomas (Llallawg; 1817–1879), clergyman, antiquary, and eisteddfodwr,” by Rev. Daniel Williams (1959), http://wbo.llgc.org.uk/en/s-JAME-THO-1817.html.

23 Dictionary of Welsh Biography, s.v.  “Jones, Lewis (1793–1866), cleric,” by Rev. Daniel Williams (1959), http://wbo.llgc.org.uk/en/s-JONE-LEW-1793.html.

24 Welsh Patriotism: Report of the Proceedings of the Association of Welsh Clergy in the West Riding of Yorkshire, March 1st, 1852 (Carnarvon: 1852), 29 (hereafter cited as Report of the Association: 1852). See also the association's short entry in the Encyclopaedia of Wales: The association's “published annual reports . . . witnessed to the claim that its members had a freedom to speak about abuses in the Church of England in Wales . . . a freedom denied to those serving in Wales.” The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales, ed. John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines, and Peredur I. Lynch (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2008), s.v. “The Association of Welsh Clergy in the West Riding of Yorkshire,” 39.

25 Brown, “Welsh Patriotism” and “Justice to Wales,” 17.

26 For an account of early nineteenth-century collaboration between Anglicans and antiquarians (focusing specifically on Bishop Thomas Burgess and Iolo Morganwg), see Jenkins, Geraint H., “The Unitarian Firebrand, the Cambrian Society and the Eisteddfod,” in A Rattleskull Genius: The Many Faces of Iolo Morganwg, ed. Jenkins, Geraint (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2009), 269292.

27 James, David, The Patriarchal Religion of Britain; or A Complete Manual of Ancient British Druidism [. . . ] (London, 1836), 5.

28 James, Patriarchal Religion of Britain, 3.

29 See Pope, Robert, “Welsh Methodists and the Establishment in the Nineteenth Century,” Welsh Journal of Religious History 6 (2011): 4043; and Williams, Glanmor, Religion, Language and Nationality in Wales: Historical Essays (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1979), 105106.

30 Davies, History of Wales, 392. The Welsh Methodists, whose leaders had vocalized concerns with the Established Church's organization in Wales in the beginning of the nineteenth century, had split from the church formally in 1811 but, by 1851, were the largest denomination in Wales. See Jones, “The Welsh Church in the Nineteenth Century,” 144–145. On what led to the Welsh Methodists’ departure, see Evans, E. D., “The Road to 1811,” Cylchgrawn Hanes Cymdeithas Hanes y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd 35 (2011): 4557.

31 I quote this figure from Brinley Thomas, “A Cauldron of Rebirth: Population and the Welsh Language in the Nineteenth Century,” in Jenkins, Welsh Language and its Social Domains, 89. Thomas states that this reflects “70 per cent of all church accommodation,” while Owain W. Jones concludes that the number reflects “80% of the worshipping population.” Jones, “Welsh Church in the Nineteenth Century,” 145. For more on the 1851 census, see Frances Knight, “The National Scene,” in Williams, Jacob, Yates, and Knight, Welsh Church from Reformation to Disestablishment, 312–315.

32 Jones, “Welsh Church in the Nineteenth Century,” 145. As Jones notes, this increase was attributable to Irish people fleeing to Wales during famine years, especially in 1846–1849, immediately preceding the census (by 1851, 20,000 people in Wales had been born in Ireland: Davies, History of Wales, 385). There was a vocal anti-Irish and accompanying anti-Catholic sentiment in Wales across this time, arising in part from anxieties that desperate and hungry Irish people would undercut wages. See Davies, History of Wales, 385; O'Leary, Paul, Claiming the Streets: Processions and Urban Culture in South Wales c.1830–1880 (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2012), 8788; and O'Leary, “Languages of Patriotism,” 540–542. On the development, peak, and denouement of anti-Catholic sentiment across Wales over this period (and more on the severity of contemporary allegations of Catholicism in Wales), see Paul O'Leary, “A Tolerant Nation? Anti-Catholicism in Nineteenth-Century Wales,” in Davies and Jenkins, From Medieval to Modern Wales, 197–213. On the discrepancy between the total Irish population and Catholic attendance in the census, see O'Leary, Paul, Immigration and Integration: The Irish in Wales, 1798–1922 (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2000), 215218. For more general information on the Irish experience in Wales at this time, see chapters three and four (“The Deluge: The Great Famine, 1845–1850” and “‘Sectional Colonists’: Patterns of Irish Settlement, 1851–71”) of Immigration and Integration (pp. 73–133).

33 Morgan, Prys, “From Long Knives to Blue Books,” in Welsh Society and Nationhood: Historical Essays Presented to Glanmor Williams, ed. Davies, R. R., Griffiths, Ralph A., Jones, Ieuan Gwynedd, and Morgan, Kenneth O. (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1984), 210.

34 Gruffydd, R. Geraint, “The Renaissance and Welsh Literature,” in The Celts and the Renaissance: Tradition and Innovation, ed. Williams, Glanmor and Jones, Robert Owen (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1990), 19. See also William P. Griffith, “Humanist Learning, Education and the Welsh Language 1536–1660,” in Jenkins, Welsh Language Before the Industrial Revolution, 289–315. For a history of the Welsh Bible, see White, Eryn M., The Welsh Bible (Stroud: Tempus, 2007).

35 Gruffydd, “Renaissance and Welsh Literature,” 19.

36 Gruffydd, “Renaissance and Welsh Literature,” 20.

37 Williams, Glanmor, The Reformation in Wales (Bangor: Headstart History, 1991), 30.

38 Gruffydd, “Renaissance and Welsh Literature,” 20.

39 Williams, Glanmor, Welsh Reformation Essays (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1967), 213.

40 Williams, Welsh Reformation Essays, 213.

41 Williams, Welsh Reformation Essays, 207.

42 For information on the emerging High Church Oxford Movement in Wales, see Morgan-Guy, JohnThe Oxford Movement and its Effects in Wales,” Welsh Journal of Religious History 6 (2011): 4968; and Freeman, Peter, “The Response of Welsh Nonconformity to the Oxford Movement,” Welsh History Review/Cylchgrawn Hanes Cymru 20, no. 3 (2001): 435465.

43 Williams, Welsh Reformation Essays, 207.

44 Burgess, Thomas, Tracts on the Origin and Independence of the Ancient British Church (London, 1815), 171. For more on the life and work of Thomas Burgess, see Pryce, D. T. W., Yr Esgob Burgess a Choleg Llanbedr: Bishop Burgess and Lampeter College (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1987).

45 For more on Article 24, which stated that sermons should be delivered in the language of the local people, see White, “Established Church.”

46 Burgess, Thomas, A Protestant and Papist's Manual (London, 1813), 273.

47 Burgess, Protestant and Papist's Manual, iii.

48 Quoted in Brown, “Welsh Patriotism” and “Justice to Wales,” 13

49 Williams, John, On the Inexpediency, Folly, and Sin of a “Barbarous Episcopate” (London, 1858), 2.

50 Williams, On the Inexpediency, 2–3.

51 Williams, On the Inexpediency, 2.

52 Williams, On the Inexpediency, 3–4.

53 Brown, “Welsh Patriotism” and “Justice to Wales,” 13.

54 Report of the Association: 1852, 3.

55 Welsh Patriotism: Report of the Proceedings of the Association of Welsh Clergy, in the West Riding of the County of York, March 1st, 1853 (Carnarvon: 1853), 3 (hereafter cited as Report of the Association: 1853).

56 Report of the Association: 1854, 3.

57 Report of the Association: 1852, 4.

58 Report of the Association: 1853, 8–9. The report also contains some figures relating to financial sums awarded by the church to various archbishops and their family members.

59 Report of the Association: 1853, 38.

60 On practices and traditions relating to St. David in Wales, see  Williams, Religion, Language and Nationality, 109–126.

61 Report of the Association: 1854, 7.

62 Report of the Association: 1854, 31–32.

63 Report of the Association: 1854, 32.

64 Report of the Association: 1854, 32.

65 Report of the Association: 1854, 58.

66 Report of the Association: 1853, 28–29.

67 Report of the Association: 1854, 25–27.

68 Report of the Association: 1854, 33.

69 Report of the Association: 1854, 32.

70 See Roger Brown, “In Pursuit of a Welsh Episcopate,” in Pope, Religion and National Identity, 84–102.

71 Report of the Association: 1854, 39.

72 Report of the Association: 1854, 39.

73 Report of the Association: 1854, 39.

74 Report of the Association: 1854, 41.

75 Report of the Association: 1854, 58.

76 O'Leary, “Languages of Patriotism,” 541.

77 Among Irish Catholics in Victorian Wales, the question of language was vexed. For some insights into the three-way question of language among Wales's Irish Catholics (who spoke combinations of Welsh, English, and Irish), see O'Leary, Immigration and Integration, 305–308.

78 James, The Patriarchal Religion of Britain, 8.

79 Brown,“Welsh Patriotism” and “Justice to Wales,” 3–4.

80 Justice to Wales: Report of the Proceedings of the Association of Welsh Clergy in the West Riding of the County of York, March 1st, 1856 (Carnarvon, 1856), 5.

81 Brown,“Welsh Patriotism” and “Justice to Wales,” 37. This naivety also, according to Brown, referred to the Clergy's hopes that the Welsh Methodists might return to the Church.

This paper was awarded the Sidney E. Mead Prize for graduate student research.

I wish to thank Dylan Foster Evans, E. Wyn James, Patrick K. Russell, Alison Harvey, and the editors and reviewers of Church History for their assistance with this essay.

“A True and Patriotic Band!”: Welsh Anglican Resistance to a Colonial Victorian Church

  • Matthew C. Jones

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