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THE FIRST NONCONFORMIST CHAPEL…

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THE FIRST NONCONFORMIST CHAPEL IN WALES. [BY T. FREDERICK LEWIS] On Thursday last, the Rev. H. Elvet Lewis, M.A., Welsh Tabernacle, London, the well-known poet-preacher, officiated at the anniversary of Llanvaches Independent Church. Llanvaches is a small place, situated in the picturesque district between Newport and Chepstow. To Welsh Nonconformists the spot ought to prove a veritable Mecca and the object of periodical pilgrimages, for it was here that the first Nonconformist chapel in Wales was established, 271 years ago. In the year 1638 William Wroth, the Anglican Rector of Llanvaches, refused to read the Book of Sports." The result was that he was expelled from the Church. Nothing daunted, he established Llanvaches Independent Chapel in the year 1639, and the cause has been kept going to this very day. William Wroth, in the following year, 1640, established another Independent chapel at Mill Street, Newport. This cause, also, is flourishing to-day under the able pastorate of the Rev. D. D. Joseph, a native of Llandyssul, whose portrait appeared in a recent issue of the CELT. The original chapel, howdver, is now used for the Sunday School, a new and handsome building having been erected on the site of the old burial ground. William Wroth was born at Abergavenny in the year 1570. He studied at Oxford, and obtained his degree of Bachelor of Arts. In the year 1600 he was presented to the living of Llanvaches. He was a most popular preacher, and great crowds flocked to Llanvaches Church to hear him. In fact the church was too small to accommodate all who wanted to attend, so that he had to preach in the open air. Wroth became known as the blessed Apostle of South Wales." He not only preached at Llanvaches, but in other parts of Wales, as well as in the English border counties. At that time the Anglican Bishops were not as broad and tolerant as the Bishops of to-day, and Wroth was subjected to persecution. In the year 1635 the Bishop of Llandaff preferred articles against him in the High Commission Court for schism. It was alleged that he was leading people astray. Matters came to a head when Wroth re- fused to read "The Book of Sports." He was brought before the Court, presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and de- prived of his living. The sequel was the founding of the Llanvaches and Mill Street (Newport) Independent chapels, as previously narrated. Wroth died in the year 1642, and was interred in Llanvaches churchyard.

WELSH PEDIGREES.

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