Wales History Timeline

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1664-1729 AD

1664: THE CONVENTICLE ACT
The Conventicle Act prohibited groups of more than five persons from assembling for religious worship other than that prescribed by the Established Church. It had the effect of furthering emigration to North America, where Welshmen became prominent in municipal government and the universities (both of which had been excluded by the Conventicle Act even after the passing of the so-called Toleration Act of 1689).



1667: CHARLES EDWARDS' "Y FFYDD DDI-FFUANT" (The Sincere Faith)
Edwards promulgated the belief that the people of Wales were the chosen of God, having replaced the Israelites or having been descended directly from "the lost tribes" themselves. His book deals with the history of the Welsh people, the history of the Christian religion and the spiritual condition of individual Welshmen.



1674: THE WELSH TRUST IS SET UP IN LONDON
With the arrival of the Methodist preachers in Wales, the need was brought home for printed works to educate the common people. In 1674 Thomas Gouge set up the Welsh Trust to establish English schools in Wales, but also to publish books in Welsh.



1681: "CANWYLL Y CYMRU" OF RHY PRITCHARD
Much 17th century Welsh literature was designed to preach the Gospel. Preacher-poet Rhys Pritchard published his "Canwyll y Cymry" (The Candle of the Welsh) in 1681. The book contained simple, moral verses that later became the source of many Welsh hymns; it also had the enormous effect on keeping the language alive as one of the only books available for children.



1681: WILLIAM PENN GIVEN PROPRIETARY RIGHTS TO PENNSYLVANIA
In a letter to his friend Robert Turner, one day after being granted his lands in North America, Penn gave his reasons for not calling the area New Wales. He chose Pennsylvania instead, with the translation as "Head Woods." (The Welsh word Pen translates as "head." or "chief see my "Facts about Wales").



1688: STEPHEN HUGHES PUBLISHED "TAITH Y PERERIN"
This book, a version of Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" was one of the many Welsh works to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the proliferation of the printing press. For Welsh Protestants, the book has remained one of the most popular works ever printed.



1699: THE SPCK FOUNDED
The Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge was founded by Sir John Phillips of Pembrokeshire (along with Mrs. Bridget Bevan and Stephen Hughes). The SPCK helped found a network of charity schools in Wales that condoned the use of the Welsh language, and helped publish a number of influential books including Ellis Wynn's "Gweledigaetheu y Bardd Cwsc" (The Vision of the Sleeping Bard) in 1703, a satire of the ills of the age and a book now considered a classic of Welsh High Anglicanism.



1707: EDWARD LHUYD'S "ARCHAEOLGIA BRITANNIA"
Edward Lhuyd, of Llandorda, Oswestry, was regarded as the finest natural scientist in Europe. Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum Oxford, his notes for a new edition of Camden's 1586 "Britannia" are an outstanding contribution to the history of topographical and archaeological studies in Britain. In 1707, Lhuyd published his own book in which he desired to put objective truth above the current fad for romantic antiquarianism.



1716: THEOPHILUS EVANS "DRYCH Y PRIF OESOEDD" (Mirror the First Age)
Evans was alarmed at the rise of nonconformity that he felt was destroying many ancient Welsh traditions. His book recounts the history of the Welsh people all the way from the Tower of Babel to Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's death in 1282. He retells some of the great myths of Welsh history such as the descent from Noah's grandson Gomer, the founding of Britain by Brutus of Troy, and the betrayal of the Britons by Hengist. Written in their own language, the book gave the Welsh people a sense of their own unique history.



1717: "TREASURES OF THE ANCIENT AGES" (Lewis Morris)
Continuing the appeal to the classical past, Lewis Morris, anxious to counter the appeal of English books to Welsh readers, also produced books in Welsh that were designed to entertain. His "Tlysau yr Hen Oesoedd" was the first Welsh periodical, containing much-needed light-hearted verse and prose.



1718: PRINTING PRESS SET UP AT TRFHEDYN, CARDIGANSHIRE
Over 500 books were printed in the Welsh language at Trefhedyn and at another press set up in 1721 at Carmarthen. Most of these were translation of religious works in English, but the production of so many cheap catechisms and prayer books had the unintended effect of helping ensure the survival of the Welsh language.



1723: "MONA ANTIQUA RESTAURATA" PUBLISHED IN LONDON
One of the results of this book of Henry Rowlands, in which he surveys the antiquities of his native Anglesey, was to set in motion a "druid fad" that became highly popular in London and that resulted, eventually, not only in misconceptions about role of the druids in Welsh history, but also in the colorful (and very popular) shenanigans of the present day ceremonies of the Gorsedd.



1729: WESLH SOCIET ESTABLISHED IN PHILADELPHIA
In addition to religious persecution, land enclosures in Wales sent whole villages fleeing to the New World, especially to an area near Philadelphia, where Welsh books had been published as early as 1721 and where the St. David's Society was established in 1729, the oldest of its kind in North America.

  

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