Powys Digital History Project

Church and chapel 7
The pressure for change


High church influence
The Oxford movement which sought to introduce some of the ritualAbbey Cwmhir church to the practices of worship had an influence in the long term. Churches like the new parish church at Abbey Cwmhir in Radnorshire (left) reflect some of the High Church influence of this time.
The nonconformists’ resentment at having to pay tithes to a church they had rejected, and their increasing local power through elections onto new local government bodies all put further pressure onto the established church in Wales.

After much bitter debate a separate Church in Wales was created in 1920, which was not part of the state and which lost much of its wealth. Soon after, Bishop Alfred Edwards of St. Asaph was chosen as the first Archbishop of Wales. In 1923 the new Province of Wales created the diocese of Swansea and Brecon from parts of the sprawling diocese of St David’s, and a new diocese of Monmouth was created out of parts of the industrial populations of the diocese of Llandaff.

New English arrivals
During the nineteenth century the nonconformist denominations had to respond to the large English or English-speaking influx intoWales as the rapidly growing Chapel at Ystradgynlaisindustries recruited a larger workforce. The Calvinistic Methodists and Independents established new English medium chapels. In the new urban centres chapels were built which were increasingly grand in scale, like the typical example shown (right) in Ystradgynlais, and chapels became a focal point for social activities in the community. Through their active Sunday schools they also played an important role in local education.

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