kind permission of
A vital role in many lives
It is important to remember that in the late nineteenth and early
twentieth century heyday of the nonconformist movement, the chapel
was at the centre of the lives of thousands of people.
They would meet together for worship and for other gatherings
in grand urban buildings like the chapel pictured on the previous
page and in modest wayside chapels like the one at Newbridge-on-Wye,
Radnorshire in the old photograph shown here, meeting
both the spiritual and social needs of families.The photograph
below shows a gathering for a baptism at Newbridge during the
dominant years of nonconformism.
A long slow decline
Gradually though, developments in science and technology and
the spread of Darwinism did lead to a shift away from fundamentalist
attitude in some sects and sin and damnation were heard of less
The great Revival of 1904/5 did produce a groundswell of nonconformist
belief and an extra 80,000 members joined denominations in Wales.
By 1912, however, three quarters of these had drifted away and
the trend since then has been for a long slow decline with chapels
closing across the nation.
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