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The beginnings of dissent 2
The Commonwealth 


Challenges to the authority of the church
The Church of England under Archbishop Laud was, however, a high church jealous of its power, and keen to root out any such challenges to its authority. Although puritan activity was less in Wales, there were prosecutions and cases of incumbents deprived of their living. The period of the Commonwealth which followed the execution of Charles I was an opportunity for Puritans in Wales to shape the established church to their beliefs. In 1650 an Act for the Better Propagation and Preaching of the Gospel in Wales was passed by a parliament more sympathetic to puritan sentiments.
Many Anglican clergy, fearful of what was to follow, left their parishes. 278 were ejected from their livings by Commissioners appointed under the terms of the Act.

Scourge of the clergy
One of men appointed as an Approver to advise the Commissioners was Vavasor Powell of Knucklas in Radnorshire, a well known Puritan, and pastor of Newtown once parliament was in control. He was a great scourge of the clergy in Radnorshire, removing many from their livings and appointing itinerant preachers. This itinerant ministry for a while left many parishes with no local clergy at all, until a more stable pattern was established with carefully vetted preachers occupying parish positions.
This was a genuine attempt to create a dedicated clergy active among their parishioners, but the ejected clergy and many of the gentry from whom they were drawn were affronted by this challenge to their class, and outraged at the struggles of the displaced clergy to live on the irregular payments given to them. They were worried, too, about the free dissemination of tracts which had been banned under the previous Anglican control. Free discussion and publication meant that new sects were being formed and that Puritanism was fragmenting.

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