Welsh Revival of 1904-1905

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From 1904 to 1905 Wales experienced a religious revival with a strong tone of what became Pentecostalism. It was most famously associated with Evan Roberts (1878-1951), but the movement was broad based with many leaders.

Begun as an effort to kindle nondenominational, nonsectarian spirituality, the Welsh revival of 1904-05 coincided with the rise of the labor movement, socialism, and a general disaffection with religion among the working class and youths. While Roberts heavily emphasized the need for individual prayer in his revival, he also engaged in considerable preaching and, like other evangelists, acted spontaneously.

Not merely a Welsh phenomenon, the movement also spread to other countries. The revival produced some lasting effects including the establishment of Pentecostalism in Wales. Revivalists at first condemned all activities not related to religion, prayer, and the service of God, it temporarily crippled the growing sport of rugby, itself an increasingly powerful element of Welsh identity. Within months, however, extremist views waned and innocuous pastimes and sport returned to Welsh daily life. International success for Wales in rugby matches in 1905 restored the sport's earlier standing and reinforced its place in the self-image of modern Wales.[1]

The revival lasted less than a year, but in that period 100,000 converts were made. The revival spread from south Wales to north Wales, then to Britain, and eventually to Los Angeles, California, where Pentecostalism flourished.[2]

Effects of the Welsh Revival on criminality and ill-behavior

Evan John Roberts was a leading figure of the Welsh Revival of 1904-1905.

See also: Irreligion and crime and Irreligious prison population

Larry Brown in his paper entitled The Welsh Revival And Other Revivals Worldwide, 1900-1905 declared concerning the Welsh Revival of 1904-1905:

The impact of the Welsh Revival touched essentially everyaspect of Welsh society, with 100,000 throughout Walesprofessing faith. Demonstrating the permeating effects of this Revival, historian J. Edwin Orr, as recounted by Towns and Porter, noted:

“Drunkenness was immediately cut in half, and many taverns went bankrupt. Crime was so diminished that judges were presented with white gloves signifying that there were no cases of murder, assault, rape or robbery or the like to consider. The police became unemployed in many districts. Stoppages occurred in coal mines, not due to unpleasantness between management and workers, but because so many foul-mouthed miners became converted and stopped using foul language that the horses which handled the coal trucks in the mines could no longer understand what was being said to them” (Towns and Porter, 33).[3]

For more information, please see: Dramatic effects of the Welsh Revival of 1904-1905 on criminality and ill-behavior

External links


  1. Robert Pope, "Demythologising the Evan Roberts Revival, 1904-1905," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 2006 57(3): 515-534
  2. Edward J. Gitre, "The 1904-05 Welsh Revival: Modernization, Technologies, and Techniques of the Self," Church History 2004 73(4): 792-827
  3. The Welsh Revival And Other Revivals Worldwide, 1900-1905