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Calvinism in Wales

This major project, led by Dr David Ceri Jones (History, Aberystwyth), Professor Tony Claydon (History, Bangor), Professor Densil Morgan (Theology, Lampeter) and Professor Lori Anne Ferrell (History and English, Claremont Graduate University), aims to complete a definitive history of Calvinism in Wales between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. This theological position was crucial to Welsh history and culture in the period. It first served as the official creed of a church which saw Wales as a ‘dark corner’ to be evangelised with special urgency, but which also served to preserve a Welsh sense of separateness through its promotion of its unique language in sermon, prayer and biblical translation. Calvinism then became central to some forms of Welsh identity as Wales’ version of methodism diverged from the Arminian English strand, and began the country’s close association with protestant non-conformity.

Understanding the role of Calvinism in Wales is therefore crucial to understanding Wales itself in this period, but it also raises many related questions. How did a creed born in the academies of France fare and adapt as it spread to a mountainous region on the North West fringe of Europe? How might adoption of this set of ideas have allowed some Welsh people to build an identity apart from the dominant English culture? How far did evangelism by Welsh Calvinists put Wales at the centre of religious networks which spread across Britain, Europe and the Atlantic?

At this stage, the project leaders are collecting ideas for approaches, issues, themes and contributors for a definitive history of Welsh Calvinism before 1900. To contact them with thoughts, e-mail Tony Claydon at:



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