Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Rev Biscombe is to preach on the evening

June 1st/79

Dear Brother

I am glad to tell you we are all quite well although the weather is so cold.

Today the tea meeting takes place at Oxwich green.  The Rev. Mr. Biscombe from Lanelly is to preach on the evening.

Sill and Harriet are gone but it has been raining very hard ever since they started so I think they will enjoy a good shower bath if nothing else.

I think Frank will be disappointed at the rain.  They were going to walk out to Sketty and have their tea on Sketty Green but I am afraid they will have to get indoors in somewhere.

We washed the sheep on Saturday and we should be glad with your services to help shear them if you could spare a week or so but I suppose you are so full of business that you couldnt be spared.

You were going a little too fast when you sent to ask us had we finished sowing Swedes.  We have not Begun.

Jane has been into Swansea and had her tooth pulled out she had been suffering very much in it.

Aunt Jane started for Cardiff Saturday to see Rowland.  I cannot think of any more important news to tell you so I must conclude

                   with love from all
                             I remain
                   Your affectionate sister
                             E. Bevan

In April 1672 Richard Bevan’s house in Rhossili was officially licensed as an Independent Meeting House and four years later the congregation numbered 45 in this small parish of approximately 135 residents, thus becoming the largest group of dissenters in Gower. (Richard was one of the sons of Jenkin Bevan and his wife Elizabeth After, brother to William who is recorded as being a member of the Society of Friends in the mid 17th century.)

John Wesley, the founding father of Methodism, visited Gower at least four times between 1762-1773 staying at a cottage in Oxwich. By 1780 the Methodist movement had spread widely in the southern counties of Wales and produced a flurry of chapel building in the Gower area. Oxwich Chapel was built in 1808 and Horton in 1813, followed by Pitton in 1833, Llangennith in 1862 and Reynoldstone in 1869 - the chapel at Porteynon was fitted out by Captain Bevan in 1852. The chapel at Horton where several of Silvanus and Ann’s children were baptised was built on land provided by William Tucker. The Old Manse was built in 1868 when Horton became the place of residence for Gower’s Wesleyan Minister, although according to the Bevan description of the cramped accommodation afforded the incoming Minister in 1879, the manse would appear to be little more than a small cottage.

The 1851 religious census in South Wales recorded a total of 1,863 places of worship – of these 615 were Church of England, 7 Roman Catholic and 2 Jew – all the rest were non-conformist chapels with 80% of the Welsh people describing themselves as ‘adherents’ of Non Conformist bodies.

Silvanus appears on the Gower Circuit Quarterly plan of May-July 1868 as being ‘On Trial’, the stage before full accreditation as a local Preacher is given. By the time of the Quarterly plan of August-October 1869 S. Bevan of Overton is on the Preachers List. In 1870 Silvanus is described as leader at Porteynon. In 1878 he is listed as being one of the Circuit Stewards, a senior lay position, along with Capt. William Bevan and John Tucker as Assistant.

The cottage in Oxwich where John Wesley stayed

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