The onset of the 1904 revival – a timeline

ET staff writer
ET staff writer
01 August, 2004 4 min read

These events are reported without theological analysis

1891: Evan Roberts (1878-1950), converted as a young boy, becomes a communicant member at Moriah Calvinistic Methodist (CM) Church, Loughor (near Swansea), aged 13. He is challenged by an exhortation of Moriah elder William Davies to seek the Holy Spirit and never miss a meeting. Later, Roberts becomes a mineworker, apprentice blacksmith, trainee for the CM ministry, and the key figure in the revival.

1890s: Keri Evans becomes minister at Priory Street Congregational Church, Carmarthen, having been influenced by Henry Drummond, Jessie Penn-Lewis (daughter of CM minister; prime mover for starting Welsh Keswick Convention) and R. B. Jones, a (fundamentalist) Baptist minister, soon to minister in Porth, Rhondda.

1892: Joseph Jenkins moves to New Quay, Cardiganshire, as CM minister.

1894: John Thickens becomes CM minister at nearby Aberaeron.

1896: 13 Welsh people at the northern Keswick Convention (dedicated to ‘higher life’ holiness teaching) pray for Wales and ask God for a similar convention in Wales.

1898: W. S. Jones, Baptist minister originally from Swansea, receives ‘a baptism of power’ shortly before leaving the USA to minister in Wales. He settles in Penuel, Carmarthen.

1899-1903: A number of prayer circles for revival are set up in Wales.

1898-1900: Evan Roberts moves to Mountain Ash. He attends a conference in Builth Wells. After hearing him lead publicly in prayer a minister tells Roberts he should pray about becoming a minister.

1900: W. S. Jones has a second ‘baptism of power’ at Penuel, Loughor. He preaches yielding to Christ to obtain holiness. He receives ‘divine healing’ for a medical condition. Evan Roberts, back in Loughor, gathers a young people’s prayer circle.

1900 (or slightly later): W. W. Lewis, CM minister at Seion Carmarthen, influenced by W. S. Jones and Keri Evans, has a ‘baptism’ experience. W. S. Jones, Lewis and Evans – the ‘Carmarthen trinity’ – arrange meetings for the deepening of spiritual life.

1902: Deacons at his church ask Evan Roberts to consider entering the ministry.

1903-1904: W. S. Jones asks young ministers to covenant together in prayer for revival in Wales. Signs of blessing occur, for example in a Baptist church in Penydarran and in a regular prayer meeting for young people in Pencoed, joined later by large crowds.

First ‘Keswick in Wales’, at Llandrindod; F. B. Meyer, English Baptist minister, is speaker. About 12 ministers attend; there are doubts about the teaching, but R. B. Jones and Seth Joshua (CM minister, also Forward Movement evangelist) are greatly affected. Joseph Jenkins and John Thickens also sympathetic to Keswick teaching.

1903, November-December: Jenkins introduces Sunday morning after-meetings for young people in New Quay. After-meetings become popular in the churches.

1903 November-1904 January: Jenkins wrestles with God for a blessing and is ‘clothed with power from on high’.

1903 December: Evan Roberts, age 26, prepares for full-time CM ministry. This requires him attending a school in Newcastle Emlyn from September 1904 before doing ministerial training at Trevecca.

Cardiganshire Convention at New Quay – the first of five such Keswick-type conventions in South Cardiganshire during 1904. At this Florrie Evans (young girl in New Quay; later a revival helper) is influenced.

1904 early: Rosina Davies (evangelist within Free churches) holds a series of successful missions in Rhosllanerchrugog, North Wales.

1904 February: After Sunday evening service at New Quay, Florrie Evans asks Jenkins for counsel. He advises her to submit to the lordship of Christ. At the next Sunday morning after-meeting Florrie Evans publicly confesses, ‘I love the Lord Jesus with all my heart’ – the meeting is reduced to tears.

1904 Spring: News of this confession and its result spreads and crowds are attracted to the united prayer meetings. Young people of 16-18 years go from New Quay to churches of the surrounding districts to share the blessing. The Western Mail becomes interested. Florrie Evans becomes known for her visions and prophecies. Evan Roberts at Loughor has an experience resulting in close communion with God, which is repeated daily for three months.

1904 June: Preaching festival at Ponciau near Rhosllanerchrugog. The power of the Holy Spirit is experienced in such a way as to remind older people of the 1859 revival.

1904 August: Rosina Davies conducts special services. One of these was notable for its power; and many carry the fire back to Glamorgan.

Second Llandrindod ‘Keswick’ Convention; speakers are F. B. Meyer, A. T. Pierson, Evan Hopkins and Jessie Penn-Lewis. Seth Joshua attends, but has serious misgivings. Many people and ministers ‘fully surrendered to the lordship of Christ and received the baptism with the spirit’.

R. A. Torrey holds a mission in Cardiff; many are saved. Torrey preaches the need to be baptised with Spirit to give power for service.

1904 September: Evan Roberts and other young men arrive at the grammar school at Newcastle Emlyn.

Seth Joshua travelled to Cardiganshire for a mission. He arrived at Newcastle Emlyn by a mistake over the trains. After tea with Evan Phillips (CM minister, Newcastle Emlyn, evangelist in 1859 Revival) he travels on to New Quay and preaches. This is his first experience of the revival there.

Third Keswick in Wales Convention, at Blaenannerch. W. W. Lewis is the speaker. Roberts says he is waiting for the fire to fall. About 15 young people from New Quay give their testimony. The fire fell.

Seth Joshua travels from Newcastle Emlyn to speak at Blaenannerch convention, along with 20 college students including Roberts. They sing on the way: ‘It is coming, it is coming – the power of the Holy Ghost – I receive it’!

1904, end of September: W. W. Lewis speaks at a 7.00am meeting, and Seth Joshua closes by praying ‘bend us’ – because he found the meeting hard. Roberts is challenged and prays ‘bend me’. In the 9.00am meeting the fire fell on him; he prays, ‘ bend me – bend us’. The following day Roberts draws up a list of young people to visit the towns and villages of every county, including Robert’s friend Sidney Evans and girls from New Quay.

1904 October: Roberts has a vision of 100,000 about to be converted in Wales. The vision is shared with other young people. Evan Roberts and others hold meetings in Blaenannerch, New Quay and Pembroke-shire. Rosina Davies sings hymns in a service to which the congregation respond with two hours of weeping and worship.

1904 Sunday 30 October: In the morning service at Newcastle Emlyn, Evan Roberts is heard to say, ‘this place is full of the Holy Spirit – I can feel him blowing’. Roberts, having had a vision of his Sunday school room in Loughor, returns to Loughor.

1904-1906: The revival spreads throughout Wales and into parts of England as well as other countries.

Largely based on and edited from a study by John Hayward. Full notes and references on:

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