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This pamphlet was published by the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion in 1773 and relates to the controversy which arose following the appointment of Thomas Bowles, an elderly monoglot Englishman, as parish priest of Trefdraeth and Llangwyfan, Anglesey, in 1766. Given that only five of the five hundred parishoners could understand or speak English at the time, it was perhaps not surprising that the appointment of Bowles met with strong local opposition.

The parishoners of Trefdraeth and Llangwyfan decided to launch a petition against Bowles and their actions ultimately led to his prosecution in the Court of Arches, London, in 1773. Although Bowles attempted to convince the court that he was able to officiate through the medium of Welsh, the judge, Dr. George Hay, saw through his evidence and concluded that the appointment of Thomas Bowles contravened the Act for the Translation of the Scriptures 1563 and the Act of Uniformity 1662, as well as the twenty-fourth article of the Church of England, which stated that it was unacceptable for prayers and sacrament to be conducted in a language which the congregation did not understand. Although Bowles was allowed to remain in his post, the decision was undoubtedly a symbolic victory for the parishoners of Trefdraeth and Llangwyfan who, with the financial assistance of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, had challenged the linguistic policy of the English Church in Wales. Thomas Bowles died in August 1773 and the following November, Richard Griffith, a Welsh speaker, was appointed priest of the parishes of Trefdraeth and Llangwyfan.

Source: Eryn M. White, 'The Established Church, Dissent and the Welsh Language c. 1660-1811' in Geraint H. Jenkins (ed.), 'The Welsh Language before the Industrial Revolution' (Cardiff, 1997).




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