Religion, Education, and Literacy

Glanmor Williams

in The Foundations of Modern Wales

Published in print January 1993 | ISBN: 9780192852786
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670565 | DOI:

Series: History of Wales

Religion, Education, and Literacy

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter discusses the religious and spiritual conditions in Wales from 1660 to 1689. It describes this period as the heroic age of Welsh Dissent. In spite of being subjected to severe physical and psychological strains, Dissenters were determined to maintain the distinctiveness of their faith and to prosper. The Toleration Act of May 1689 permitted Dissenters (except Roman Catholics and Socinians) to worship freely in meeting-houses, provided they were duly licensed and their services conducted behind unlocked doors. One of the earliest enterprises designed to foster a common Protestant Christianity was the Welsh Trust, founded by Thomas Gouge, which established charity schools and published pious books. These undertakings helped to contribute towards a marked advance in the provision of educational facilities and the growth of literacy in Wales.

Keywords: Wales; Welsh Dissent; Dissenters; The Toleration Act; Welsh Trust; Protestant Christianity; Thomas Gouge; charity schools; literacy

Chapter.  19004 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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