Leominster Baptist Church
Unreferenced press cutting
Archive of Baptist history documents
Report of regional Baptist convention held in Llanveynoe, 1794
This document is a press cutting from a broadsheet or journal reporting a regional conference for Baptists from southeast Wales held in 1794 in the Olchon valley of Llanveynoe. The cutting from an unnamed publication is pasted on thin card along with other unrelated cuttings and handwritten notes. This document is held at Leominster Baptist Church in their collection of Baptist historical material.
The Olchon gathering confirms that the Baptist congregation in this remote area was thriving, and indeed was referred to as the ‘senior church of Dissenters and Baptists in the Principality’, although it was not without its problems - the press cutting refers to a circular letter remarking 'that some ministers in particular are much grieved to see so little brotherly love, and consequently so much disaffection and backbiting among professors'. The Olchon Baptists, as they were called, lived in Herefordshire just over the border from Wales and were rooted in the Welsh movement. There was no church building; their meetings were held in homes, barns and in the open air. The article refers to three other congregations associated with them; one of these would have been a chapel at Capel y ffin in the adjacent Llanthony valley, which still exists. The report also comments on the offer of hospitality by other dissenters in the local vicinity. The Welsh language was spoken at the conference as well as English.
The impact of the Olchon Baptists was apparently well recognised though downplayed by the local vicar in 1799 and 1804 , who reported in the Bishop’s questionnaires which asked for details of dissidents in the parish. The vicar replied cryptically ‘but few Dissenters’. It is likely that the Olchon Baptists were at the forefront of opposition to tithe payments to the vicar, which resulted in litigation against the vicar from circa 1798 to 1813 described in the research paper ‘Vicar versus Vestry: legal contention and parish life in Clodock Herefordshire 1798-1814 ' .
The text of the press cutting can be seen below, with a link to download a higher definition image if required. Enhanced images of selected passages relating to the Olchon group are also shown, together with a partial transcription to provide a searchable text on this website.
EXTRACTS RELATING TO OLCHON IN EWYAS LACY
MINUTES OF THE THREE PARTICULAR BAPTIST ASSOCIATIONS IN THE PRINCIPALITY OF WALES in the year 1794
[Partial transcription and enlarged images]
This year each convention wrote their own Letter, the preambles of which are near the same as last year. The Associations were held in their due order thus.
THE SOUTH EAST ASSOCIATION.
At Olchon* Herefordshire + on the 4th and 5th of June Met Wednesday morning about ten; the [solemnity ?] was introduced by reading the 100th Psalm. Brother W Jones of Builth prayed in Welsh , and Brother Thomas Evans, of Caerleon in English , then Brother Timothy Thomas of Aberdare, preached in Welsh , from Isa. iv. 5 and Brother J Thomas of Leominster in English from 2 Tim. i. 6. former part of the verse; and Brother Morgan Evans concluded in prayer.
Met again about two; Brother J Evans of Dolau prayed then Brother James Williams of Ross preached in English I from Isa. lv. 3 middle part, and Brother Miles Edwards of Trosnant in Welsh from Col. i. 12. Brother David [Powell?] of Nottage concluded the work of the day in prayer. There was singing several times at proper intervals.
*Olchon is the senior church of Dissenters and Baptists in the Principality, yet it does not appear that any Association was ever held there before this year; the situation of this place, it was supposed would render it inconvenient but it has been held in three other places belonging to this church. However up on consultation last year Olchon seemed to be the only place that would seem to be suitable for the meeting and it was kept there very comfortably. The neighbouring inhabitants were highly pleased and were ready to entertain more strangers, if there had been more, though the numbers were very considerable.
+Herefordshire is an English county but Olchon was always inhabited by Ancient Britons and the church was in the Welsh connexion from its very first formation.
I Many English persons attended the association, this was the reason that so much of the service was in their language
Further information about the Olchon Baptists can be found on the History of Ewyas Lacy Website here .