Cardigan is in the county of Ceredigion, and was formerly the county town of historic Cardiganshire. It is located on the tidal reach of the River Teifi where Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire meet. The first castle was built between 1081 and 1093; by 1199 the town had become a vital trading centre and was granted its charter.

The Calvinistic Methodists had a society in Cardigan by 1739 and in 1760 they built their Pendrfe Tabernacl chapel. As the congregation increased they had to rebuild a larger chapel in 1807, with further enlargements in 1832 and 1907.

John Wesley made his only visit to Cardigan on 15 August 1777 when Mr George Bowen took him there in his chaise. He preached at 12 noon to a ‘numerous’ well behaved congregation which included several clergy. Wesley also commented ‘If our preachers constantly attend here I cannot think their labour would be in vain’.

Even though Wesley optimistically said that his preachers would be well received in Cardigan no Wesleyan society was formed in Cardigan or Cardiganshire until a Welsh Wesleyan society was formed in Aberystwyth in 1804. The reason was probably because Cardigan and the county were mainly Welsh speaking. There is no clear evidence of an English Wesleyan society in Cardigan. A Welsh Wesleyan society was formed and even that society had a checkered existence.

When Edward Jones (Bathafarn) (1778-1837) went to Cardigan in 1807 a society was formed. In 1812 Cardigan became the head of the circuit. The Welsh ministers were largely dependent on Connexional funds and when Rev Dr Thomas Coke died at sea in May 1814 on his way to start an India mission they lost their main Wesleyan Conference supporter. Some of their preachers including Edward Jones (Bathafarn) were transfered to English circuits: a far reaching tragedy which badly affected the Welsh langage mission. During the ministry of Rev John Davies the Eglwys Fach Ebenezer Wesleyan chapel was built in Priory Street, Cardigan. It was rebuilt in 1844 and 1879, but closed in 1884

  • John Telford (ed.), The Letters of John Wesley (London, Epworth Press, 1960).
  • The Works of John Wesley, Volume 26, Letters 2 (1740-1755) (Oxford: Clarendon Press,1982).
  • David Young, The Origin And History Of Methodism In Wales And The Borders (London: C.H. Kelly,1893 ).
  • A.H. Williams, John Wesley in Wales, (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1971).

Entry written by: DHR
Category: Place
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