There is an image of Derfel Gadarn ... in whom the people have so great conﬁdence, hope and trust that they come daily on pilgrimage unto him; some with kine, and others with oxen or horses, and the rest with money; insomuch that there were 500 or 600 pilgrims to a man’s estimation that offered to the said image the ﬁfth day of this present month of April. The innocent people hath been sore allured and enticed to worship the said image, insomuch that there is a common saying amongst them that whosoever will offer anything to the said image of Derfel Gadarn, he hath power to fetch him or them that so offer out of Hell when they be damned.
(Ellis Price to Thomas Cromwell, April 1538 in Thos. Wright, The Suppression of the Monasteries, 1843, pp. 190–1)
A phan roes [y brenin] eisoes gymaint o ddoniau presennol i genedl y Cymry ni fydd llesgach i ganiatau iddynt ddoniau ysbrydol. Am hynny gweddus yw rhoi yn Gymraig beth o’r Ysgrythur lan, oherwydd bod llawer o Gymry a fedr ddarllen Cymraeg heb fedru darllen un gair o Saesneg na Lladin, ac yn enwedig y pynciau sy’n angenrheidiol i bob rhyw Gristion eu gwybod dan berygl ei enaid, sef yw hynny: pynciau’r ffydd Gatholig, a’r weddi a ddysgodd Duw inni, a elwir y Pader, a’r Deng Ngair Deddf ...
Ac er bod y rhain gyda llawer o bethau da eraill yn ysgrifenedig mewn bagad o hen lyfrau Cymraeg, eto nid yw’r llyfrau hynny’n gyffredinol ymysg y bobl. Ac yn awr y rhoes Duw y print yn ein mysg ni er amlhau gwybodaeth ei eirau bendigedig ef, iawn yw i ni, fel y gwnaeth holl Gristnogaeth heb law, gymryd rhan o’r daioni hwnnw gyda hwy fel na bai ddiffrwyth rhodd cystal a hon i ni mwy nag i eraill ...
Ac am hynny gyda gweled fod rhan fawr o’m cenedl y Cymry mewn tywyllwch afrifed o eisiau gwybodaeth Duw a’i orch- mynion ac oherwydd hynny y digwyddant mewn dyfnder pechodau ...
(And since [the King] has already given so many temporal gifts to the Welsh nation he will be no more loth to allow them spiritual gifts.
Therefore it is ﬁtting to translate into Welsh some of the Holy Scriptures since there are many Welsh people who can read Welsh, though they cannot read a single word of English or Latin, especially those matters which every Christian should know at the peril of his soul: namely the chief items of the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments ...
And although these things, together with many other good things, are found in writing in many old Welsh manuscripts, yet these manuscripts are not common among the people. And now that God has given us the printing-press in our midst to multiply knowledge of his blessed words, it is right for us, as all Christendom has done besides, to take a share in that virtue with them, so that a gift as excellent as this should not be without fruit for us as for others ...
For that reason, because I see that a large part of my nation the Welsh is lost in untold darkness for want of knowledge of God’s words and his commandments and for that reason falls into the depths of sin.)
(Sir John Price, Yn y llyfr hwn ... in G.H. Hughes, Rhagymadroddion, 1547–1659, 1951, pp. 3–4)
Be it enacted by authority of the present Parliament that the King ... shall be taken, accepted and reputed the only Supreme Head in earth of the Church of England called Anglicana Ecclesia, and shall have and enjoy annexed and united to the imperial crown of this realm as well as the title and style thereof, as all the honours etc ... to the said dignity of Supreme Head of the same Church belonging and appertaining.
(Act of Supremacy, 1534 in G.R. Elton, The Tudor Constitution, 1982, p. 355)
We, the Prior and Convent of Ewenny, in the diocese of Llandaff, with one mouth and one voice, and by the unanimous consent of all, by this our writing, given under our common seal, in our Chapter-house on behalf of ourselves and our successors, each and all will always pay entire, inviolate, sincere and perpetual ﬁdelity, observance, and obedience to our Lord, King Henry the Eighth, and to Anne, his wife, and to his offspring lawfully begotten ... and that we will notify and preach the same things to the people wherever time and occasion shall be granted. Also that we hold it conﬁrmed and ratiﬁed for ever, and will hold it in perpetuity, that our aforesaid King Henry is Head of the English Church. Also that the Bishop of Rome, who in his Bulls usurps the name of Pope and arrogates to himself the supreme Pontiﬁcate, has no other jurisdiction conferred upon him by God in this kingdom of England than any other foreign bishop.
(Oath taken by the Prior and two monks on 11 September 1534 in J.P. Turbervill, Ewenny Priory, 1901, p. 49)
As to the indisposition of the people of Wales ... I understand they are very angry at the treatment of the Queen [Catherine] and Princess [Mary] and also at what is done against the faith, for they have always been good Christians ... and it is said that the people only wait for a chief to take the ﬁeld.
(Chapuys, the imperial ambassador, to Charles V, 3 November 1534 in Letters and Papers of Henry VIII’s Reign, vol. VII, 1863)
... there was no pot, nor pan, nor monk in the said house [Monmouth] except one who boards in the town. The prior is in sanctuary at Garwey. It is of the King’s foundation and all the country marvels that there is no reformation, as it can spend 60 pounds a year all charges borne ... I intend to suppress the said house for the voice of the country is that while ye have monks there ye shall have neither good rule nor good order there; and I hear such saying by the common people of all the houses of monks that ye have within Wales.
(John Vaughan, monastic visitor, to Thomas Cromwell, 1536 in G. Williams, The Welsh Church from Conquest to Reformation, 1962, p. 389)
I admonished the canons of St David’s ... in no wise to set forth feigned relics for to allure the people to superstition ... On St David’s Day, the people wilfully solemnizing the feast, certain relics were set forth which I caused to be sequestered ... Furthermore, though I might seem more presumptuous than needeth to motion any suit for the translation of the see from St David’s to Carmarthen ... I might there settle my continual consistory, assisted with learned persons, maintaining a free grammar school, with a daily lecture of Holy Scripture, whereby God’s honour preferred, the Welsh rudeness decreasing, Christian civility may be introduced to the famous renown of the King’s supremacy.
(William Barlow to Thomas Cromwell, March 1538 in Thos. Wright, Suppression of the Monasteries, 1843, pp. 184–5)
Amhauwyr Duw ffydd mawr y diffoddaist
... anghredwyr Iesu tan a gynneuaist
Y mer a’u holl esgyrn meirw y llosgaist ... Ddoe Esgob Rhufain o ddysg y profaist,
Y sy i’th deyrnas o’i waith a ddernaist; I’n dallu elyn ei dwyll a welaist,
Am aur dy ynys yma yr ordeiniaist, Y sel a’i gyfraith hyn a ddiffeithaist,
Yn iach mwy hynny, yn wych ymwahenaist. Ffalswyr crefyddwyr a’u cor a feiddaist
Am dwyll a phechod i’r llawr y’u dodaist.
(The doubters of God’s great faith thou hast destroyed ... those who did not believe in Jesus thou hast consigned to the ﬂames and burnt their dead bones to the marrow ... Thou hast tried yesterday the Bishop of Rome by thy learning and shattered what remained of his work within thy kingdom; thou has shown how the enmity of his deceit blinded us; thou has ordained that the gold of the island shall remain here; his seal and his law thou hast destroyed. Farewell to all that; well hast thou done to part us from it. The false monks and their chancels thou hast overthrown and their fraud and sin hast cast to the ground.)
(Lewys Morgannwg to Henry VIII in G. Williams, The Welsh Church from Conquest to Reformation, 1962, p. 546)
Out of which there is allowed to them [the bailiffs of Cardiff] 4s.4d. for costs and expenses sustained in burning Thomas Capper, who was attainted of heresy at Cardiff ... being in prison there by the space of 130 days.
(Bailiffs’ Accounts, 1542–3 in Cardiff Records, vol. 1, 1898, p. 225)
Nyni droeson gan ffydd Sayson,
Ni ddaw ein calonnau ni byth yn eu lle ...
Fe aeth dy demlau yma a thraw Oll yn llaw y lleygion;
A’th eglwysi ymhob lle Yn gornelau gweigion ...
Briwio’r allorau mawr eu braint A’u troi yn ddifraint ddigon;
Gosod trestel yn ddiglod
Fel gwarchiod gweddwon; Wedi ysbeilio Duw a’i dy ...
(We have been turned by the faith of the English, our hearts will never return to their rightful place ... Thy temples have, hither and thither, all gone into the hands of laymen; and thy churches everywhere are nothing but empty corners ... Destroying the altars once so privileged and turning them into deprived objects; placing an unhonoured trestle like a widow’s boards; having despoiled God and his house ...)
(Tomos ab Ieuan, Hen Gwndidau in L.H. James and T.C. Evans (eds) Hen Gwndidau, Carolau a chywyddau, 1910, pp. 33, 39, 44)
He saith that in the time of rebellion in Devonshire and Cornwall threatening to come into Wales, he, teaching the people the true form of prayer according to God’s holy word and declaring the prayer upon beads to be vain and superstitious, yet dared not, for fear of tumult, forcibly take from any man his beads without authority.
(Robert Ferrar, bishop of St David’s, referring to events of 1549 in John Foxe, Acts and Monuments, ed. Cattley and Townshend, vol. VII, 1837–41, p. 13)
Wele fraint y saint yn neshau – eilwaith
Wele’r hen ‘fferennau’
Wele Dduw a’i law ddehau
Yn gallu oll ein gwellhau.
(Behold once more the privilege of the saints draws near, behold the old masses; behold God making us whole with his right hand.)
(Siôn Brwynog, 1553 in W. Ambrose Bebb, Cyfnod y Tuduriaid, 1939, p. 93)
Now when he perceived that his time was no less near than it was reported unto him, he sent forthwith to his wife and willed her by the messenger that in any wise she would make ready and send unto him his wedding garment, meaning a shirt, which afterwards he was burned in ... Thus dies this godly and old man, Rawlins [White] for the testimony of God’s truth.
(Foxe’s account of the burning of Rawlins White, 1555 in Acts and Monuments, ed. Cattley and Townshend, vol. VII, 1837–41, pp. 32–3)
That no priest do from henceforth haunt, resort or repair to any diceing houses or common bowling alleys, or any other suspect houses or places, or otherwise behave themselves unjustly or unseemly, upon pain of deprivation of their beneﬁces.
(Injunctions of Bishop Goldwell of St Asaph, 1556 in D.R. Thomas, History of the Diocese of St Asaph, vol. I, 1908, p. 87)
In the primitive church, when there were more pagans than Christians, rather than they would deny their faith, they yielded to any kind of death ... Even so, I submit myself to any death whatsoever before I will forsake the Catholic faith.
(Edward Jones, seminary priest, martyred May 1590 in T.P. Ellis, Welsh Catholic Martyrs, 1933, p. 48)
... yr awrhon myﬁ a glywaf fod aml leoedd yng Nghymru, ie, siroedd cyfan heb un Cristion ynddynt, yn byw fel anifeiliaid, y rhan fwyaf ohonynt heb wybod dim oddi wrth ddaioni, ond eu bod yn dal enw Crist yn eu cof, heb wybod haeachen beth yw Crist mwy nag anifeiliaid. A’r mannau lle y mae rhai ohonynt yn Gristnogion, nid oes ond rhai tlodion cyffredin yn canlyn Crist. Mae’r boneddigion a’r rhai cyfoethog heb feddwl am ffydd yny byd heb fod na thwymyn nac oer.
(... and now I hear that there are many places in Wales, yea, whole shires knowing nothing of virtue, except that they retain the name of Christ in their memory, knowing hardly anything more of what Christ is than animals do. And in those places where some of them are Christians, only a few poor common people follow Christ. The gentry and the wealthy think nothing of any faith in the world and are neither hot nor cold.)
(Anon, Y Drych Cristianogawl, 1585 in G.H. Hughes, Rhagymadroddion, 1951, p. 52)
I protest I would sooner spend my living and my life also than that the enemy should possess any of Her Majesty’s dominions.
(Sir John Wogan, 1599 in G. Williams, Welsh Reformation Essays, 1967, p. 27)
... I most humbly beseech your Lordships of your Christian care to God’s religion and service and for furtherance of the Queen’s Majesty’s most godly zeal to become protectors and defenders of the Church in my diocese that it be no further troubled, spoiled or impoverished. But that small patrimony of the Church which is yet remaining to the maintenance of God’s service, may so still continue to the sustentation (as I trust) of preachers and teachers, after that the incumbents now being no preachers shall happen to depart.
(Report on his diocese of St David’s by Bishop Richard Davies, January 1570 in D.R. Thomas, Life and Work of Bishop Davies and William Salesbury, 1902, p. 44)
... Ignorance continueth many in the dregs of superstition ... images and altars standing in the churches undefaced, lewd and indecent vigils and watches observed, much pilgrimage-going, many candles set up to the honour of the saints, some relics yet carried about, and all the country full of beads and knots.
(Report on the diocese of Bangor by Bishop Nicholas Robinson, 1567 in David Mathew, ‘Some Elizabethan documents’, Bulletin of the Board of Celtic Studies, 1933, vol. VI, pp. 77–8)
... I perceive a great number to be slow and cold in the true service of God; some careless for any religion; and some that wish the romish religion again.
(Report on his diocese of St David’s by Bishop Richard Davies, January 1570 in D.R. Thomas, Life and Work of Bishop Davies and William Salesbury, 1902, p. 38)
Hence ﬂow our swarms of soothsayers and enchanters, such as will not stick openly to profess that they walk on Tuesdays and Thursdays at nights with the fairies, of whom they brag themselves to have their knowledge ... Hence proceed open defending of Purgatory and the Real Presence, praying unto images etc., with other inﬁnite monsters.
(John Penry, The Aequity of an Humble Supplication, 1587 in David Williams (ed.) Three Treatises, 1960, p. 33)
They [the magistrates] apply their power to further and continue the kingdom of Antichrist. They defend papistry, superstition and idolatry, pilgrimages to wells and blind chapels, and they procure the wardens of churches in time of visitation to perjury, to conceal images, roodlofts and altars. Here would I wish that the justices of the peace with us in Wales should receive admonition and learning, although I speak generally of them, yet I know that some of them walk uprightly and more after the will of God than others do.
(Richard Davies, Funeral Sermon ... for the Earl of Essex, 1577 in D.R. Thomas, Life and Work of Bishop Davies and William Salesbury, 1902, p. 49.)
That the Bishops of Hereford, St David’s, Asaph, Bangor and Llandaff and their Successors shall take such order amongst themselves for the Souls’ health of the ﬂocks committed to their charge within Wales, that the whole Bible, containing the New Testament and the Old, with the Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments, as is now used within this realm in English, to be truly and exactly translated into the British or Welsh tongue.
(Act for the Translation of the Bible, 1563 in Ivor Bowen, The Statutes of Wales, 1908, p. 150)
For although it is much to be desired that the inhabitants of the same island should be of the same speech and tongue, yet it is to be equally considered that to attain this end so much time and trouble are required that in the meantime God’s people would be suffered to perish from the hunger of his word, which would be barbarous and cruel beyond measure. Further there can be no doubt that similarity and agreement in religion rather than in speech much more promotes unity. To prefer unity to piety, expediency to religion, and a certain external concord among men to that extraordinary peace which the word of God impresses on the souls of men shows but little piety.
(William Morgan, Dedication to the Welsh Bible, 1588 in A.O. Evans, Memorandum on the Legality of the Welsh Bible, 1925, p. 134)
... (and now not three years past), we have had the light of the gospel, yea the whole Bible, in our native tongue, which in short time must needs work great good inwardly in the hearts of the people, whereas the service and the sacraments in the English tongue was as strange to many or most of the simplest sort as the mass in the time of blindness was to the rest of England.
(George Owen, Dialogue of the Government of Wales, in Owen, Penbrokeshire, vol. III, 1892, p. 57)
Felly, yr un modd y rhai y sy’n ddyfal ymdreiglo yn yr Ysgrythur lan sy yn dywedyd hwythau mai gorau ffydd yw’r ffydd hen, sef yr un y proffwydodd y proffwydi ohoni, yr hon a ddysgodd Crist a’i Apostolion i’r bobl yn eu hamser, a’r hon wedyn a gadarnhaodd y Merthyron a’u gwaed, gan dystio gyda hi a dioddef pob artaith hyd angau. Ac am hynny gwae’r neb a eilw hon yn newydd, o ba fodd bynnag y gwnel, ai o anwybod ai trwy wybod, i’w dwyllo’i hun ac i hudo’r bobl. At y ffydd hon yn ei Epistol yma uchod y mae’r anrhydeddus Dad, R.D., ail Dewi Mynyw, yn ceisio’ch gwahodd, eich llwybro a’ch arwain oll am yr enaid.
(So, in the same way those who are deeply learned in Holy Scriptures also say that the best faith is the old faith, namely the one of which the prophets prophesied, the one which Christ and his Apostles taught the people in their time, and the one which the Martyrs later conﬁrmed with their blood, sealing their testimony to it with every torture even to death. And for that reason, woe unto him who calls this new, whysoever he does so, whether from ignorance or consciously to deceive himself and to seduce the people. It is to this faith, in his Epistle above, that the honourable Father, Richard Davies, second Dewi of St David’s, seeks to invite, direct and lead you all for your souls’ sake.)
(William Salesbury, Introduction to the New Testament, 1567 in G.H. Hughes, Rhagymadroddion, 1951, p. 44)