Peninsula on W of Gt. Brit.; principality of Eng. since 1284. Area: ca. 8,016 sq. mi. Christianity did not come to Wales with Romans, but from the E, probably via Honoratus* and Martin of Tours (see Celtic Church, 2). Hostility of RC and Anglo-Saxon chs. drove early Christian Britons into mountainous districts of Wales, where they gradually diminished in numbers and finally became extinct. Then ignorance and superstition overspread the whole principality for cents. The Reformation reached Wales through England. It spread rapidly among Welsh mountaineers, but under later Stuarts ignorance, vice, and immorality prevailed in Wales. A successful system of schools was est. in the 1st half of the 18th century. Meths. became most numerous among free chs.; Presbs. grew strong; other Prots. flourished; RCs, though few, became vigorous. The Ev. Luth. Ch. of Eng. began work in Wales 1967.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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