‘One of the least things in religion’
The Welsh experience of church polity, 1640–60
in Church polity and politics in the British Atlantic world, c. 1635–66
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The chapter looks at the issue of political policy and church polity in mid-seventeenth-century Wales. It eschews the focus on the formation of independency and baptist churches traditionally found in studies of Wales in the period. Instead, the chapter looks at the activities of the Long Parliament, particularly the Herefordshire MP Sir Robert Harley, in the attempt to institute the Long Parliament’s projected presbyterian settlement in Wales. The chapter argues that the failure of presbyterianism to take roots in Wales in the period was due to its essentially English and politically metropolitan character. Conversely the success of independency and baptists’ forms of church polity owed much to its propagation by godly Welsh preachers.


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