HC Deb 19 April 1833 vol 17 cc322-3
Mr. Wilbraham

presented a petition from Llangellan, and other parishes in the county of Merioneth, to which he wished to draw the attention of the House, because it went, in some measure, to contradict a statement made some time ago by a right reverend Prelate in another place. The petition complained that the most valuable livings were in the hands of non-residents, who while they pocketed from 150l. and upwards, only allowed the resident curates 10l. They complained likewise that most of the clergymen of the Established Church were generally ignorant of the Welch language, and that they consequently had to address the people in a language which they did not understand at all, or at least which they understood very imperfectly. The petitioners prayed for a reform in the enactment of tithes, and generally, for a reform in the Church Establishment.

Sir. Walkin Williams Wynn

said, that as to the Incumbents he knew that in the parishes with which he was acquainted the clergy now all understood the Welch language, and he did not believe that any of them were entirely ignorant of the Welch language, notwithstanding the many complaints that had been made of them.

Mr. Jervis

was free to admit, that there was one great cause of complaint affecting the Welch Church, and which, he regretted to say, was equally applicable to the Church throughout this kingdom—namely, absenteeism and plurality of livings. There was one complaint, however, peculiarly applicable to the Welch Church, which he could not but think must he founded in justice—the want of knowledge of the Welch language in the clergy, which ought, undoubtedly, to be removed. He thought that to this cause was to be attributed the number of dissenters to be found in Wales. The dissenting churches in that Principality were actually as two to one of the Established Churches.

Sir Walkin Williams Wynn

agreed to the necessity of having clergymen educated in the Welch language. He could only say there were respectable and most learned men among the Welch clergy. He would add that in the part of Wales where he possessed property the clergyman who had been appointed by the Bishop of Bangor, was equally celebrated for his piety and for a complete knowledge of the Welch language.

Mr. Wilbraham

said, it was impossible for him, from his own personal information, to say whether these complaints were well-founded or not; but he saw most respectable names to this petition, and among them were the names of several of the clergy themselves, as well as that of Sir Watkin Williams Wynn, and so on.

Lord Robert Grosvenor

presented a similar petition from the inhabitants of Newtown, Montgomeryshire. The noble Lord said, that many remarks had been made in another place upon the observations he had felt it his duty to submit to the House when he presented a petition with a similar prayer to the present from a numerous body of his constituents; but he was sure the House would do him the justice to remember that on the occasion to which he referred he had made no personal allusion to any individual with reference to the Church Establishment in Wales. What he had then said (and he now repeated it) was, that the petitioners complained that the ecclesiastical appointments were generally conferred on individuals who were unacquainted with Wales, and many of whom were non-resident in that country, having benefices elsewhere. He made no charge against any individual, but against the system generally. He wished to add, that the appointments made by the Bishop of St. Asaph had been most proper appointments, and he was happy to hear that those of the Bishop of Bangor had given equal satisfaction.

Mr. Jervis

supported the petition for Welch Church Reform, but was convinced that no imputation could he cast upon either of the right reverend Prelates named by his noble colleague.

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