St Melyd's Ap Morgan

St. Melyd’s Church in the village of Meliden in North Wales I called at one sunny afternoon this month. It was much meddled with in the nineteenth-century, though traces of its real antiquity have been allowed to survive. Like many Anglican establishments, it displays a list of its clergy, much as we do on our website, but this one, naturally, goes back much further. One incumbent, Morgan ap Morgan, was ‘deprived by order of the Commonwealth’.

When the commonwealth's puritan government of the 1640s and 50s held power, it enthusiastically removed ‘malignants’ from pulpits and vicarages. Some lived loose lives, others were too ritualistic in their devotion, some were plain lazy. Thankfully, the Parliament’s Committee of Triers and Ejectors attempted to place a good, gospel preacher in every parish, while removing lame ducks. Unfortunately, their attentions were also brought to those whose political beliefs were deemed unacceptable. Much as I salute that government’s attempts to improve parish ministry, saving the denizens of Meliden from whatever offense Morgan ap Morgan was offering, within thirteen years it was the puritans themselves who were being expelled. Governmental interference in church life seldom ends well; we as Independents are more cushioned from it than our brethren in the state church, but the time will come when we too may have inspectors vetting our preachers and approving, or otherwise, our pastors.