The Reformation

The changes brought about by the Reformation are well documented, for example in the Valor Ecclesiasticus of 1535, the official valuation of ecclesiastical and monastic revenues which gave details of every benefice in England and Wales. For Ruabon it records the end of many of the customs of the church. From henceforth gone were ‘the offerings to our lady’ and the income from holy water. When Queen Mary brought back the old religion, the Book of Ieuan ap William ap David, Constable of Ruabon Township in 1554, recorded the changes:

A new font made by Lewys (the) mason was set up on the 15 September 1538;
on the 17 March 1548-9 the pulpit was made;
on Whit Sunday 1549 mass was discontinued, or rather the Service was altered,
and on the 4th January 1550-1 the altar was pulled down,
the first silver lost on the 12th August 1551.

A typical Renaissance figure was Dr David Powel, Vicar of Ruabon 1570-78. He was one of the most versatile and scholarly of the Welsh Elizabethan clergy. Bishop William Morgan acknowledged his help in the translation of the Bible into Welsh. Powel was named as one of only three ‘preachers’ in St Asaph diocese. As an historian he was one of the representatives of the revival of learning in Wales and as personal chaplain to Sir Henry Sidney, President of the Council of Wales, he was asked to translate the work of Humphrey Llwyd. The result was the publication in 1584 of a ‘Historie of Cambria’, now called Wales. Powel added to Llwyd’s work and in particular made much of the Madoc story of the discovery of America in the twelfth century. This was of vital importance as anti-Spanish propaganda in colonial and trade rivalries at the time of the Armada. Powel was a close friend of Dr John Dee and Blanche Parry, mistress of Queen Elizabeth’s household.

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