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National Library of Wales
Harris, Howell, diaries and manuscripts

Reference code(s): GB 0210 HOWHARR

Held at: National Library of Wales

Title: Howell Harris Diaries and Manuscripts

Short Title: Harris, Howell, diaries and manuscripts

Creation date(s): 1735-1778

Level of description: Fonds

Extent: 1.001 cubic metres (35 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Howell Harris (1714-1773)


Administrative/Biographical history: Howell Harris (1714-1773), the religious reformer, was born at Trefeca in the parish of Talgarth, Breconshire. He served as a schoolmaster at Llangorse from 1732 to 1735 when he was converted by the preaching of the vicar of Talgarth. He himself began to evangelize in the neighbourhood, and entered St Mary Hall, Oxford, in the hope of taking holy orders, but left after a few days. He was refused ordination by the bishop on four occasions because of his preaching activities out of doors and in private houses. He came into contact with like-minded religious enthusiasts such as Daniel Rowland and William Williams (Pantycelyn) in Wales and George Whitefield and the Wesley brothers in England. Harris became the organizer of the Methodist Revival in Wales, the creator of the 'societies' and 'associations'. He remained anxious to keep the doors of Wales open for John Wesley, which was the root of a rift between himself and his fellow leaders resulting in 'The Great Schism' in their ranks. In 1754 he retired from his public life to Trefeca where he assembled a 'Family' of converts to live and work with him, and began a press in 1757. Three years later he became reconciled with his former friends and returned to the work of the Revival. He was not an outstanding preacher, but possessed charisma, abounding energy and persuasiveness. He was a founder member of the Brecknockshire Agricultural Society in 1755 and served as a militia captain in charge of a company from 'the Family'. He kept detailed 'journals', kept a few hymns and attempted an autobiography. He died in 1773.


Scope and content/abstract: The collection, 1735-1778, comprises a 'short account' of Howell Harris's life, a long series of diaries, 1735-1772, memoranda, 'observations' and notes, prayers, a few letters, a note, 1742, on the differences between Howell Harris (and John Whitefield) and John Wesley, a statement, 1744, on Harris's intended marriage, extracts from diaries, spiritual observations, minutes of associations, miscellaneous memoranda and receipts, and a series of notes relating to 'affairs at Trevecka'.


Language/scripts of material: English, Welsh

System of arrangement: Arranged into one chronological sequence.

Conditions governing access: The diaries are not to be consulted without the prior written permission of Rev. J. E. Wynne Davies, Garthowen, Iorwerth Avenue, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright regulations apply.

Finding aids: A hard copy of the catalogue is available at the National Library of Wales. The catalogue can be accessed online.

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records have been retained

Accruals: Accruals are not expected

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition: 'Received into the National Library of Wales for safe custody for the duration of the War, May 9, 1941'.


Related material: There is a further group of Howell Harris manuscripts in NLW, CMA 27693-27840.


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by J. Graham Jones for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: NLW, List of the Diaries and Manuscripts of Howell Harris; Dictionary of Welsh Biography down to 1940 (London, 1959), pp. 339-40.

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2, and LCSH

Date(s) of descriptions: August 2006

Calvinistic Methodism | Wales
Calvinistic Methodists | Wales
Harris, Howell, | 1714-1773 | Archives
Harris, Howell, | 1714-1773 | Diaries

Personal names
Harris , Howell , 1714-1773

Corporate names
Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Church


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