It was as a historian of Congregationalism that R. Tudur Jones made his mark. His history of Welsh Congregationalism - Hanes Annibynwyr Cymru which appeared in 1965 has long been recognised as the standard and authoritative work in the field. A scholarly piece of work written in an accessible style, this has now been ably translated by Ann Corkett and Robert Pope and sensitively edited by Robert Pope. This translation makes available to English readers a key aspect of Welsh and Welsh-English history as well as church history. The history of dissent in Wales is a thrilling one. Although the Welsh Independents were part of a British movement they also have their own history which includes its own prominent figures, hotheads, heroes and martyrs. R. Tudur Jones shows how Wales's religious history is intertwined with the emergence of a national identity. He examines religious and social history, events, characters and thought over four centuries during which Congregationalism has existed and chronicles the history of Wales and the strengthening of its literary traditions and its national identity.
The book has value, then, as a chronicle of a history of a specific expression of Christianity in Wales and also in the way in which this was associated with the emergence of a distinct and political consciousness among the Welsh.
Robert Pope is Lecturer in Contemporary and Applied Theology, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Wales, Bangor.