Monday, 21 May 2012

Annie Davies, Evan Roberts and the love song of the Welsh Revival

Annie Davies was a church singer from Maesteg who became well known for her rendition of Here is love vast as the ocean during the 1904 Welsh Revival and the ministry of Evan Roberts.  Annie became the main soloist at meetings led by Evan Roberts.  There were rumours that they were engaged. The handsome Evan Roberts did not marry the lovely singer, but he remained single. It is recorded that congregations were often moved to tears when Annie Davies sang.  This great hymn that she often sang was known as "the love song of the Welsh Revival".  It was in fact written by William Rees.

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion
 fountains opened deep and wide
Through the floodgates of God's mercy
 flowed the vast and gracious tide,
Grace and love like mighty rivers
 poured incessant from above
Heaven's peace and perfect justice
 kissed a guilty world in love.

My mother in law remembered Evan Roberts, who died in 1951.  She said that he was a very attractive man who had many female admirers.  At one time Evan Roberts was quite a celebrity in South Wales, but he died in obscurity. The newspapers, such as the Western Mail, helped him gain popularity.  But he was a really anointed preacher who drew large crowds and saw many people come to faith and salvation in Christ. My wife's grandmother was in Sunday School in Llanelli during the Welsh Revival and remembered hearing him preach to thousands.

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