A chapel for sale

A new society (part 3)

A secular society

At the beginning of the 20th century there was much pride in the presumed devoutness of the Welsh. The vast majority considered themselves to be adherents of organised religion and the religious revival of 1904-05 saw a huge outpouring of spiritual zeal.

By the end of the century, Wales was one of the most secular societies in Europe, with less than 10% of the population having a formal association with a place of worship.

Sabbatarianism, a central feature of Welsh life a century ago, virtually vanished as the successive votes on the Sunday closing of public houses amply shows. The time and energy previously spent on religious activities found new outlets.

However, it is by no means clear that the decline in religion resulted in a decline in compassion, for Welsh society in the late twentieth century could be seen to be less oppressive.


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