A history of Wales 1815-1906


D Gareth Evans

UWP 1989/1993

Clearly a book of only 320 pages to cover such an extraordinarily convoluted period in Welsh history can do no more than scratch its surface, hence the importance of each chapter's comprehensive Suggested Reading section.

**My copy of this book was deposited with Glamorgan FHS in April 2022 (Gareth Hicks)

Back cover

A History of Wales 1815-1906 is the third volume of a trilogy on the history of Wales from 1485 to 1906.
It is the first major textbook on nineteenth-century Welsh history published in recent years.
Dr Evans's work examines the main industrial, social, political and cultural developments of this dynamic era.

"It would be difficult to exaggerate the scale of change in nineteenth-century Wales, and the consequent problems in structuring a book of this sort.
It is a tribute to the author that he has delineated and analysed that change carefully, comprehensively and cogently"  ( Teaching History)

"A clear, comprehensive and thorough account of the period" (Albion)

D Gareth Evans was born in Alltwen, Pontardawe. He studied history at University College, Swansea where he gained his first degree in 1970 and his doctorate in 1978. Currently he holds the post of Principal Lecturer at Trinity College, Carmarthen. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Dr Evans was one of the contributors to Coleg Dewi a'r Fro and has written on the history of bilingual education in Wales.


To provide a more comprehensive view of the book's contents, each chapter's sub-section headings have been super-imposed onto the main Contents listing

1. Agriculture and People 1815-1850 

  • Introduction
  • General Features and Trends
  • The Early Agricultural Societies
  • Landowners and Agriculture
  • Landlords and Tenants
  • Agricultural Wage-earners
  • The Impact of the Railways

2. Industry and Communications 1815-1850 

  • Introduction
  • The Copper Industry
  • The Lead Industry
  • The Slate Industry of North Wales
  • The Woollen Industry
  • The Iron Industry
  • The Coal Industry
  • Developments in Transport and Communications
  • Canals
  • The Railways

3. The Social Scene 

  • The People's Health
  • Patterns of Health
  • Causes of the Public Health Problems
  • Case Studies
Merthyr Tydfil at Mid Century
Swansea and the Copper Smoke Nuisance
Colera Morbus 1830-1866
Accidents in the South Wales Coalfield, 1870-1906
  • Attitudes of the People
  • Poverty and the Poor Law
  • The Friendly Societies
  • Emigration
United States of America
Wales and the Atlantic Economy
  • Crime in the Nineteenth Century
Merthyr Tydfil in Mid Century

4. Religion and Society 1815-1851

  •  Background
  • The Nonconformists
  • The Established Church
  • The Temperance Movement and the Churches
  • Revivals and Revivalism

5. Education Before the Blue Books 

  •  The British Schools in Wales
  • The Contribution of the National Schools
  • The Works' Schools
The Ironworks' Schools
Schools of the Non-Ferrous Industries
Tin-plate Works' Schools
Colliery Schools
The Slate-Quarrying Schools of North Wales
  • The Sunday School
  • The Blue Books of 1847

6. Popular Protest 1815-1850

  • Rural Distress and Resiatance c1790-1830
  • The Strike of 1816
  • The Scotch Cattle
  • The Authorities and the Forces of Order
  • The Rebecca Riots
  • Chartism
Chartism in Mid Wales
The Newport Insurrection of 1839
Chartism after the Newport Rising

7. Political Developments 1815- 1850

  • The Background to Welsh Politics
  • Reform, Radicalism and Riot
  • The Carmarthen Riots of 1831
  • The Merthyr Riots of 1831
  • The Events leading to the 1832 Reform Act
  • Political Dissenting Societies and the Origins of the Disestablishment Campaign
  • Political Reform Societies
Free Trade and the Anti-Corn Law League
Parliamentary Reform and Radical Politics

8. Industry and Communications 1850-1906 

  • The Woollen Industry
  • The Iron Industry
  • The Slate Industry
  • Tin-plate Manufacture
  • The Steel Industry
  • The Coal Industry
  • Were the 1890s a Turning Point in the Economic Life of South Wales?
  • The Railway System after 1850

9. Agriculture and People 1850-1906 

  • General Features and Trends
  • Agricultural Societies post 1850
  • Landownership after 1850
  • Land Tenure and Land Hunger
  • Size of Farms
  • The Agricultural Labourer
  • The Land Question
  • The End of the Great Estates
  • Agricultural Development in the Nineteenth Century

10. Religion and Society 1851-1906 

  • The 1851 'Religious Census' and the Strength of Nonconformity
  • The Churches and Cultural Activities
  • The Revival of the Established Church
  • Revivals and Popular Religion
  • Challenges to Organised Religion

11. Education and Society   1850- 1880 

  • The British Schools
  • Church Schools
  • The Works' Schools
The Ironworks' Schools
Copperworks' Schools
Tinworks' Schools
Colliery Schools
  • Educational Problems and Government Legislation in the Years 1850-1880
  • Sir Hugh Owen and the Development of Intermediate and Higher Education

12. Political Awakening 1850 - 1880

  • The System of Parliamentary Representation in 1850
  • Health, Wealth and Politics
  • Politcal Reform Societies, 1847-1880
  • The Liberation Society
  • Trade Unions and Politics before 1880
  • The 1868 Election
The Merthyr Election of 1868
The Denbighshire 1868 Elections
  • The Aftermath of the Election

13. The Welsh Nation 1880 - 1906 

  • Industrial and Economic Growth
  • Industry, Culture and Language
  • Political Changes
  • Social Protest and Industrial Conflict
Rural Protest
Unionism, Industrial Conflict and Labour Representation
  • The National Revival