DYFED-L ArchivesArchiver > DYFED > 2009-02 > 1233937553
From: Jennifer Cairns <>
Subject: Re: [Dyfed] Welsh origin of the "No Hellers"
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 2009 08:25:53 -0800 (PST)
Dear Glen and Glyn
I'd never heard of them either... we should have snow more often.... as I have discovered the following (and as far as I can make out, the only) rather tenuous link with Wales is not Glamorgan but Pembrokeshire (Saundersfoot)- so on topic for Dyfed List !
Schama was right...
It is a rather imprecise link as you will see... keep on going until you reach the bit about the Appalachian Primitive Baptists who appear to be the original No-Hellers, but didn't split with their original church until 1924. Delaware is taken as part of the Appalachians.
The route seems to be
RELLY born Pembs 1722 > Murray born England 1741 > USA/Universalists > Primitive Baptists > Primitive Baptist Universalists (of Appalachia), who came up with the idea of "No Hell" in 1924
[the main church body of US Universalists moved on to merge with the US Unitarians in 1961]
In more detail...
Extracts mostly from
James Relly (c.1722-April 25, 1778) was, as a young British minister, one a sizable group of Methodist preachers, including George Whitefield and John Wesley, whose itinerant preaching initiated a sweeping revival in large parts of Great Britain during the mid-18th century.
Wesley and Relly eventually separated from Whitefield in their theologies. While Wesley moved towards Arminianism, Relly became a universalist.
After the Methodist disruption of 1751, a sect emerged known as the Rellyites, or Rellites. The Rellyites had meeting houses at Pembroke and Templeton in Pembrokeshire and a hymnbook, Christian hymns, poems and spiritual songs, published in London in 1754, to which both James and John Relly contributed. Years later, John Murray republished the hymnbook in America, adding some hymns of his own. The Pembrokeshire Rellyites were on friendly terms with the Moravians and were probably later absorbed into their churches.
Relly's new preaching converted John Murray, who afterward spread Rellyism along the eastern seaboard of America.
James Relly was born in the Saundersfoot neighbourhood of 'Little England', an English-speaking area of Pembrokeshire in south west Wales. Educated at the local grammar school, he had been apprenticed as 'a cow-farrier'.
But Relly's lasting heritage was conveyed to America by his most devoted disciple, John Murray. Murray emigrated to New England, after a time of grief and trouble, with a set purpose to lead a quiet, reclusive life. He instead became a celebrated evangelist and a founder of the organization that eventually became the Universalist Church of America (which merged in 1961 with the American Unitarian Association to form Unitarian Universalist Association).
The Primitive Baptist Universalists (or PBUs) are a Calvinist Christian Universalist sect based primarily in the central Appalachian region of the United States. They are popularly known as "No-Hellers" due to their belief (unlike most other Christian denominations) that there is no Hell per se, but that Hell is actually experienced in this life.
They did not split as a denomination away from other Primitive Baptists until 1924. [from the dreaded Wikipedia]
I presume that their Baptist Universalist group was an offshoot of the Murray organisation.
I understand from the half an hour or so I have spent on this subject that they promoted the idea of "no hell" in the hereafter because they claimed we suffer enough in the present world.
I think I will stop there.
--- On Thu, 2/5/09, Glen Jenkins <> wrote:
> From: Glen Jenkins <>
> Subject: [Dyfed] Welsh origin of the "No Hellers"
> To: "Dyfed List" <>
> Date: Thursday, February 5, 2009, 10:49 PM
> Hello all
> I am reading Michale Schama's book The American Future:
> A History and in it he describes his visit to the
> "Macedonia chapel of the Primitive Baptist
> Universalists Church" near the small town of Raven,
> Schama states the congregation were "the descendents
> of Welsh Tract Baptists who had settled around Newark,
> Deleware some time in the early eighteenth century. Moving
> to Raven to find "sheep pastures and coal mines".
> The congregation are described as the "No
> Hellers" because they refuse to believe in hell.
> You history lovers on this site may have heard of No
> Hellers before but its new to me and I wondered what part of
> Wales would they have come from? Could they have originated
> at Rhydwilym in Carmarthenshire?
> What early baptist churches are there in c1750s that could
> have been a source of this group?
> Glen Jenkins
> Dyfed list http://home.clara.net/daibevan/DyfedML.html
> To unsubscribe from the list, please send an email to
> with the word
> 'unsubscribe' without the quotes in the subject and
> the body of the message
|Re: [Dyfed] Welsh origin of the "No Hellers" by Jennifer Cairns <>|