THE WELSH POLICE, THE HOME OFFICE, AND THE WELSH TITHE WAR OF 1886-91 MOST of the attention paid the Welsh Tithe War of 1886-91 understandably has focused on the political and ecclesiastical aspects of the agitation. Little work has been done, except for Montgomeryshire, on the equally significant issue of public order and police response. Although there were, admittedly, no fatalities, the disturbances in the northern counties of Wales represented a degree of violence and disorder eclipsed only during the Rebecca Riots earlier in the century. Masterminded by native Welsh organizers, and sustained by a keen sense of economic and sectarian injustice, the agitation effectively defied local authority, and seriously obstructed orderly tithe collection during a period of about five years. The requirements of public order demanded frequent and extensive borrowing of manpower by the police and eventually the involvement of the military on an almost routine basis. The Conservative Home Secretary, Henry Matthews, refused to be drawn into the affair in any meaningful manner. This study focuses on the police problems experienced in Denbighshire and Flintshire, where the most serious and most sustained disturbances occurred. Resistance to tithe-paying was, of course, only one manifestation of Welsh dissent, which had been gaining ground throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but was taken seriously only following the Methodist Revival of the nineteenth century. From the early years of the century, when the Calvinistic Methodists separated from the Anglican Church in Wales (1811), Welsh Nonconformism enjoyed a heady growth until, by mid-century, dissenters accounted for fully three-quarters of the worshipping population, unevenly distributed among Baptists, Unitarians, Wesleyans, Independents, and (the most numerous) the Calvinistic Methodists (or simply Methodists, as they were always styled in Wales). Among the more salient features of Welsh Dissent, beyond its more popular and evangelical approach to religion, Kenneth O. Morgan, Wales in British Politics 1868-1922 (3rd. ed., 1980), pp. 84-94, and Rebirth of a Nation: Wales, 1880-1980 (1981), pp. 40, 42. A fuller treatment in J. P. D. Dunbabin, Rural Discontent in Nineteenth-Century Britain (1974), pp. 211-231, 282-296, is based chiefly on evidence from Montgomeryshire. 2 David Williams styles the Tithe Wars 'the Rebecca Riots of North Wales' in A History of Modern Wales (1950), p. 264.