Derwen Fawr (Welsh for “Great Oak”) was the second estate that Rees Howells, founder of the Bible College of Wales, purchased in 1929 after he had first established the College in Glynderwen estate in 1924.
The Lord had placed a burden in Rees to buy a second property to provide for an expansion of the College. The property revealed to him was that of Derwen Fawr. This site consisted of a large house and three cottages, sitting on 17 acres of grounds which included the beautiful Italian gardens. To purchase it, Rees had to contend with strong bidders, one of which was the Church of Rome. To compound matters, Britain was in the throes of the great financial depression, which made it the worst possible time to take on another liability. Rees was however convicted by the Lord that he was to take a leap of faith, trusting Him for the finances. The decision to buy was made on Christmas Eve, with Rees paying £8,000.
While Rees was still paying for the estate, God told him to erect new buildings on the grounds. These included a College Chapel, Conference Hall and Men’s and Women’s dormitories. At the time when workmen were engaged, they had not one penny. Day by day, they “prayed up, touching the Throne with every prayer”. God proved faithful, with all the expenses provided for, often at the last possible moment.