Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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EDWARDS , ALFRED GEORGE ( 1848 - 1937 ), first archbishop of Wales ;

son of William Edwards and Louisa his wife, and brother of H. T. Edwards (q.v.) , was b. at Llan-ym-Mawddwy rectory, Mer. , 2 Nov. 1848 . After a year at the Welsh Educational Institution , Llandovery , and private tuition, he matriculated at Jesus College , Oxford , in Jan. 1870 , and graduated with honours in classics in 1874 , M.A. 1876 . He became successively assistant master and (in 1875 ) warden of Llandovery College , was ordained deacon in 1874 and priest in 1875 ; in 1885 he was preferred to the vicarage of S. Peter , Carmarthen , becoming at the same time private secretary to bishop William Basil Jones (q.v.) of S. Davids . In Feb. 1889 he was nominated bishop of S. Asaph , and was consecrated in Westminster Abbey on 25 March . On 1 June 1920 he was enthroned first archbishop of Wales at S. Asaph cathedral , and resigned in June 1934 . Throughout his life he was an outspoken champion of the rights of the Established Church ; he was a bitter opponent of the Welsh Church Bill which became law in 1914 , but his astute diplomacy did much to ensure the mitigations which are found in the Amending Act of 1919 . He was the author of Landmarks in the History of the Welsh Church , 1912 , and Memories , 1927 , which give an interesting picture of Welsh rural life in the 19th cent. , and received the honorary degrees of LL.D. (Wales) , D.C.L. (Oxon.) , and LL.D. (Cantab.) , besides being made an honorary Fellow of Jesus College , Oxford , in 1920 . He m., first, in 1875 , Caroline (d. 1884 ), daughter of Edward Edwards , Llangollen , by whom he had two sons and three daughters; second, in 1886 , Mary Laidley (d. 1912 ), daughter of W. J. Garland of Lisbon , by whom he had one son and one daughter; and third, in 1917 , Margaret , daughter of canon John Richard Armistead , vicar of Sandbach , who survived him. He d. 22 July 1937 , and was buried at S. Asaph .


  • A. G. Edwards , Memories (London, 1927) , 1927 ;
  • G. G. Lerry , Alfred George Edwards, Archbishop of Wales, etc (Oswestry, 1940) , 1940 ;
  • Foster , Alumni Oxonienses .


Thomas Iorwerth Ellis, M.A., (1899-1970), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959