Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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HARRIS , JOHN ( 1680 - 1738 ), bishop of Llandaff ;

son of George Harris , Milford, Pembs. He entered Jesus College , Oxford , in 1697 ( B.A. 1701 , and M.A. 1714 ). He was for some time rector of Rudbaxton, Pembs. , and from 1708 to 1729 rector of Lampeter Velfrey. In 1728 he became Fellow of Oriel ; in the same year he received the degree of D.D. from the university of Cambridge and was made canon of Canterbury cathedral . In 1729 he became vicar of Ticehurst , Sussex , dean of Hereford cathedral , and on 19 Oct. was consecrated bishop of Llandaff by the archbishop of Canterbury in Lambeth Palace chapel . In 1736 he relinquished the deanery of Hereford to become dean of Wells .

Harris was an active bishop , as is instanced by his numerous ordinations, but he will be remembered chiefly for his restoration of Llandaff cathedral . Assuming his position as ‘ head of the chapter ,’ he threw himself into the task of collecting funds and commissioned the famous architect of Bath , John Wood , to erect the ‘ Italian Temple ’ within the walls of the cathedral — a work highly appraised in his day but unstintingly condemned in the following century.

He d. 28 Aug. 1738 and was buried in Wells cathedral . A mural tablet was erected to his memory, in the south cloister, by his son.


  • Foster , Alumni Oxonienses ;
  • Acts of the Bishops of Llandaff (1908–12) ;
  • A. Ollivant , Some account of the condition of the fabric of Llandaff cathedral from 1575 to its reopening in 1857; with extracts from the act books of the Cathedral (1857) ;
  • E. J. Newell , Diocesan History of Llandaff (1902) ;
  • J. H. James , A history and survey of the cathedral church of SS. Peter, Paul, Dubritius, Teilo, and Oudoceus, Llandaff (1898) ;
  • Annual report of the Friends of Llandaff Cathedral , 1937 .


Archdeacon Lawrence Thomas, D.D., (1889-1960), Aberafan

Published date: 1959