Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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MAURICE , MATHIAS ( 1684 - 1738 ), Independent minister and writer ;

son of a tailor at Llanddewi-Velfrey (Pembs.) , and himself a tailor , according to the unkindly taunt of Jeremy Owen (q.v.) . He became a member of Henllan Amgoed congregation, then went to William Evans (d. 1718 ) (q.v.) , at Carmarthen , to prepare himself for the ministry; he would seem to have been there at the time of the first schisms ( 1707-9 ) at Henllan . In the second schism ( 1711 ) at Henllan , Maurice joined Henry Palmer (q.v.) and others in their migration to Rhyd-y-ceisiaid . Early in 1713 he became minister at Olney (Bucks.) , but in Nov. 1714 was called to Rothwell (Northants) to succeed Richard Davis (q.v.) — a natural choice, when we remember the High Calvinism and the championship of absolute congregational self-government which he had already shown at Henllan . In 1726 he wrote a short pamphlet, Byr a chywir Hanes Eglwys Rhydyceished yn eu Nheulltuad o Henllan, trwy y Blynyddoedd 1707 , 1708 , 1709 , which he printed in 1727 as an appendix to his book Y Wir Eglwys (it was reprinted by D. M. Lewis in the 1925 number of Y Cofiadur , 41-9); Jeremy Owen 's pamphlet, Golwg ar y Beiau , etc., 1732 , was a reply to it. Maurice 's works are listed in Llyfryddiaeth y Cymry , under 1711 , 1720 , 1727 , 1733 , 1734 , 1759 . The most popular of his original writings was Social Religion Exemplify'd , 1759 , which had gone through seven editions by 1860 . An abridgement of it, by Dr. Edward Williams ( 1750 - 1813 ) (q.v.) , was translated into Welsh in 1797 by Benjamin Evans of Dre-wen (q.v.) , and the whole work by Evan Evans ( 1804 - 1886 ) of Nant-y-glo (q.v.) in 1862 ; both went into more than one edition. Maurice d. at Rothwell in 1738 (date unknown).


  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , iii, 346-7;
  • D. M. Lewis in Y Cofiadur , 1925 , 22-49;
  • T. Richards in A History of Carmarthenshire , ii, 1939 , 165-70;
  • Univ. of Wales reprint of Jeremy Owen 's Golwg ar y Beiau y sydd yn yr hanes a brintiwyd ynghylch pedair neu bum mlynedd i nawr, ym mherthynas i'r rhwygiad a wnaethbwyd yn Eglwys Henllan … 1707, 1708, 1709 (Carmarthen, 1732-3) (introduction).


Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Corrections and additions:


He d. 1 Sept. 1738 ; his widow Elizabeth d. 8 Oct. 1771 , 73 years old. (Minutes of the congregation in Rothwell ; see N. Glass , The Early History of the Independent Church at Rothwell ( Northampton , 1871 ). N.L.W. and Bala-Bangor College library.

He published a number of English books, including Monuments of Mercy ( 1729 ), A modern question affirmed and approved ( 1739 ).


George Thomas Streather, Kettering, Northants

Published date: 1959