Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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PARRY , JOHN HUMFFREYS or HUMPHREYS ( 1786 - 1825 ), antiquary .

His father, Edward Perry ( 1752 - 1805 ), cleric , was the son of Edward Parry , ‘ gent. ’ , of Nerquis, Flints. ; he went up to Jesus College , Oxford , in 1772 , but Foster has no record of his graduation; W. D. Leathart (q.v.) attributes ‘ high literary attainments ’ to him; he was rector of Llangar , 1784-9 , and of Llanferres , 1789-1805 ( Thomas , S. Asaph ), but lived at Mold , keeping school and acting as curate of Mold . He m. Anne Wynne .

J. H. Parry , it would seem, was his parents’ eldest son. He was b. at Mold 6 April 1786 , and went to Ruthin school ( Thomas , op. cit., ii, 132). He was afterwards in the office of his uncle, a lawyer at Mold . On his father's death he inherited some money, went up to London in 1807 , and was called to the Bar in 1811 . But he ‘ neglected his practice ,’ fell into debt, and took to journalism , writing under the pseudonym ‘ Ordovex .’ In 1819 he founded The Cambro-Briton , of which he brought out three volumes ( 1820-2 ), and in 1824 published a biographical dictionary, The Cambrian Plutarch . He was a member of the Gwyneddigion Society , and was one of the men who, in 1820 , revived the Cymmrodorion Society — he was its secretary for a year, and edited the first volume 1822 ) of its Transactions . When, in 1822 , the government decided to print the older British historians , Parry was appointed editor of the Welsh section — Aneurin Owen (q.v.) was appointed to succeed him after his death. He was killed in a tavern brawl at the ‘ Prince of Wales ,’ Pentonville , 12 Feb. 1825 . Leathart describes him as ‘ a generally intelligent man, though somewhat hasty and overbearing .’ He left a widow and five children in great poverty; the Gwyneddigion and Cymmrodorion , chiefly through the efforts of Bardd Alaw (q.v.) , collected more than £1,000 for their benefit. One of these children was JOHN PARRY ( 1816 - 1880 ), a barrister , and one of the last to be entitled ‘Serjeant’; he appears in D.N.B. — a strong radical and a famous pleader , who appeared in some very notable cases, e.g. the Tichborne case , and Whistler v. Ruskin .

Sources:

  • Leathart , Origin and Progress of the Gwyneddigion Society of London (1831) , 54, 61, 66;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Y Cymmrodor , 1951 , 106, 151-2.


Another (the fourth) of Edward Parry 's sons was THOMAS PARRY ( 1795 - 1870 ), bishop . According to D.N.B. (which misnames his father), he was b. ‘in Denbighshire ’ — possibly, therefore, at Llanferres . He went up to Oriel College in 1812 , ‘aged 17,’ graduated with distinction in 1816 , and was Fellow of Balliol , 1818-25 . In 1824 , he was appointed archdeacon in the West Indies , and in 1842 bishop of Barbados . His health broke down and he returned to Britain in 1869 ; he d. at Malvern , 16 March 1870 .

Author:

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

Published date: 1959