Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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ROBERTS , JOHN (‘ J.R. ’; 1804 - 1884 ), Independent minister and author ;

b. in the Old Chapel chapel-house , Llanbryn-mair , 5 Nov. 1804 , second son of John Roberts ( 1767 - 1834 ) (q.v.) . In 1806 the family went to live at Diosg farm close by, and he spent some time working on the land . He was nearly 25 years of age before he started to preach . In March 1831 he was admitted to the Academy at Newtown , which at that time was in charge of Edward Davies ( 1796 - 1857 ) (q.v.) , a Tory and a Calvinist . He does not appear to have been at all happy there, and within three years had accepted the invitation of his mother-church to assist his father and his brother S.R. ’ (q.v.) . After his father's death he was ordained, 8 Oct. 1835 , as joint minister with his brother. He spent a year ( 1838-9 ) as minister of Llansantsiôr and Moelfre near Abergele , but returned to Llanbryn-mair , where he remained until 1848 when he went to Ruthin. He then went to London to take charge of the Welsh church at Aldersgate Street and stayed there until 1860 , when he came to Conway , where he d. 7 Sept. 1884 ; he was buried in Conway cemetery.

Although early in his career he had come into prominence as a preacher , it was as a controversialist and editor that he chiefly distinguished himself. After his brother S.R. had left Wales he took over the editorship of Y Cronicl , which he continued to edit until his death. He succeeded in maintaining this periodical's popularity although his interests were not as wide as those of his brother. He tended to make it a field for discussion and recrimination on denominational affairs. His style of writing was rhetorical and fluent, and he could write a good poem; the late Professor W. J. Gruffydd considered his lyric, ‘ Eisteddai teithiwr blin ,’ one of the best in the language. A testimonial was collected for him at Conway and he made over the money to the building of a new chapel , which is still known as ‘ Capel y Dysteb ’ (the Testimonial Chapel ). He published Traethodau, Pregethau ac Ymddiddanion , 1854 ; Y Gyfrol Olaf o Bregethau , 1876 ; Hanesion y Beibl ar Ffurf Ymddiddanion , 1880 ; Dadleuon a Darnau i'w Hadrodd .

Sources:

  • E. Pan Jones , Cofiant y Tri Brawd o Llanbrynmair a Conwy , Bala, 1892 ;
  • R. Williams , Montgomeryshire Worthies , second ed., 1894 , 284-5;
  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , v, 308-10;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Glanmor Williams , Samuel Roberts, Llanbrynmair , Cardiff, 1950 .

Author:

Reverend Richard Griffith Owen, M.A., (1890-1973), Bangor

Published date: 1959