Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , GRIFFITH ( 1587? - 1673 ), bishop and author ;

b. at Treflan , near Caernarvon . He was educated at a school at Caernarvon , at Christ Church , Oxford , 1604-6 (to which he was admitted 15 June 1604 , ‘at the age of 16’), and at Jesus College , Cambridge , 1606-8 ( B.A. Cantab. 1606 , M.A. 1609 , B.D. 1616 , D.D. 1621 ). He was ordained priest 30 May 1607 , and became rector of Foscott (Bucks) , 1608-12 , lecturer at S. Peter and S. Paul , London , and rector of S. Bennet Sherhog , 1612-6 . At this time he aroused opposition by preaching against the Puritans . When he published his book, The Resolutions of Pilate , the bishop of London inhibited him from preaching but through the intervention of the archbishop of Canterbury he was appointed to the living of Llanllechid, Caerns. It was he who preached the funeral sermon at the burial of Sir Richard Bulkeley in 1621 , taking as his text Psalm cxiv, 5. In July 1644 he preached at the funeral of Katherine , daughter of William Lewis of Llandygài , when archbishop John Williams and the bishop of Bangor were present, and he is mentioned as one of the mourners at the burial of archbishop John Williams at Llandygài in 1650 . He was appointed rector of Trefdraeth in 1626 and dean of Bangor in 1634 . In 1635 he was summoned before the court of high commission for neglecting his wife, and he had to enter into a bond of £500 that he would treat her properly in future. In 1636 he was made one of the king's chaplains and in 1641 was appointed bishop of Ossory in Ireland . Shortly after his consecration the Civil War broke out and he fled from Ireland , staying for some time at Llanllechid and wandering about until the Restoration . During this time he visited Ireland on several occasions and, in 1647 , was appointed rector of Rathfarnham . In 1661 he resumed his bishopric and is said to have been the first to pray publicly in Ireland for king Charles II . He d. 29 March 1673 , and was buried in Ossory cathedral. He left to the poor property in Llanllechid , Conway , and Llandygài . He published The Resolutions of Pilate , 1616 ; Seven Goulden Candlesticks , 1624 ; The True Church , 1629 ; The Discovery of Mysteries or the Plots, etc. , 1643 ; A Sermon preached before the House of Commons , 1644 ; Jura Majestatis, the Rights of Kings , 1644 ; The Great Anti-Christ Revealed , 1660 ; Seven Treatises , 1661 ; A True Relation of a Law Proceeding betwixt Griffith, Lord Bishop of Ossory and Sir G. Ayskue , 1663 ; Persecution and Oppression of John Bale and Griffith Williams, bishops of Ossory , 1664 ; Several Sermons on Solemn Occasions , 1665 ; Four Treatises , 1667 ; Vindiciae Regum, or the Grand Rebellion, that is a looking glass for Rebels.


  • The Persecution and Oppression … of John Bale, that was called to be Bishop of Ossory, by the sole election … of that pious King, Edw. 6. and of Griffith Williams, that was called after the same manner to the same Bishoprick (London, 1664) , London, 1664 , 3-13;
  • Sir John Wynn , The History of the Gwydir Family (1927) ( 1927 ed.), ‘Memoirs,’ 75;
  • Ware , Irish Bishops , ii, 420-7;
  • T. Richards , Cymru a'r Uchel Gomisiwn, 1633-1640 (Liverpool, 1930) , 83-6, 102-3, 133, 135;
  • Leslie , Ossory Clergy and Parishes being an account of the Clergy of the Church of Ireland in the diocese of Ossory, from the earliest period … With a map of the diocese and portraits of some post-disestablishment bishops (Enniskillen, 1933) , 17-9, 77, 104, 133, 135;
  • Transactions of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society and Field Club , 1948 , 31.


Griffith Thomas Roberts, M.A., Llanrug

Published date: 1959