Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , ROWLAND ( 1779 - 1854 ), cleric ;

b. at Ty'nypwll , Mallwyd , Merioneth , and christened 27 March 1779 , son of Richard Williams and Catherine his wife. He went to a school held in Mallwyd church , then as a private pupil to Peter Williams , vicar of Betws-yn-Rhos , Abergele , then to Ruthin grammar school . He matriculated at Oxford from Jesus College , 24 May 1798 , took his B.A. in 1802 and his M.A. in 1805 . Ordained deacon in 1802 by bishop Randolph of Oxford , he went as usher to Friars School , Bangor , in 1803 , being licensed also to the curacy of Llandygài . He soon made a deep impression on the district. In 1807 he was appointed vicar of Cilcain , near Mold ; in 1809 to Halkyn ; in 1819 to Meifod, Mont. In 1836 he returned to Flintshire , to Ysgeifiog , and remained there till his death on 28 Dec. 1854 . He was buried at Ysgeifiog , and there is a memorial window to him at the west end of S. Asaph cathedral . He m. Jane Wynne Jones of Tre-iorwerth , near Bodedern , Anglesey , and they had three sons and five daughters. One of his sons was Rowland Williams ( 1817 - 1870 ) (q.v.) .

Rowland Williams began to take an interest in Welsh literary matters from the time he went to Bangor , and in 1805 was appointed secretary of the Bangor Tract Society . He was one of the ‘literary clergy’ who were very active during the ‘twenties and ‘thirties of the 19th cent., and he was considered an authority on Welsh . He was one of the four men appointed to revise the Welsh Book of Common Prayer (their work was published in 1841 ). He was a firm believer in the possibilities of the Welsh Church Press , and did much to further the publication of various magazines . He wrote at some length himself to these magazines, and also published some sermons. He, like his son, took an active part in the struggle ( 1843-6 ) to prevent the union of the sees of S. Asaph and Bangor in order to provide for the new diocese of Manchester .


  • A. O. Evans , A Chapter in the History of the Welsh Book of Common Prayer; or, the letters which were written preparatory to the revised edition of 1841. Annotated, with biographical sketches (Bangor, 1922) ;
  • Thomas , A History of the Diocese of St. Asaph ;
  • Geirlyfr Bywgraffiadol o Enwogion Cymru (1870) ;
  • R. Williams , Montgomeryshire Worthies (1894) ;
  • Foster , Alumni Oxonienses .


Thomas Iorwerth Ellis, M.A., (1899-1970), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959