Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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HALL , BENJAMIN ( 1802 - 1867 ), lord Llanover .

Son of Benjamin Hall ( 1778 - 1817 ), born 8 Nov. 1802 . He m., 4 Dec. 1823 , Augusta Waddington . Elected M.P. for the Monmouth boroughs in 1831 he was unseated on petition, but was again returned in 1832 , and remained member until 1837 when he was transferred to Marylebone . He was created baronet in 1838 , and in July 1855 became commissioner for works , the great clock of Westminster which was erected during his period of office being on that account called ‘ Big Ben .’ He was raised to the peerage on 29 June 1859 , during Palmerston 's second administration, as baron Llanover of Llanover and Aber-carn . He d. 27 April 1867 . He engaged in bitter controversy with bishop Connop Thirlwall on the state of the church in the diocese of S. Davids , and championed the right of the Welsh people to have religious services in their own tongue.

His importance in the history of Wales is entirely overshadowed by that of his wife. AUGUSTA WADDINGTON was b. 21 March 1802 , the younger daughter of Benjamin Waddington of Ty Uchaf , Llanover , and of Georgina Port , a great-niece of Mrs. Delaney . On her marriage with Benjamin Hall the neighbouring estates of Llanover and Aber-carn were united. Her sister had already m. baron Bunsen (later German ambassador to Great Britain ) whose circle was interested in Celtic studies. In 1834 she won a prize at a Cardiff eisteddfod for an essay on the Welsh language, and at this time seems to have adopted the pseudonym Gwenynen Gwent . Under the influence of Thomas Price ( Carnhuanawc) she became an early member of ‘ Cymreigyddion y Fenni .’ Although she spoke but little Welsh she organized her household on what were considered Welsh lines and gave Welsh titles to her servants. She was a patron of the Welsh Manuscripts Society and of the Welsh Collegiate Institution at Llandovery . She acquired the manuscripts of Edward Williams ( Iolo Morganwg ) now in the National Library of Wales , by purchase from Taliesin Williams ( Taliesin ab Iolo ) . She collaborated with Maria Jane Williams , Aber-pergwm ( see Williams of Aberpergwm ) and Brinley Richards in a collection of Welsh airs . She gave financial assistance to D. Silvan Evans in connection with his dictionary. Her other main interests were temperance work and a militant protestantism . She endowed two Calvinistic Methodist churches , Capel Rhyd-y-meirch and Aber-carn , where services were to be conducted in Welsh [but with a liturgy based upon the Book of Common Prayer ]. She edited the Autobiography and Correspondence of Mrs. Delaney in six volumes ( 1861 and 1862 ), and published a medley, Good Cookery … and Recipes communicated by the Hermit of the Cell of St. Gover … 1867 , with illustrations by herself, and coloured plates illustrating Welsh female costumes ( c. 1843 ). She survived her husband by over twenty-eight years and d. 17 Jan. 1896 .

Her only surviving child, Augusta , m. 12 Nov. 1846 , Arthur Jones of Llanarth , of an old Roman Catholic family which later assumed the name of Herbert . Their son, Major-General Sir IVOR CARADOC HERBERT ( 1851 - 1934 ), became baron Treowen in 1917 . He presented the Llanover MSS. to the National Library of Wales in 1916 .


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • John Lloyd , The early history of the old South Wales Iron Works (1760 to 1840) from original documents (1906) , 1906 ;
  • W. R. Williams , The History of the Parliamentary Representation of Wales (1895) , 1895 ;
  • The Cardiff Times , 25 Jan. 1896 .


Emeritus Professor David Williams, D.Litt., (1900-78), Aberystwyth

Corrections and additions:

Published date: 1959