Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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FRANCIS , BENJAMIN ( 1734 - 1799 ), hymnist, Baptist minister ,

b. at Pen-y-gelli near Newcastle Emlyn , was the youngest child of Enoch Francis (q.v.) . As his parents died when he was only six he was brought up at Swansea , and was baptized there in 1749 . In 1753 he went to Bristol Baptist Academy , and at the close of 1755 was invited to assist in the ministry at Broadmead . He removed in 1756 to Chipping Sodbury , and thence in 1759 to Horsley , where he d. 14 Dec. 1799 . Though he lived for so many years in England , Benjamin Francis clung to the Welsh language. He frequently attended the Welsh Association , and preached fourteen times at its meetings. He published two collections of hymns in Welsh ( 1774 , 1786 ), each bearing the title Aleluia . As a hymnist , he is in general held to have been over-fond of alliteration and internal rhyme, but several of his hymns are still sung. Other Welsh verse of his is specified by Charles Ashton (406), and he also published English poems.

Sources:

  • Joshua Thomas , Hanes y Bedyddwyr ymhlith y Cymry , 119, 383, and A History of the Baptist Association in Wales , 1795 ;
  • Evan Isaac , Prif Emynwyr Cymru , 1925 , 1925 ;
  • J. Thickens , Emynau a’u Hawduriaid , 1945 , 1945 .

Author:

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

Published date: 1959