Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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FRANCIS , ENOCH ( 1688/9 - 1740 ). Baptist minister ,

b. at Pant-y-llaethdy on the Teify , between Llanllwni and Llanybydder , son of Francis David Francis , of a family whose religious roots were at Rhydwilym ; see the table by T. Shankland in Traf. Cymd. Hanes Bed. , 1911-12 , which shows that at least eleven of the family became ministers . Enoch Francis 's upbringing was in the ‘ Tivy-side church ,’ either at its first centre at Glandŵr ( Llandysul ), or at Dre-fach , or (perhaps more probably) at Rhos-goch ( Llanarth ). About 1707 he began preaching , at Llanllwni ; when he was ordained assistant to James Jones (d. 1734 ), pastor of ‘ Tivy-side ,’ is not known, but it was obviously before 1721 , the year in which he was selected to preach at the Baptist Association meeting (at Hengoed ) in 1722 . He had m. ( c. 1718 ) Mary Evans , of Hengoed , and was living at Capel Iago in Llanybydder . His Association sermon in 1729 (at Llangloffan ) was published — reprint in Traf. Cymd. Hanes Bed. , 1911-12 . In the Arminian controversy of 1729 , when his second-cousin Abel Francis (q.v.) went over to Arminianism , Enoch Francis was on the Calvinist side, and in 1733 published Gair yn ei Bryd , in defence of Calvinism . By that time, he had moved to Pen-y-gelli on the outskirts of Newcastle Emlyn , and had been since 1734 superintendent minister of ‘ Tivy-side ,’ with four or five collaborators — the church had a number of congregations, which later on became separate churches, such as Aberduar , Pant Teg , etc. Francis itinerated diligently within (and without) his wide circuit, and acquired great fame as a preacher — to judge from the words of Joshua Thomas and others, it would seem that ‘majesty’ and sobriety, rather than revivalistic emotionalism, were the marks of his preaching. In Aug. 1739 his wife d., and on 4 Feb. 1739/40 (when away from home, at Fishguard ) he himself d., at the age of fifty-one; he and his wife were buried at Cilfowyr . He had six children. A daughter of his m. Stephen Davies (q.v.) ; and Jonathan Francis of Pen-y-fai (q.v.) and Benjamin Francis of Horsley (q.v.) were sons of his. As has been mentioned, Abel Francis was his second-cousin.

Sources:

  • Joshua Thomas , Hanes y Bedyddwyr ymhlith y Cymry (more particularly 374-84), and A History of the Baptist Association in Wales , 1795 .

Author:

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

Published date: 1959