Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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HARRIS , JOHN ( 1704 - 1763 ), ‘of S. Kennox ’ ( Llawhaden, Pembs. ), Methodist and Moravian exhorter —

not to be confused with John Harries ( 1728 - 1788 ) (q.v.) , ‘of Ambleston ’; b. at Newport, Pembs. , on Good Friday, 1704 . His wife was Esther Davies (d. 1766 ), daughter of Llewelyn Davies of Clynfyw , Manordivy — it was her sister Letitia , wife of James Bowen of Dygoed , Clydey , who in 1739 invited Howel Harris to visit Pembrokeshire for the first time. Harris was early a Methodist ; it was he who welcomed Howel Davies to the county; and he had charge of a group of societies in Little England .’ But by 1747 he was at variance with the Methodists ; they doubted his orthodoxy, and he disliked their enthusiastic transports. He ceased to attend Association meetings, and on 1 Aug. was excommunicated by Howel Harris . According to a Moravian record (see Cymm. , xlv, 34), he was then offered the pastorate of Albany Independent church at Haverfordwest , but preferred ( c. 1750-3 ) to associate himself with the brothers Relly (qq.v.) . In 1753 , under the influence of the Moravian missioner John Cennick , he joined the Brethren . He d. 21 Oct. 1763 , and was buried at S. Thomas's , Haverfordwest . A sister of his was m. to George Gambold (see under Gambold ). Harris 's daughter Anne ( Davies ) kept school at Haverfordwest ; she was still alive in 1806 , for ‘Widow Ann Davies , late Harris ’ appears in the Congregation catalogue of that year.


  • ‘Account of John Harris,’ and other manuscript Moravian records at Haverfordwest.


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

Published date: 1959