Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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HARRIES ( HARRIS , HARRY ), JOHN ( 1722 - 1788 ), ‘of Ambleston ’, Pembs. , early Methodist exhorter

— not to be confused with John Harris ( 1704 - 1763 ) (q.v.) ‘of S. Kennox .’ Considering Harries 's fame, it is curious how very few definite facts about him are available. He was at an early date in charge of a group of Societies in north Pembrokeshire , and became Howel Davies 's (q.v.) right-hand man; it is by no accident that Woodstock , the oldest Calvinistic Methodist chapel in Pembrokeshire , is in Ambleston parish. On the death of Howel Davies ( 1770 ), Harries (who was a well-to-do farmer ) superintended the whole Methodist work in the county until the arrival of Nathaniel Rowland (q.v.) ; according to William Gambold (see under Gambold ), ‘he was one of the strictest and most approved of men, universally beloved’; and Rowland Hill thought very highly of him. He strove hard to stem the Moravian tide in Pembrokeshire : we find him in 1768 accusing the Brethren of ‘taking away Mr. Howell Davies 's people,’ and Edward Oliver (q.v.) reports that Harries remonstrated vigorously with him in 1770 ‘for coming among their people, as he called them’ — though the two men lodged together at Treddafydd after preaching together, amicably enough, ‘in the Methodist Meeting House .’ He d. at Newport, Pembs. , 7 March 1788 , when (according to his tombstone) 66 years of age. He had a son, EVAN HARRIES , who began to exhort in 1784 , and was one of the thirteen South Wales exhorters ordained in 1811 ; he d. 1819 . Several of John Harries 's descendants became ministers .


  • Moravian manuscript records at Haverfordwest;
  • Methodistiaeth Cymru (1851–6) , ii, 303-9;
  • Cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Hanes y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd , iv, nos. 1 and 2.


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

Published date: 1959