Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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HARRY , MILES ( 1700 - 1776 ), Baptist minister ;

b. in Bedwellty parish, Mon. , of good yeoman family, on 1 Jan. 1700 . He was baptized at Blaenau Gwent in 1724 and ordained there in 1729 ; in 1731 he was appointed assistant to his brother, JOHN HARRY , minister of the church. In 1732 he became the first minister of Pen-y-garn , Pontypool , and he held the charge until his death on 1 Nov. 1776 ; there too he was buried.

Miles Harry was probably the outstanding Welsh Baptist minister of his time, and a man of note in public life. His strong personality, vigorous mind and tireless energy made him widely influential. Religion was his primary concern, and for its propagation he spent his strength and substance. A popular preacher and powerful Baptist apologist , he was a liberal, independent thinker in theology, treading a middle path between High Calvinism and Arminianism . He established several new churches ; helped to found and to supervise the Trosnant Baptist Academy ; promoted the setting-up at Pontypool ( 1740-2 ) by Samuel and Felix Farley , Bristol , of the first printing press in Monmouthshire ; wrote countless letters to London and elsewhere in the Baptist interest. It was chiefly through his efforts that Howel Harris , when charged with causing a riot at Pontypool , was acquitted at the Monmouth Assizes in Aug. 1739 . He collaborated with his brother John Harry and with John Phillips in a Welsh version ( 1725 ) of Alleine 's Some Discoveries . He has had no biographer, but his successor at Pen-y-garn , David Jones ( 1741 - 1792 ) (q.v.) , wrote an elegy: ‘ Marwnad y Parchedig Mr. Miles Harries o Drosnant ’ ( Carmarthen , 1777 ).

Sources:

  • Trafodion Cymdeithas Hanes Bedyddwyr Cymru . 1926 .

Author:

Reverend Edward William Price Evans, M.A., (1887-1972), Pontypool

Published date: 1959