Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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HARRIS , SOLOMON ( 1726 - 1785 ), Arian minister and Academy tutor

Born at Cilgwyn, Cards. , 21 Feb. 1726 . He was educated under Timothy Davis (1709 - 1771) of Cilgwyn and Caeronnen who was in all probability his minister , and at Carmarthen Academy ( 1746-50 ), being assisted there by the Congregational Fund Board . In 1750 he accepted a call to the Presbyterian church , Swansea , where he was ordained 4 Sept. 1751 . In 1753 , with the help of John Bache , he opened a school which he kept going almost throughout his ministry. When Carmarthen Academy (then at Rhyd-y-gors ) closed down he was appointed tutor , and the Academy was moved to him at Swansea . The students were, however, very few in number and Harries died within a year.

It has been argued that he was the first to cause his congregation to veer towards Unitarianism . He is said to have been a Calvinist at first but neither Timothy Davis nor the churches at Cilgwyn and Caeronnen were Calvinistic in their views. Accordingly, it is suggested that he was an Arian before 1776 when he co-operated with Lewis Rees of Mynydd-bach in founding the Welsh Independent church in Swansea . In one of the Trevecka letters (at N.L.W. ) Solomon Harris is said to have implied that reason, if illuminated by the gospel, is sufficient to ensure the salvation of men. He published a Welsh sermon — Ystyriaethau ar anchwiliadwy olud Crist 1774 , and an English one in 1783 . He died 15 Aug. 1785 .


  • Yr Ymofynnydd , Nov. 1900, 258-9 ;
  • The Presbyterian Fund and Dr. Williams' Trust (1885) , 67;
  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , iv, 82;
  • Benjamin Williams (Gwynionydd) , Enwogion Ceredigion (1869) ;
  • Y Beiriniad , ii, 325;
  • Charles Lloyd , Particulars of the Life of a Dissenting Minister (1911) , 18-20.


Reverend Thomas Oswald Williams, M.A., (1888-1965), Lampeter

Published date: 1959