Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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HUGHES , JOHN ( 1796 - 1860 ), Calvinistic Methodist minister and author

Born at Adwy'r Clawdd near Wrexham 11 Feb. 1796 , son of Hugh (a carpenter ) and Mary Hughes , and grandson of Richard Hughes , Sarffle , Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog ; he was thus a brother of the Wrexham printer Richard Hughes , and a second-cousin of the poet John Ceiriog Hughes .

He began preaching in 1813 , and in 1815 began keeping school in various places; in 1819 he opened a school at Wrexham which acquired great repute, as he also took older pupils intending to enter the ministry. The Calvinistic Methodist connexion had not at that time a seminary, and a number of its future prominent preachers (e.g. Roger Edwards ) went to John Hughes 's school, which he kept going till 1834 .

In the meantime, he had become a preacher of considerable standing, but he was not ordained till 1829 , as the hyper- Calvinists of his presbytery doubted his orthodoxy. His chief motive in deserting his school for shop-keeping at Adwy'r Clawdd and afterwards ( 1838 ) at Liverpool had been the gaining of greater leisure for preaching ; and soon after his removal to Liverpool it was arranged that with Henry Rees , he should be released from other cares to undertake the pastoral charge of the Calvinistic Methodist causes in that city. He died at Abergele , 8 Aug. 1860 .

He wrote several books; the most important is his history, Methodistiaeth Cymru (3 vols., 1851-6 ), a remarkable work for the time at which it was written, and indispensable even today in spite of its shortcomings. John Hughes , indeed, was a more important man than has yet been fully realized. For various reasons, the Methodism of his family was of a more ‘nonconformist’ type than was customary in those days, and he himself, later on, played a great part in the gradual weaning of his connexion from the conservatism, ecclesiastical and political, which had hitherto marked it; his influence on Henry Rees was important; and he lent his aid to men like Lewis Edwards and Roger Edwards . A memorial volume, by Roger Edwards and John Hughes , was published in 1864 .


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

Published date: 1959