Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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JENKINS , DAVID ERWYD ( 1864 - 1937 ), Calvinistic Methodist minister and historian ;

b. in 1864 at Llwyn-y-wiwer , Pont-Yates, Carms. , son of John and Sarah Jenkins . The parents were Baptists , but the son, when a shop apprentice at Llanelly , joined Capel Newydd C.M. church there. After a time spent in London , he became a draper's assistant at Newport, Mon. ; and it was there, in 1885 , at Ebenezer C.M. church , that he began preaching . He then went to the school kept by Thomas James ( 1834 - 1915 ) (q.v.) at Llandysul , and thence to University College , Aberystwyth . In 1893 he became pastor at Llanbadarn-fawr , and in 1895 at Tremadoc ( English ); there, in 1899 , he published Bedd Gelert, Facts and Fancies [see Jones , William ( 1829? - 1903 ) ]; he also published several Welsh translations of religious handbooks . He was called in 1901 to the pastorate of the C.M. English church at Denbigh , and there began his remarkable career as a researcher into the history of his connexion . He reprinted ( 1905 and 1906 ) the old anti-Methodist pamphlets of T. E. Owen and of Hugh Davies of Aber (qq.v.). Then ( 1908 ) came his exhaustive three-volume biography of Thomas Charles of Bala , which eventually brought him a D.Litt. degree from Liverpool . In 1911 (he resigned his pastorate in that year) appeared his valuable little book, Calvinistic Methodist Holy Orders , which in fact is a better representative of his quality as an historian than is the unwieldy and somewhat undiscriminating book on Charles . He was now appointed by the C.M. Historical Society to copy, and to edit for publication as supplements to its Historical Journal, the correspondence and diaries of Howel Harris , but the plan failed; the war of 1914 broke out, and Jenkins in 1915 became (and remained till 1930 ) an assistant master in the Denbigh intermediate school . He d. 6 Sept. 1937 , at Llwyn-yr-eos , Pont-Henry , while on a visit to his native countryside, and was buried in the Baptist graveyard there; on the preceding Sunday he had preached at Ebenezer , Newport , the scene of his first sermon.

Besides the books named above, Jenkins had contributed many articles, on the history of Welsh Methodism , to various periodicals. Almost at the end of his life ( 1935 ), he reprinted Josiah Woodward 's ( 1697 , etc.) Account of the Religious Societies . His style was infelicitous, and in particular he was prone to adopt an aggressive tone which led many to deem him unkind. Those who knew him, however, found him kindly and co-operative; his bark was very much worse than his bite, and he was always ready to help a fellow- researcher when asked to do so.

Sources:

  • Cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Hanes y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd , xxii, 148-55;
  • other obituary notices;
  • personal acquaintance.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959