Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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JOHN ap JOHN ( 1625? - 1697 ) — the apostle of the Quakers in Wales .

Called Siôn ap Siôn by Ellis Pugh in his Annerch i'r Cymru ( 1721 ); b. at Pen-y-cefn in the township of Coed Cristionydd , Ruabon . He joined the Puritans in the days of the Commonwealth and became a member of the congregation at Wrexham which was under the care of Morgan Llwyd . On 21 July 1653 he and another man journeyed on Morgan Llwyd 's behalf to Swarthmore, Lancs. , to meet George Fox , the Quaker . Fox succeeded in converting both of them, one temporarily and the other, John ap John , permanently. He returned to Morgan Llwyd with a report and turned his back on his first teacher.

From this time on he was George Fox 's disciple and the apostle of the Quakers in Wales . He established his first ‘church’ at Pen-y-cefn , and immediately began to evangelise in Wrexham , journeying thence along the Marches to the south — to Monmouthshire and Glamorgan where he was more than once thrown into prison. In 1657 , accompanied this time by Fox , he made a similar tour to North Wales , proceeding by way of Carmarthen , Aberystwyth , Machynlleth , Dolgelley , and Caernarvon . In the course of these tours, and of others which followed, he slowly gained ground, especially in Monmouth , Montgomery , and Merioneth , and acquired disciples of some distinction such as Richard Davies of Cloddiau Cochion and the Lloyd s of Dolobran . From 1667 on, he was organizing and consolidating the movement, establishing monthly meetings, half-yearly meetings, and, in 1682 , a yearly meeting. By 1686 the Quakers had begun to infiltrate into Anglesey — ‘ truth hath got some entrance into Anglesey .’ But, so severe was the persecution, that from 1681 on some hundreds of the Welsh Quakers fled to Pennsylvania , thus seriously weakening the movement in Wales . He was faithful to the end. His wife, Katrin , had d. in 1695 , and he went to live with his daughter, the wife of John Mellor , near Stafford , where he d. on 16 November 1697 .


  • Thomas Shankland in Cymru (O.M.E.) , 1919 ;
  • Penney , Norris , and others in The Journal of the Friends' Historical Society


William Ambrose Bebb, M.A., (1895-1955), Bangor

Published date: 1959