Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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JONES , ARTHUR ( 1776 - 1860 ), Independent minister ;

b. 12 Feb. 1776 at Llanrwst , his mother being descended from bishop William Morgan 's family. After living for some time in Liverpool he became a schoolmaster at Capel Garmon where he began to preach . He m. as his first wife a daughter of Twm o'r Nant (q.v.) and they lived for a time at Denbigh . He had hitherto been a Calvinistic Methodist , but he now joined the Independents and received a call to Ebenezer chapel , Bangor , where he was ordained, Jan. 1810 . In 1815 he moved to London to take charge of the churches at Woolwich and Deptford , but in 1823 returned to Bangor where he remained until 1854 when he retired and went to live at Chester . He d. Feb. 1860 and was buried in Bethlehem burial-ground, Tal-y-bont , near Bangor .

He was a D.D. of Giessen University . From 1823 to 1854 he kept one of the Dr. Williams charity-schools which, on the death of Benjamin Jones ( 1756 - 1823 ) (q.v.) , had been transferred from Pwllheli to Bangor . He published Pynciau Athrawiaethol , 1838 , and Rhetoric, neu Areithyddiaeth Ysgrythyrol , 1810 . Early in his ministry he took a prominent part in the theological controversies of the day , and was one of the first in Wales to preach the ideas of Edward Williams of Rotherham ( 1750 - 1813 ) (q.v.) . He was regarded as a moderate Calvinist but was called to account by his fellow ministers for some of his tenets.

It was the problem of church government which brought him into the greatest prominence — that great controversy known as the ‘ controversy of the county Associations ,’ a controversy rooted in the development of Independency in Wales . The charge was brought against him that in his capacity as minister he had assumed dictatorial powers, and that he was a law to himself in the matter of admitting new church-members and aspirants to the pulpit. He insisted on allowing a doubtful character like Robert Parry ( Robin Ddu Eryri , q.v.) to preach , which caused the conference of Caernarvonshire churches held at Conway in 1838 (under the presidency of Caledfryn ) to excommunicate him and his church and to set up another church, Bethel , at Bangor . The controversy caused disgust and did much harm to Independency in the county; but, in spite of Caledfryn 's opposition, Arthur Jones refused to budge.

Sources:

  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , iii, 273-81;
  • Y Beiriniad , (1) 1859–71; (2) 1911–19 , xxv, xxvi, xxviii;
  • Llawlyfr Undeb Bangor , 1936 , 1936 , 45-50;
  • Jenkins , Hanes Cynulleidfa Hen Gapel Llanuwchllyn , 1937 , 137;
  • Mather , Bywyd a Gwaith Yr Hynod Ddoctor Arthur Jones, o Fangor , Conwy, R.E. Jones, 1908 .

Author:

Reverend Richard Griffith Owen, M.A., (1890-1973), Bangor

Published date: 1959