Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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JONES , WILLIAM ( 1814? - 1895 ) ‘ Wesleyan Reformer,’ afterwards Independent minister ;

b. in 1814 or 1815 at Bodedern , Anglesey . He joined the ‘ Little Wesleyans ’ (see Owens , Owen ), and was one of their preachers in 1837 ; in 1841 he was a missioner of theirs at Liverpool , and in 1842 editor of their short-lived (one year) periodical, Blaguryn y Diwygiad . By 1846 , however, he was pastor of a church there belonging to the parallel movement, the ‘ Wesleyan Methodist Association ’; in 1849 he m. Jane Davies , of Bala (d. 1853 ). In 1850 he moved to Moriah , Broughton (which had once been a ‘ Little Wesleyan’ church ); in Nov. 1852 he took charge of the ‘Association’ church at Aberystwyth , but in 1853 left that connexion and joined that of the ‘ Wesleyan Reformers .’ This movement was a revolt against the ‘autocracy’ of the Wesleyan Conference , and in particular against Jabez Bunting ; unlike the ‘ Little Wesleyan ’ movement it took little root in North Wales (where Thomas Aubrey , q.v. , was strong enough to check it), but in South Wales it was more successful, and received the benediction of Independents and Baptists (but not Calvinistic Methodists , save for individuals like David Charles III , q.v.) . William Jones was pastor of four ‘Reformer’ churches : Elim ( Tredegar, Mon. ), Merthyr Tydfil , and two at Aberdare (one of the latter subsequently had Hugh Hughes , 1805 - 1864 , q.v. , as its pastor ). In 1853 , too, he began to publish a periodical for the ‘Reformer’ connexion , Gedeon , of which four volumes appeared. In 1857 , however, the ‘Reformers,’ as a connexion, decided to amalgamate with the old ‘ Wesleyan Methodist Association ,’ but the Welsh ‘Reformers,’ in their dislike of any kind of synodical authority, stood out. In 1858 , Jones decided to confine his ministry to Elim , and advised his three other churches to become Independent churches , which they did. And in 1861 he and his church followed this example. He m. again in 1867 ; and d. 7 Sept. 1895 .

Sources:

  • A. H. Williams , Welsh Wesleyan Methodism, 1800-1858 its origins, growth and secessions , 1935 , chapters vi-viii (and consult index);
  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , ii, 359, v, 54.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959