Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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LEWIS , GEORGE ( 1763 - 1822 ), theologian and Independent minister ;

b. in 1763 at Coed near Tre-lech, Carms. He became a member of Graig chapel , Tre-lech . For a time he attended the school kept by John Griffiths of Glandŵr ( 1731 - 1811 ) (q.v.) , and, later, that kept by David Davis of Castellhywel (q.v.) . When he was 18 years of age he was admitted to Carmarthen Academy , the senior tutor of which at that time was Robert Gentleman . After spending three years at the Academy he received a call from the Independent church at Caernarvon and remained in that circuit, a highly successful minister , for nine years. Before leaving the district he had toyed with the idea of emigrating to the U.S.A. , and entered into correspondence with Dr. Edward Williams ( 1750 - 1813 ) (q.v.) , of Carr's Lane , Birmingham , on the subject. However, he received a call from the Independent church at Llanuwchllyn and decided to stay on in Wales . He remained at Llanuwchllyn for eighteen years as minister and supervisor of a number of circulating schools in North Wales . His two-fold labours were crowned with brilliant success and he left an indelible mark on the life of the district.

In 1812 Jenkin Lewis (q.v.) , head of the Independent Academy at Wrexham , moved to Manchester to take charge of a similar academy there, and George Lewis was invited by the Congregational Board in London to manage the Academy at Wrexham . In 1815 he received two calls, one from Liverpool and one from Llanfyllin . The Board was unwilling to allow the Academy to be moved from Wales but raised no objection to its being moved from Wrexham to Llanfyllin ( 1815-21 ). In 1821 he moved it again to Newtown , but d. within six months, 5 June 1822 .

As a Scriptural commentator and divine , George Lewis stood head and shoulders above his contemporaries; his balanced judgement and logical approach were unique. His books and pamphlets were the result of a meticulous study of the Bible and contain none of the intemperate claims so characteristic of the controversial articles of the period. He published a mass of valuable pamphlets dealing with theological difficulties and also a number of booklets written in simple language and containing hymns with words of one syllable suitable for use in the Sunday schools . He had intended publishing a commentary on the New Testament but was unable to finish the work. He published the first three volumes when he was a minister at Llanuwchllyn ( 1802 ), and a fourth when he was head of the Academy at Wrexham ( 1815 ). The three remaining volumes were published after his death by Edward Davies ( 1796 - 1857 ) (q.v.) , his co-tutor and son-in-law; it is more than probable that the commentary on Revelations was entirely written by Edward Davies . But George Lewis 's principal work was his Drych Ysgrythyrol neu Gorph o ddifinyddiaeth yn cynnwys eglurhad a phrawf o amrywiol ganghennau yr athrawiaeth sydd yn ol duwioldeb , 1796 . George Lewis was a Biblical commentator , a divine , and a teacher . As a preacher he was not in the same class as John Elias , Christmas Evans , and Williams of Wern , for he had not the eloquence of the first, the imagination of the second, or the charm of the third. But his Drych Ysgrythyrol remained a standard textbook in the theological colleges until the end of the 19th cent.


  • Y Cofiadur , 1934, 1-32 ;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Y Gwyddoniadur Cymreig (1889-96) .


Reverend Thomas Lewis, M.A., B.D., (1868-1953), Talybont-on-Wye / Brecon

SAMUEL LEWIS ( 1836 - 1891 ), classical scholar

(see D.N.B. ), was his grandson (son of his youngest son, WILLIAM LEWIS , a medical practitioner ).


Dr David Jenkins, C.B.E., M.A., D.Litt., (1912-2002), Penrhyn-coch, Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959