Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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MILLS , HENRY ( 1757 - 1820 ), a pioneer in Welsh congregational singing ;

b. on Tan-'rallt farm , near Llanidloes . As a young man his voice attracted the attention of Thomas Charles of Bala , when on a visit to Bethel , the Methodist chapel at Llanidloes . On the recommendation of Charles the Monthly Meeting gave Mills charge of the singing of the Methodists in the district , although the novelty of the idea and Mills 's youth and ability to play several instruments were obstacles in the eyes of elders of the severer sort. Mills did much to improve the congregational singing in the district . He was twice m. Of his first marriage were b. (1) Edward , father of John Mills (q.v.) , and of Edward Mills (q.v.) ; (2) James (below) . Of the second was b. Richard Mills (q.v.) . He d. on 28 Aug. 1820 .

His work was carried on by his son JAMES MILLS ( 1790 - 1844 ), whose abilities as a conductor found scope in the musical society founded at Bethel in 1834 , with the object of raising the standard of congregational singing, and meeting on Sundays, with a week-night class of instruction in the rudiments of music attended by sixty to seventy young people. Mills composed several anthems and hymn-tunes , one of which, ‘ Hosannah ,’ retained its place in later collections.

Sources:

  • R. Mills and N. Cynhafal Jones , Buchdraeth y Parch. John Mills. F.R.G.S., M.R.A.S … , Aberdar, 1881 , 1881 ;
  • Y Traethodydd , 1901 and 1903.

Author:

Principal Gwilym Prichard Ambrose, M.A., Caerleon

Published date: 1959