Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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MORGAN , JOHN RHYS ( Lleurwg ; 1822 - 1900 ), Baptist minister, lecturer, poet, and littérateur ;

b. 3 Aug. 1822 (but 7 or 17 Aug. according to some sources), at Maes-y-felin , Lisvane , near Cardiff ; sixth of twelve children b. to Rees Morgan (b. 1792 ) and Mary Edmunds (b. 1790 ) of Maes-y-felin and afterwards of Maes-y-crochan , S. Mellons , his mother being an aunt of Thomas Davies , principal of Haverfordwest Baptist College ( 1812 - 1895 ) (q.v.) . He received his early education at Lisvane and Caerphilly , and after having been baptized in the period 1840-1 (by whom, it is not certain), he entered Pontypool Baptist College in 1842 and was ordained in 1846 at Bangor . In 1848 he moved to Aberavon , where his talents began to show distinct signs of development, and finally to Zion , Llanelly , in 1855 where he remained till his death, 14 March, 1900 . He was buried in the public cemetery at Llanelly .

Lleurwg was a man of versatility who became prominent in the religious, cultural, and public life of his time. The church at Zion , Llanelly , so increased during his pastorate that many branches were formed, e.g., at Greenfield ( English , 1858 ), Moriah ( 1872 ), and Calfaria ( 1881 ), and he himself was elected president of the Baptist Union of Wales in 1878 . He was a well-known preacher and an eloquent speaker on the Liberal platform, but is probably best remembered for his popular lectures, of which at least thirty subjects have been recorded. In addition, he was an eisteddfod adjudicator , co-editor of Y Medelwr Ieuanc , which was first published in 1871 , and editor of the poetry section of Seren Cymru from 1860 to 1877 , and Seren Gomer in the early 1860's , but owing to his multiplicity of interests he received very few opportunities of exercising his poetical gift. Much of his work was published, e.g., Llawlyfr y Beibl , 1860 , a translation of Joseph Angus , Bible Hand-book , 1854 ; a handbook for church members under the title of Deddfau Ty Dduw , 1863 ; Cofiant y Parch. R. D. Roberts, Llwynhendy , 1893 ; lectures, sermons, and poetry, particularly in Seren Gomer from the 50's onwards; and contributions to John Jones ( Mathetes ) , Geiriadur Beiblaidd , 1864-83 .

He m. (1), c. 1846 , Maria Jones , S. Mellons , who d. at Caerphilly 11 Nov. 1847 , aged 28, as the result of an accident at Bangor ; and (2), Martha Roberts , daughter of David Roberts , Aberavan , 26 Dec. 1849 , at Neath . Twelve children were b. of the second marriage.

Sources:

  • D. B. Richards and T. Morgan , Cofiant y Parchedig John Rhys Morgan, D.D., etc , Maesteg, 1908 , 1908 ;
  • E. T. Jones and T. R. Jones , Hanes Eglwys Capel Sion, Llanelli , Llanelli, 1931 , 1931 , 81-92 (portrait);
  • Y Geninen , 1901 , 261-4, 31-2 g;
  • The Baptist Union of Wales Handbook and Diary , 1901 , 119-20;
  • Seren Gomer , 1900 , 150-4;
  • Seren Cymru , 23 March 1900 ;
  • Yr Hauwr misolyn Undeb Bedyddwyr Cymru at wasanaeth yr Ysgol Sabbathol , Aberdâr , March, 1900 (portrait);
  • Papur Pawb , Caernarfon, 1893-1916 , 22 Feb. 1896.

Author:

Benjamin George Owens, M.A., Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959