Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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PARRY , WILLIAM ( 1719 - 1775? ), civil servant, secretary of the first Cymmrodorion Society ;

b. in 1719 , fourth son of John Parry of Gwredog , Anglesey (of the family of Pen-dref , Rhodogeidio , near Llannerch-y-medd — see J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees , 346), and his wife, Elizabeth ( Thomas ) , of Trefor in Llansadwrn . The Morris brothers call him ‘kinsman’ ( câr ); proof of such relationship has not been found, but it is odd how closely Parry 's fortunes (in the period during which we know anything about him) coincide with those of Richard Morris . He was with Richard in the navy office in 1747-53 , moved to the ordnance office , 1753-5 , and thence to the Mint where he was ‘ Comptroller's Deputy and Clerk .’ But in 1757 , still retaining his post at the Mint , he returned to the navy office as ‘ Under Clerk for Foreign Accounts ’ — this was in Richard Morris 's department, and it is clear that Parry was Morris 's personal deputy, for in 1767 Richard tells us that he and Parry could not be simultaneously absent from the office. Parry was alive (and was named executor of Richard Morris 's will) in 1773 , but had died before the re-issue of the Cymmrodorion Constitutions in 1777-8 . As his name disappears from the official lists after 1775 , it seems best to regard J. E. Griffith 's ‘ 23 Oct. 1755 ,’ as the date of his death, as misprinting ‘ 1755 ’ for 1775 . He married late in life ( Additional Morris Letters , 773), but was childless. He was secretary of the Cymmrodorion from 1755 (when Daniel Venables , their first secretary , died) until his own death. Parry is praised on all hands for his geniality and generosity. He was especially kind to Goronwy Owen , one of whose best-known cywyddau invites Parry to Northolt ; there are two letters to him in J. H. Davies 's edition of Goronwy 's letters, and numerous references to him in others of the letters, e.g. in Goronwy 's last letter ( 1767 ) to Richard Morris , and in Morris 's last letter ( 1772-3 , Additional Morris Letters ) to Goronwy . He should not be confused with another William Parry , a sailor , who is frequently mentioned in the Morris Letters.


  • The Letters of Lewis, Richard, William, and John Morris, of Anglesey, (Morrisiaid Môn) 1728-1765 (1907–9) (ed. J. H. Davies ) — indexes by Hugh Owen ;
  • and the other references given above.


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

Published date: 1959