Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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PHILLIPS , BENJAMIN ( 1750 - 1839 ), Unitarian Baptist minister ,

was b. probably near Meidrym, Carms. , and became a member ( 1775 ) of the recently established Baptist church of Salem ( Meidrym ). From 1776 to 1780 he was at Bristol Baptist Academy , and from 1780 till 1787 a preacher without charge; in 1787 he became pastor of Salem . Unorthodox in his views, he was among the ministers expelled by the Welsh Baptist Association in 1799 . His own congregation was so evenly divided that Calvinists and Arminians used the chapel alternately till 1811 , when Phillips 's party were bought out. It would seem that he himself lived at S. Clears and used his dwelling-house as a meeting-house, at least as early as 1807 . A man of great energy and eloquence, he had passed over from Arminianism to declared Unitarianism , and it was he who habitually piloted Unitarian missioners from England who (e.g. in 1810 and 1816 ) visited west Wales . Late in 1827 we hear of the building of a Unitarian chapel (‘ Capel y Graig ’) at S. Clears . When a General Baptist missioner came there in 1834 , he found ‘ our patriarch ’ bed-ridden. Phillips d. at Carmarthen in 1839 . His church faded away during the 19th cent. , and the chapel was sold in 1901 and later demolished.

Sources:

  • D. Jones , Hanes y Bedyddwyr yn Neheubarth Cymru , 1839 , 493-6;
  • Trafodion Cymdeithas Hanes Bedyddwyr Cymru , 1930 and 1931 ;
  • Yr Ymofynnydd , May 1930.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959