Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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PHILLIPS , HENRY ( 1719 - 1789 ), Baptist minister ;

b. at Tre-lech, Carms. , in 1719 . At 18 he was converted by Howel Harris , went to Llanddowror to Griffith Jones , and was afterwards master of several of his circulating schools ; he was a communicant of Howel Davies 's (q.v.) . Joining the Baptists at Pen-y-garn, Mon. , he was baptized ( 1750 ) by Miles Harry (q.v.) , and underwent training for the ministry at Trosnant , and then ( 1751 ) at Bristol . In 1752-3 he was assistant-minister of the ‘ Old Meeting ’ at Wrexham and also at Nantwich . From 1753 till 1756 he ministered (without pastoral charge) to churches in southern England . In 1758 he was ordained pastor at Waterford , removing thence in 1763 to Back-lane , Dublin . He was in Wales in 1765 (at Pen-y-garn ), then for a short time at Exeter ; but in Feb. 1766 he was inducted at Salisbury , where he spent the rest of his life. He kept a free school there, in which large numbers of poor children were taught. But he also maintained his contacts with Wales , and it was through his hands that John Thornton distributed hundreds of Welsh Bibles . In 1762 there appeared a 24-page sixpenny pamphlet, A Sketch of the Life and Character of the Reverend and Pious Griffith Jones ; when this was reprinted in 1777 in the Gospel Magazine , its author was revealed as ‘ H.P. , Sarum ,’ Phillips was thus in one sense the first biographer of Griffith Jones , but unfortunately the pamphlet is practically undiluted praise accompanied by very few facts. Phillips also published a ‘letter,’ of which a Welsh version, Y Dinasoedd Noddfa wedi eu priodoli i Grist , was published with his consent in 1781 . He d. at Salisbury , 20 Aug. 1789 , and was buried in the Baptist burial-ground there.

Sources:

  • Joshua Thomas , A History of the Baptist Association in Wales , 1795 , 64, and Hanes y Bedyddwyr ymhlith y Cymry , 491-2;
  • Geiriadur Bywgraffyddol o Enwogion Cymru , ii, 389-90;
  • G. V. Price , The Old Meeting at Wrexham ;
  • Cambrian Bibliography , Llanidloes, 1869 , 467, 607.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959