Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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PRICE , BENJAMIN ( 1804 - 1896 ), first bishop of the ‘Free Church of England’ ;

b. in 1804 at Builth , son of Isaac Price , shopkeeper and prominent Calvinistic Methodist elder . The father was a nephew of David Price , vicar of Llanbadarn-fawr (Cards.) in 1770 , and was thus cousin to the Orientalist David Price ( 1762 - 1835 ) ; the mother is said to have been of John Penry 's family — there were certainly Penrys who lived in Merthyr Cynog ( Brecknock ), which to all appearance was the parish of Isaac Price 's origins. Benjamin Price began to preach among the Calvinistic Methodists ; there is proof of his having preached with John Elias (but in English ) at an Association at Newtown in 1830 . Possibly it was his lack of Welsh which led him to throw in his lot with lady Huntingdon 's connexion, in which he was ordained.

In 1844 , reacting against the Tractarian movement , some Anglican clergymen , chiefly in the diocese of Exeter , founded the ‘ Free Church of England ’; one of their centres was Ilfracombe . They fraternized with the Huntingdonians , whom indeed they closely resembled; Price [who had been for three years president of the Huntingdon connexion ], went over to them, and became their minister at Ilfracombe ; later on, he became their ‘ President ’ — they had then no bishops . In America , however, where several Anglican bishops had formed the ‘ Reformed Episcopal Church ,’ the ‘ Free Church ’ too retained episcopacy. In 1868 it was agreed that Price , though not consecrated, should be entitled ‘ bishop ’; but in 1876 bishop Cridge of British Columbia came over, and Price was formally consecrated. He had not forgotten Wales : his name will be found among the subscribers to the History of Brecknockshire by Edwin Poole (q.v.) , and he gathered a church at Cardiff , which however did not flourish. He d. at Ilfracombe , early in Jan. 1896 , aged 92.

Sources:

  • Bye–Gones, relating to Wales and the Border Counties , 15 Jan. 1896 ;
  • information from the Rev. W. Rodgers , secretary of the Free Church of England;
  • [see further G. Hugh Jones in Hastings, Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , 13 vols., Edinburgh, 1908-26 , x, 629-31].

Author:

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

Published date: 1959