Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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PRICE , JOHN (‘ Old Price ’; 1803 - 1887 ), cleric, naturalist, and eccentric ;

b. in 1803 at Pwll-y-crochan , Colwyn Bay , of a long and long-lived line of clerics. His great-grandfather, Ellis Pryce , was rector of Ysgeifiog (Flints.) for nearly sixty years ( 1704-1763 ); his grandfather, James Pryce , was vicar of Betws-yn-Rhos from 1746 till 1758 , and rector of Llansannan (Denbs.) from 1758 till 1782 ; his father, again James Pryce, was rector of Cerrig-y-drudion from 1784 till 1800 , and then for half a century ( 1800-50 ) non-resident rector of Llanfechain, Mont. , while living at Pwll-y-crochan and Plas-yn-Llysfaen — he d. at 94, ‘ having complained of his health all his life .’ All three were buried at Ysgeifiog .

John Price went to Shrewsbury School , where he was a form-mate of B. H. Kennedy and a school-fellow of Charles Darwin Darwin aroused his interest in nature , and became a great friend in after years. He graduated, as third classic, from S. John's College , Cambridge , in 1826 . But though he became a master at Shrewsbury and at other schools, he developed an instability and an oddity in dress and behaviour which unfitted him for a normal career. He boasted of his nickname ‘ Old Price .’ He published a number of books (now very scarce), such as Llandudno and how to enjoy it ( 1869 ), and Old Price's Remains , an extremely odd monthly periodical ( April 1863-March 1864 ), of great interest to dwellers in the Llandrillo-yn-Rhos district. The chapter on natural history in the History of Aberconwy by Robert Williams ( 1810 - 1881 ) (q.v.) is by Price . He d. at Chester , 14 Oct. 1887 , aged 84.


  • T. Llechid Jones in Journal of the Welsh Bibliographical Society , April 1927, 104-11;
  • G. Porter , Colwyn Bay before the houses came (Manchester, 1938) , 1938 , 44-54.


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

Published date: 1959