Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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PRICHARD , WILLIAM ( 1702 - 1773 ), a celebrated early North Wales Nonconformist ;

b. in 1702 at Bryn-rhydd , in the parish of Llanarmon, Caerns. [son of Morris and Margaret Prichard ; christened at Llanarmon , 13 Feb. 1701/2 ]. Although he had had a good education and was a cultured man, he became a farmer at Glasfryn Fawr in the parish of Llangybi . One Sunday afternoon, after church was over, he went to the village inn as usual and got so drunk that instead of returning straight home he wandered stupidly round the neighbouring cottages. On reaching the last window of Caertyddyn he heard Francis Evans reading the Bible and praying for prodigals like himself. This was sufficient to sober him and send him home a reformed character. Although he continued for some time to go to church, we hear of him gradually associating with the Dissenters at Pwllheli , which is not surprising when it is remembered that chancellor John Owen ( 1698 - 1755 ) (q.v.) had on more than one occasion summoned him to the bishop's court at Bangor for daring to express the opinion as he came out of church that his sermon was unscriptural. After discussing the moral state of the district with the Rev. Lewis Rees (q.v.) at Pwllheli , he heard of Jenkin Morgan (q.v.) , a schoolmaster and preacher , who was at that time working at Nantydeiliau , near Llanuwchllyn . Francis Evans of Caertyddyn was given the honour of going to fetch him, and, after the parish priest had refused to have anything to do with it, a school was started in the kitchen of Glasfryn Fawr . Malicious and lying stories were spread about the school, and the fact that the teacher was a preacher was of great help to its enemies. In 1742 William Prichard and his family were exiles from Glasfryn Fawr and went to Plas Penmynydd , Anglesey , but the people of Anglesey persecuted the new tenant of that celebrated place inhumanly. When the landlord was induced to drive him out of the neighbourhood he went to Bodlew , Llanddaniel , where again he suffered persecution because of his religious views. However, when William Bulkeley (q.v.) of Brynddu , Llanfechell , came to realize that he was being ejected from his farms merely because he was a Nonconformist he offered him the tenancy of Clwchdernog . Prichard went there [in Nov. 1749 ] and lived there, happy in all his work, until he d. 9 March 1773 . Prichard , more than any one else, was the pioneer of Dissent in Anglesey and was a tower of strength to it as long as he lived. There is a memorial to him in Rhos-y-meirch chapel. John William Prichard (q.v.) was his son.

Sources:

  • Robert Jones (Rhoslan) , Drych yr Amseroedd , 1820 , 85-94;
  • Richard Parry (Gwalchmai) , Ymneilltuaeth ym Môn , 14-26;
  • Geiriadur Bywgraffyddol o Enwogion Cymru , iii, 428;
  • Llawlyfr Cyfarfodydd yr Undeb Cynulleidfaol , 1923 , 1923 ;
  • Bathafarn cylchgrawn hanes yr Eglwys Fethodistaidd yng Nghymru , ii, 50-3;
  • [ J. E. Griffith , Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families , 1914 , 9;
  • Cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Hanes y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd , March 1953, 7-9].

Author:

Reverend Richard Thomas, B.A. (1872-1950), Caernarfon

Published date: 1959