Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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PRICHARD , WILLIAM (d. 1713 ), Particular Baptist ,

one of the more prominent disciples of John Miles (q.v.) . For all that, in the days of the Commonwealth, he can hardly be called a consistent or an obedient disciple; soon after he was ordained as minister of the strict Baptist cause at Abergavenny in 1653 he (and two others from the same church) were accused of sending a letter of good-will to Henry Jessey , the great pillar of the free-communion Baptists , a letter to be sent in its turn to the free-communionist church at Hexham — all this accounts for a sharp order from the general assembly at Aberavon (beginning of 1654 ) that the Baptists of north Monmouth were not in any way to consort or commune with Baptists of a lesser but more liberal breed. Nor is there proof that W. Prichard ever received pay from the Puritan powers — as was the case with Miles himself and some of his preachers — and it is natural to hold that he agreed with the drastic Abergavenny resolution of 11 July 1655 , that the church abjured all sympathy with such a secular policy. Moreover, though Miles the leader had no belief in the growing custom of the imposition of hands, either for ministers or for individual members, Prichard accepted it with enthusiasm, though (according to Henry Maurice 's report in 1675 ) this new departure caused some uneasiness, if not schism, in the church. Through the loss of the Llandaff consistory records little is known of the fortunes of Prichard as a Nonconformist in the days of the Restoration , but there is plenty of evidence about the visit of William Jones of Rhydwilym ( d. c. 1700 ) (q.v.) to eastern Wales , in 1666 or 1667 , to be baptized by William Prichard , to receive imposition of hands from him, and sent back to the west to preach the gospel of baptism by immersion, imposition of hands, and the exclusionist approach to the Lord's Table. Thus William Prichard became the organic link between the Ilston school and the Baptist crusaders of the south-west, and the sustainer of a great weight of Baptist tradition. In 1672 (10 Aug.) he received a licence to preach under the Indulgence at his own house, then in Llantilio Pertholy , some miles to the east of Abergavenny ; but certain it is that the greater number of the twenty-seven Nonconformists counted at Llanwenarth in 1676 and the forty-one counted at Abergavenny , were the disciples of William Prichard . He d. on 27 Nov. 1713 , after a ministry of sixty years. Before his death he had seen the Toleration Act coming into force, gone to the great Baptist Assembly in London in 1689 , witnessed the appearance of new leaders and new causes at Llanwenarth and Trosgoed , besides attending the first Welsh Association meeting at Llanwenarth in 1700 , held in the first chapel built ( 1695 ) by the Baptists in Wales .

Sources:

  • Joshua Thomas , Hanes y Bedyddwyr ymhlith y Cymry (Pontypridd ed.), 210-35;
  • Records of the Churches of Christ, gathered at Fenstanton, Warboys, and Hexham, 1644-1720 , London, 1854 (Hansard Knollys Soc., 1854), 344;
  • Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series , Record Publication , Charles II, E.B. 38, 232;
  • Reference is made to two editions, by E. B. Underhill, 1847, and Nathaniel Haycroft, 1865. Reference is also made to Addenda B (pp. 511–9 in 1847 ed) , Add. B, 516;
  • Salt MS. 2112 in the William Salt Library, Stafford , 420-1.

Author:

Thomas Richards, D.Litt., (1878-1962), Bangor

Published date: 1959