Dictionary of Welsh Biography



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SIMMONS or SIMONS , JOSEPH ( 1694? - 1774 ), Independent minister, and schoolmaster ; b. c. 1694 at Foxhall , Llansamlet, Glam. , and educated at Carmarthen Academy under Perrott (q.v.) . In 1724 he was appointed assistant-pastor to Roger Howell at Cwmllynfell and Gellionnen . He is found keeping school at Neath in 1730 , and Lewis Rees (q.v.) was a pupil of his there. In Aug. 1738 we find Howel Harris staying a night with ‘ Jos. Symons , near the Abbey at Neath .’ Simmons is said to have taken over Rees Price 's academy at Tyn-ton (see under Price , Richard ) when Price d. in 1739 — but in 1741 at the latest he had a school at Swansea . Simmons was a Calvinist ; he is named by Edmund Jones (q.v.) in 1741 ( Trevecka letter 362 ) as one of the Independent ministers who supported the Methodist revival ; and Edmund Jones urged Thomas Morgan ( 1720 - 1799 ) (q.v.) to go to the school kept by ‘ Mr. Seimons at Swanzey ’ rather than to Samuel Jones ( fl. 1715-64 ) (q.v.) at Pen-twyn , whose orthodoxy was dubious. Simmons sent his own son to Abergavenny Calvinistic Academy , and Edmund Jones was present at the young man's ordination; but the Old Prophet was deeply vexed (diary of 1789 ) when Joseph Simmons took part in the ordination of the ‘heretical’ Edward Evan(s) (q.v.) at Aberdare. In 1750 , Simmons removed his dwelling from Hendreforgan to Llansamlet , the better to oversee the Independent cause at Neath (meeting at that time in Chwarelau-bach chapel ) — he had charge also of the cause at Skewen . In 1772 , Maes-yr-haf chapel at Neath was built, and at its opening, Simmons 's son Noah (who had been at Abergavenny Academy , 1768-72 ) was ordained as his assistant. Joseph Simmons d. suddenly, at Swansea , 12 May 1774 . Noah Simmons succeeded him, and remained at Maes-yr-haf till 1794 , when disagreement with some of his congregation drove him to emigrate to U.S.A. ; the date of his death is not known.

Bibliography:

  • J. Dyfnallt Owen in Hanes Eglwys Cwmllynfell , 1935 , 14-16;
  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , ii, 97-8, 104;
  • and the references in the article.

Author:

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