Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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SPARKS , JOHN ( 1726 - 1769 ), early Moravian ,

son of a leading tradesman (who was a member of Albany church ) at Haverfordwest . He came to Methodism when only a boy — about a dozen letters which passed between him and Howel Harris , in the years 1739-50 , are preserved in the Trevecka collection at the N.L.W. In 1742 he began to hold meetings, at first at his father's house, and afterwards in a hired room; and 1745 was recognized as an exhorter . But in 1751 he went over to Moravianism , and joined George Gambold (q.v.) in beginning Moravian services in a warehouse on the quay — the origin of the later society, and therefore of the 1763 Moravian congregation , the only one in Wales . But Sparks was a difficult man, and when the congregation moved to its new chapel on S. Thomas's Green , his autocratic actions led to his being disciplined and ‘silenced.’ In the meantime, his father had d. ( 1762 ), and his over-sanguine conduct of his business brought him to bankruptcy ( 1766 ) and eviction from his house ( 1768 ). He is found keeping school in 1769 , but in the same year he was paralysed and d. at the age of 42.

Sources:

  • ‘Account of John Sparks’ and other records in the Haverfordwest Moravian archives;
  • Cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Hanes y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd , iv, nos. 1, 2.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959