Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , HUGH ( 1843 - 1911 ), Calvinistic Methodist minister, and church historian ;

b. 17 Sept. 1843 at Menai Bridge , son of a small-holder . He received his elementary education at Menai Bridge and Bangor . After leaving school he worked for a few years as a stonemason , while at the same time he read and studied every book within his reach. He commenced preaching in 1863 and in 1864 he entered Bala C.M. College ; he was assistant tutor there, 1867-9 . He was B.A. (London) in 1870 and M.A. in 1871 . From 1872-5 he kept a grammar school at Menai Bridge . In 1875 , after spending some time in Germany , he was appointed tutor in Greek and mathematics at Bala C.M. College , and when ( 1891 ) that institution was converted into a theological college, he was made professor of church history . On 31 Dec. 1884 he m. Mary , daughter of Urias Bromley , Chester . In 1903-4 he was moderator of the North Wales Calvinistic Methodist Association . In 1904 he received the degree of D.D. from Glasgow University . He d. 11 May 1911 , and was buried at Llanycil , near Bala .

His works include an edition of Gildas with an English translation and notes (‘ Cymmrodorion Record Series ,’ 1899 and 1901 ); various articles in Y Gwyddoniadur Cymreig , Hastings , Encycl. of Religion and Ethics , Zeitschrift f. Celtische Philologie , Trans. Cymm. , Y Traethodydd ; and commentaries on the Epistles to the Galatians and Colossians . But his chief work was his Christianity in Early Britain , issued posthumously by the Clarendon Press in 1912 . This work, which shows a thorough research into the original sources, brought him great repute not only in Britain but also in France and Germany ; it will remain the basis of future studies in this field. He possessed an immense store of accurate knowledge, a retentive memory, a robust intellect, and an unyielding determination. Refusing all second-hand conclusions, he always went to the fountain-head for his facts. As a teacher (and preacher ) he was slow and deliberate in his speech, but he left upon his students a deep impression of an extensive knowledge of the works of the historians and theologians of the early Church, fair and balanced judgement, absolute impartiality, with a profound conviction of the greatness and importance of the matter in hand. He had a conscience for facts. His motto for himself and for his students was exactness of scholarship.


  • Blwyddiadur y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd , 1912 ;
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • personal knowledge.
  • [Many of his manuscripts are in N.L.W.: 1265-88, 1292-1314, 1316-29, 2082-97.]


Reverend John Edward Hughes, B.D., (1879-1959), Brynsiencyn

Published date: 1959