Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , JOHN ( 1728 - 1806 ), hymn-writer .

He is said to have been born at Blaen Pennal, Cards. , and to have been the brother of David Williams ( 1717 - 1792 ) (q.v.) of Llyswyrny ; but this belief is without foundation. He was a cooper by trade and for many years kept a shop at S. Athan, Glam. He is probably the ‘ John Williams , Carpenter ,’ who m. Mary Voss at S. Athan , 24 June 1755 ; he subsequently married three other wives. He was a member of the society at Aberthyn , but left the Methodists in 1791 when Peter Williams (q.v.) was expelled. He was one of the leaders of the company which founded the church at ‘ the Briton ’ and chose Thomas William (q.v.) as its minister . Both were friends and used to take communion at Llan-gan in David Jones 's ( 1736 - 1810 ) (q.v.) time. He d. 26 Aug. 1806 at the age of 78, and was buried at S. Athan . He wrote some melodious hymns, as well as other poetry. His Halsing, neu Gân Newydd ar Ddydd Natolic appeared in 1781 . His well-known hymn, ‘ Pwy welaf o Edom yn dod ,’ is to be found in a little book produced by Jones of Llan-gan in 1784 , and there is a note above it to the effect that the subject was suggested to him by Christopher Bassett (q.v.) . He wrote a number of elegies — one on the above-mentioned Bassett was published in Jones of Llan-gan 's book. He also wrote a bitter poem on the occasion of Peter Williams 's expulsion and published it, together with other poems, in Can Diddarfod: sef Pennillion Addysgiadol , etc., in 1793 . A few of his hymns are still very popular.


  • Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru , ii, 236;
  • D. E. Jenkins , Life of Thomas Charles (Denbigh, 1908) , ii, 78;
  • Y Traethodydd , 1873 , 479;
  • G. M. Roberts , Bywyd a Gwaith Peter Williams (Cardiff, 1943) , 99, 122, 155;
  • J. Thickens , Emynau a'u Hawduriaid (1945) , 131;
  • a letter from Prof. G. J. Williams .


Reverend Gomer Morgan Roberts, M.A., (1904-93), Pont-rhyd-y-fen / St Dogmael's / Llandybïe

Published date: 1959