Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , MATTHEW (d. 1801 ), actor ;

b. at Welshpool in the middle of the 18th cent. He was intended for the business of silk mercer , but made his debut as an actor at Birmingham New Theatre on 27 July 1778 . He went on to the Bath Company and, in 1779 , joined the cast at Drury Lane . In 1790 he m. a member of the same company, a Mrs. Wilson of Lewes , Sussex . He took over the Shakespeare Coffee House in Bow Street and, on his discharge from Drury Lane , was engaged as acting manager at the Richmond Theatre . After his wife's death he went out to the West Indies where he d. in 1801 . Anthony Pasquin 's lines to ‘ Mr. Williames ’ are said to refer to him; they stress Williams 's competence as an actor , his shyness, and his sweet voice. According to Mont. Worthies , he was killed in a duel , in London , with his fellow-actor Quinn .


  • M. Charles Jones , ‘Welshpool,’ in Collections Historical and Archaeological relating to Montgomeryshire , xiv, 199-200;
  • The Thespian Dictionary … Second edition, with considerable improvements and additions. Illustrated by twenty-two elegant engravings (London, 1805) (London, 1805 );
  • ‘Anthony Pasquin’ ( John Williams ), The Children of Thespis … The thirteenth edition, with additional characters and emendations (London, 1792) (13th ed.) (London, 1792 ), 82.


Cecil John Layton Price, Ph.D. (1915-91), Aberystwyth / Swansea

Published date: 1959