Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , RICHARD ( 1747 - 1811 ), cleric and man of letters ;

b. at Hawarden in 1747 , the son of the rector , Richard Williams ( M.A. , Jesus College , Oxford ), who in turn was the son of Peter Williams , also a clergyman , owner of Fron ( Arddynwynt ) near Mold — the family claimed to be descended from Cynwrig Efell ( Yorke , Royal Tribes of Wales ). He entered Brasenose College , Oxford , in Dec. 1765 , at the age of 18, but there is no record of his having graduated. He was rector of Machynlleth , 1789-1805 , and of Llanferres , 1805-11 ; he d. suddenly 4 June 1811 . Whether he graduated or not, it is clear that he had the scholar's temperament; he translated Seneca 's tragedy, Medea , into English , and left manuscript translations into Latin of Gray 's poems, and other writings. But he is chiefly remembered as Thomas Pennant 's (q.v.) friend, and as the translator of the Welsh poems (e.g. Owain Cyfeiliog 's ‘ Hirlas ’) in Pennant 's Tours ; some of his translations also appear in Musical and Poetical Relicks , by Edward Jones ( Bardd y Brenin , q.v.) .


  • Foster , Alumni Oxonienses ;
  • The Cambro-Briton , i, 263;
  • Thomas , A History of the Diocese of St. Asaph , ii, 403 (and 393 in respect of his father).


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

Published date: 1959