Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , STEPHEN WILLIAM ( 1837 - 1899 ), engineer, architect, and antiquary ;

b. 7 June 1837 at Mellington Hall , Churchstoke, Mont. He was apprenticed to an engineer in Staffordshire ; later, he worked with Benjamin Piercy (q.v.) on the Cambrian and other railways. In 1862 he became a surveyor and estate agent at Rhayader , where he also started to practise as an architect — this being the work which appealed most strongly to him; he continued his private practice even after he had been appointed county surveyor . The extent of his business was enormous; he was responsible for the repair of a large number of old mansions (as well as for building new ones) and public buildings, and of an even larger number of old churches . It is not without interest to remember that he valued the Nant-gwyllt estate when it was bought by the Birmingham corporation for the construction of the Elan Valley reservoir . He soon joined the Cambrian Archaeological Association , but the first of his long series of papers in Arch. Camb. (this was on Castell Collen ) did not appear until 1870 ; he was F.S.A. He became a considerable authority on the old Welsh monasteriesTalley , Strata Marcella , Cwm Hir , and above all, Strata Florida , the subject of his only book, The Cistercian Abbey of Strata Florida , 1889 . He d. 11 Dec. 1899 , during his year of office as high sheriff of Radnorshire .


  • Based entirely on the memoir (which includes a list of his papers) by D. R. Thomas in Archaeologia Cambrensis , 1900 ;
  • it should be added that Williams was responsible for some of the additions in the 1905 ed. of Jonathan Williams 's A General History of the County of Radnor (Brecknock, 1905) .


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

Published date: 1959