Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WILLIAMS , ZACHARIAH ( 1673 - 1755 ), medical practitioner, and inventor ,

father of Anna Williams (q.v.) ; was b. at Rosemarket, Pembs. , and practised for a time in South Wales . He was admitted a ‘poor brother pensioner’ of the Charterhouse , London , in 1729 . His interests are indicated by the titles of his books: The Mariners Compass Compleated , 1740 and 1745 ; A True Narrative of certain Circumstances relating to Zachariah Williams in the Charterhouse , 1749 ; and Account of an Attempt to ascertain the Longitude at Sea by an exact Theory of the Variation of the Magnetical Needle , 1755 . He had no luck with his discoveries, and accused Samuel Molyneux of stealing his plans. From Dec. 1745 he was bedridden, and he d. a disappointed man, 12 July 1755 . Samuel Johnson took a great interest in him — see Powell 's index to the Birkbeck Hill ed. of Boswell .


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Eminent Welshmen: a short biographical dictionary of Welshmen ... from the earliest times to the present (1908) .


Professor Gwyn Jones, M.A., (1907-99), Aberystwyth / Cardiff

Published date: 1959