Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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WINTER , CHARLES ( 1700 - 1773 ), Arminian Baptist minister .

Son of Francis Winter , a well-to-do farmer of Bedwellty, Glam. , was apprenticed to a surgeon-apothecary at Newport, Mon. , but returned home, joined the Baptist church at Hengoed , began preaching , and entered Carmarthen Academy under Perrott . He was there led to accept Arminian doctrines . Others at Hengoed tended to the same way, notably Rees David and Jacob Isaac . After a heated debate in the Baptist Association , which met at Hengoed in 1730 and at which Abel Francis was also present, Winter (but not David and Isaac ) consented to a compromise, and indeed afterwards became assistant to Morgan Griffith (died 1738 ), pastor of the church . In 1740 , though there was a party which desired the promotion of Winter , the majority favoured Griffith Jones of Pen-y-fai , and Winter co-operated amicably with him. But when Jones , in 1749 , emigrated to America , dissension broke out afresh, and Winter was excommunicated. He now decided to form an Arminian Baptist church , in association with the dissidents who, in 1730 , had refused to compromise. In 1751 they secured a site for a chapel, at Craig-y-fargod , in Bedlinog — it was opened 28 Jan. 1753 ; the church numbered twenty-three. Winter remained there till his death, 23 April 1773 ; he was buried at Bedwellty . Joshua Thomas speaks of him with great respect. He practised throughout as a surgeon-apothecary , and ‘ had many scientific books in his library .’

After his death he was succeeded as pastor by a Carmarthenshire man, Morgan Thomas , who died 1774 . The next minister at Craig-y-fargod was


grandson of the Jacob Isaac (above), who as early as 1717 had shown some restiveness against orthodoxy, had been expelled from Hengoed in 1730 , and had, in the meantime, joined Pen-main Independent church . The younger Jacob Isaac was ordained in 1777 by Presbyterian (mostly Arian) ministers , for no Baptist could be found to act. He left for Moreton Hampstead General Baptist Church , Devon in 1782 — he was still alive in 1806 . After an interval, he had been succeeded at Craig-y-fargod by his younger brother, DANIEL ISAAC , who, however, became, in 1792 , a declared Unitarian and resigned, as the congregation was still Trinitarian . For its subsequent history, see under Evans , Henry ( fl . 1787-1839 ) .

Jacob Isaac 's daughter Sarah ( 1783 - 1841 ) m.

JAMES HEWS BRANSBY ( 1783 - 1847 ),

an Ipswich man who had a rather chequered career described by Alexander Gordon in the D.N.B. He became ( 1 May 1803 ) pastor of the Presbyterian church at Moreton , Hampstead , but removed to Dudley in 1805 — he kept school at both places. His ‘eccentricities’, which included kleptomania , plagiarism , and (as suspicion had it) forgery , compelled him in 1828 to leave Dudley . With his wife and his mother-in-law Ann Isaac ( 1758 - 1839 ), he settled at Caernarvon ( 1829 ), in a house called Bron'r-hendre in Henwalia , and sought a living by keeping school , journalism , and literary pot — boiling . He became quite a figure in the town in the ‘thirties, as a ‘Whig’ politician , championing the Reform Bill and forwarding the parliamentary interests of Sir Charles Paget ; and he was one of the founders of the Carnarvon Herald ( 1831 ), later known as the Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald — he acted for some time as its editor . In his later years, he resumed preaching ; recollections of him were still current at Caernarvon fairly recently. The works mentioned in the D.N.B. , include a number of small books on the topography of Caernarvon and its neighbourhood — see also Cardiff Welsh Library Catalogue . He died very suddenly on 4 Nov. 1847 , ‘aged 64’.


  • Joshua Thomas , Hanes y Bedyddwyr ymhlith y Cymry , 185-7, 546-8;
  • Yr Ymofynnydd , 1848 , 149-53 — Winter's own apologia, translated into Welsh in 1773 by Edward Evan of Aberdare;
  • William Richards (of Lynn), The Welsh Nonconformists' Memorial or Cambro-British Biography (1820) , 268-77;
  • Monthly Repository , 1806 , 113 et seqq. (by Jacob Isaac the younger).
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography ;
  • Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald , 6 Nov. 1847 ;
  • Bangor Manuscript at University College North Wales Library, Bangor 2424 at U.C.N.W. (a family scrap-book), with Dr. Thomas Richards 's notes in the Library catalogue.]


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

Published date: 1959