Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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MOSTYN , AMBROSE ( 1610 - 1663 ), a Puritan preacher of aristocratic descent whom the pedigree-makers seem bent on keeping in obscurity;

Lewis Dwnn could have brought in his name in his Heraldic Visitations ; Powys Fadog has many details of the Mostyn family, but not of this Mostyn ; T. A. Glenn had a clear opportunity of introducing his name in his Mostyns of Mostyn , but missed it. As a pure matter of fact, Ambrose Mostyn was a Mostyn of Calcot , a younger branch of the Mostyns of Talacre , a son of Dr. Henry Mostyn , chancellor of Bangor , and grandson to Sir Piers Mostyn of Talacre ; that is, son of a high Anglican and grandson of a Roman Catholic . He entered Brasenose , Oxford , as doctoris filius , graduated B.A. early in Jan. 1630 , and soon developed, against all the outlook and traditions of his house, into a pronounced Puritan . Before the wars broke out the Commons had named him as Puritan lecturer at Pennard in Glamorgan ; later, on 27 July 1646 , the Committee for Plundered Ministers ordered him to preach in Swansea and neighbourhood, and so well was the work done that Mostyn gets the credit (by Henry Maurice in his report on the Welsh congregations in 1675 ) of having organized the first ‘gathered church’ in a district that later became the greatest stronghold of Welsh nonconformity. Soon the Puritan powers moved him from South to North, for on 7 June 1648 the Plundered Ministers' Committee — there was an earlier but abortive order by the Commons in 1644 — ordered him, together with Morgan Llwyd and Vavasor Powell (qq.v.) to proceed on preaching missions to North Wales , drawing their maintenance from the comportionary tithes of six parishes in Arwystli ; later, he was named as one of the twenty-five approvers in the Propagation Act of 1650 , and later still, in 1654 , as one of the ministers-assistant to the commissioners who executed the Scandalous Ministers' Ordinance of that year; in Sept. 1655 , it was he who preached the Assize sermon before the judges at Wrexham . Though he did not sign the Word for God in protest against the Protectorate , there is some evidence of his dissatisfaction with the new political development, and it was not till Oct. 1656 that he settled down at Holt with the Triers ' approval; in 1659 , on the death of Morgan Llwyd , he was appointed (according to an entry on Lambeth MS. 987 ) pastor of the Wrexham congregation, whatever its nature exactly was, or its meeting-place. After the Restoration and its ejections, Mostyn stayed for some time at Wrexham ; at the end of April 1661 he found refuge with lord Say and Sele in Oxfordshire ; finally, he left for London , and d. there at the end of 1663 . He was an eminently, responsible leader, moderate and orthodox in his opinions (though on one occasion he developed a scruple about baptizing an infant, that very much surprised Philip Henry , q.v. ), and commanded the confidence of men of very divergent tempers; Walter Cradoc (q.v.) named him as overseer of his will; he was one of the two executors of Llwyd 's last testament; and the strange mercurial Erbery (q.v.) wrote to commiserate with him on the death of his wife.

Sources:

  • Firth and Rait , Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642–1660 , 1911 , ii, 983-4;
  • Bodleian Manuscripts 323 (114), 325 (68-68b);
  • Reference is made to two editions, by E. B. Underhill, 1847, and Nathaniel Haycroft, 1865. Reference is also made to Addenda B (pp. 511–9 in 1847 ed) , Add., B, 514;
  • Calamy , An account of the ministers…ejected , 1660–2 , ii, 714;
  • Calendar of the Committee for Compounding with Delinquents, etc., 1643–1660 . Record Publication , iii, 1725 ;
  • The Journals of the House of Commons , ii, 551; iii, 565;
  • Lambeth Manuscripts 977 (42), 987 (200-1);
  • Diaries and letters of Philip Henry, M.A. of Broad Oak, Flintshire, A.D. 1631-1696 , London, 1882 , 42, 74, 153.

Author:

Thomas Richards, D.Litt., (1878-1962), Bangor

Published date: 1959