Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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RHYS , WILLIAM JOSEPH ( 1880 - 1967 ), minister (B) and author ;

b. 12 Feb. 1880 , son of Thomas and Esther Rees , Pen-y-bryn , Llangyfelach, Glam. He and his two brothers — M.T. Rees , Meinciau and D.H. Rees , Llandudno Junction — became ministers . His father was related to Morgan Rees who had been instrumental in establishing Salem Church , Llangyfelach in 1777 , whilst his mother was of the lineage of Moses Williams , Llandyfân ( DWB , 1060-1) . On leaving school he worked in a grocer's shop in Abergwynfi , but after being urged to enter the ministry, he went to Gwynfryn School , Ammanford , in 1901 and Bangor Baptist College ( 1903-06 ), where he came under the powerful influence of the Revival . He became pastor of Horeb , Maenclochog , and Smyrna , Puncheston, Pembs. ( 1906-25 ), and Dinas Noddfa , Landore , Swansea ( 1925-47 ), finally retiring to Gelli , Rhondda .

He began taking an interest, it appears, in the history of his denomination when he was about fifty years old. For the 30 years following the publication in Seren Gomer ( 1934-35 ) of a histo ry of the Baptists at Landore , he wrote articles regularly for Seren Cymru , Trafodion Cymd. Hanes y Bedyddwyr , and Seren Gomer , and supplied a chronicle of church events regularly to the latter periodical from 1954 until he had a stroke in 1966 . He also contributed to The Dictionary of Welsh Biography . He won prizes both for his work on Baptist social leaders in Wales and for his voluminous essay on the life and work of James Spinther James ( NLW MS 12603 D ). He was commissioned to write a history of the Baptist College during its term at Llangollen and Bangor ; and biographies of Welshmen who were trained at Bristol Baptist College . He published A Brief History of the Baptists in Wales ( 1956 ), and Penodau yn hanes y Bedyddwyr Cymreig, 1649-1949 ( 1949 ), which is a valuable, reliable sourcebook on the history of his denomination. Histories of about 50 churches were written or edited by him, including a dozen or more standard works such as Hanes Seion, Treforus, 1845-1945 , and the last one which he wrote, namely the history of Noddfa , Treorchy , where he was a member.

He m. (1), in 1910 , Bessie Gwen Morris (d. 6 March 1960 ), Treorchy ; and (2), 1961 , Annie Lydia Williams , the widow of David Pryse Williams , minister (B) , Treherbert (see below) . He d. 22 Oct. 1967 at his home, Y Wenallt , 14 Bute St. , Treherbert .

Sources:

  • The Baptist Union of Wales Handbook and Diary , 1969 , 364, 377;
  • Seren Gomer , 59 (1967) , 89-90;
  • Seren Cymru , 1 Dec. 1967 , 5.

Author:

Dr Mary Auronwy James, Aberystwyth

Published date: 2001